July in the Upper Midwest garden is a busy time. This is the hottest month of the year and often dry, so watering is essential. This is also when the gardening to-do list includes a lot of maintenance of plants and even preparation for fall veggies.
Upper Midwest Gardening in July
Drought conditions are typical in July in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa, so it’s important to keep on top of watering. Some annuals may need water once or even twice a day. Native plants are usually tolerant of the local conditions. Grass, if you don’t want it to go dormant, should be watered regularly.
Your flowering annuals can also benefit from fertilizer throughout the month, as soon as the blooms begin to show. July is the time to fertilize the lawn for the second time of the growing season.
As your garden thrives in the middle of the summer, so too will weeds. Keep on weeding and pulling to keep your beds under control. Right now, this may be a daily chore.
There is also a lot of maintenance work to be done on your perennials, flowers, and shrubs in July. Deadheading of flowers will help keep them blooming longer, for instance. Some other tasks to do include taking cuttings of flowering shrubs, trimming older canes on climbing roses and raspberries, and dividing daylilies and irises.
July Garden Tasks in the Vegetable Patch
Although most of your plants already will be in the ground, there are still tasks for the vegetable garden right now. Mid-July is about the right time to start direct seeding veggies for a fall harvest, including lettuces, kale, spinach, onions, turnips, and beets.
Start the harvest of all veggies as needed throughout July to encourage more production. Remove plants that have bolted in the heat.
Monitoring for Pests and Diseases
As with weeds, it’s important to stay on top of pest and disease damage. Check on the most vulnerable plants daily. Some of the more common problems you may encounter in the upper Midwest garden include:
- Tomato leaf spot diseases – Remove leaves as signs of infection appear.
- Bacterial wilt on cucurbits – Manage cucumber beetles with organic pest control.
- Squash vine borer – Prevent infestation by covering lower stems where the insects lay eggs.
- Cabbage worm – Use a floating row cover or dust or spray cruciferous vegetables with a biological control.
- Blossom end rot on tomatoes – Keep plants mulched and soil moist.
Of course, don’t forget to enjoy your garden in July. This is a great time to enjoy warm evenings outdoors, reveling in all you have grown this year.