Summers are warm and dry, just right for Pacific Northwest gardeners. In hotter, arid areas east of the mountains, freezing nights are finally a thing of the past, and the hot caps have come off the tomatoes. Northwest gardening in July means there’s plenty of work to do, with long days for enjoying that precious outdoor time. Here’s your garden to-do list for the midsummer month of July.
Northwest Gardening Tasks for July
- Keep your garden clean. An excess of garden debris is not only unsightly, but it invites pests and disease.
- Use slug bait to control slugs and snails in shady areas. Non-toxic slug baits are safer for pets and wildlife, but deadly for the slimy pests.
- Watch for spider mites when summer days are dry and dusty. Often, daily bursts of water from a garden hose are enough to keep them in check. If that doesn’t work, try insecticidal soap spray, which also kills aphids and other sap-sucking pests.
- Keep patio containers and hanging baskets well watered. You’ll probably need to water daily during dry periods, and twice when the weather is hot and windy.
- Continue pulling and hoeing weeds, as they will steal water, light, and nutrients from other plants. Pulling weeds is an arduous task, but watering first will make the job easier. If you don’t have time to pull larger weeds, at least chop off their heads to keep them from going to seed.
- Keep deadheading blooming plants to promote continuous flowers. Deadheading will also keep your garden looking neat and healthy.
- Pick fresh veggies as they ripen. Don’t wait, as large, overly ripe vegetables quickly lose flavor and texture.
- Remove suckers from fruit trees as soon as you notice them. You may be able to pull small suckers, or snip them off with pruners or garden shears.
- Refresh mulch as it decomposes or blows away, as mulch looks attractive while conserving moisture and staunching growth of weeds. Shoot for 3 inches (7.5 cm.) or a little less if you battle slugs and snails.