Category: Story 6

July Gardening Calendar

Monsoon rains help quench the thirst of summer plants.

PLANTING

Set out heat-tolerant seasonal color blooms such as cosmos, gaillardia, gazania, globe amaranth, lisianthus, periwinkle and zinnia.

Put in warm-season vegetables such as Armenian cucumbers, black-eyes peas, corn, tepary beans, gourds, melon, okra and summer squash.

HARVESTING

Harvest basil often and prune at least 1/3 of the growth to ensure an early fall harvest. Use steel tongs to remove the juicy fruit from the prickly pear cacti.

FERTILIZING

Feed blooming plants often during the wet season with high-phosphorous fertilizer. Fertilize palms during this rainy season.

Frequent irrigation leaches nutrients, so feed with a slow-release fertilizer.

PRUNING

Prune mesquite and palo verde trees during summer. These trees heal more quickly during hot weather.

WATERING

Water deepl

y early in the morning, when it’s not raining. Soak the entire root area of trees and shrubs weekly. Adjust your irrigation as needed through the monsoon season.

Summer annuals in pots may dry out quickly, so check irrigation systems often.

SHADING

Protect container plantings from intense reflected heat and sun. Non-native cacti and succulents prefer some shade. Use 50-75 percent shade cloth over peppers and tomatoes.

TRANSPLANTING

Heat-loving tecoma shrubs such as red bird of paradise, fairy duster, Texas ranger, palms, portulaca and perennial sunflowers can be planted now.

PREPARING

Make use of the summer rains by harvesting the water. That may include building a collection system or simply using the runoff and carrying it to specific planting spaces.

Watch for insect infestation on plants. Heat- and drought-stressed plants are especially vulnerable to disease.

Watch for cochineal scale on prickly pear cacti and wash off any that appears.

Avoid standing water that might harbor mosquitoes.

TIP OF THE MONTH

Summer vegetables can become stressed from the heat this month, with wilted leaves in the morning an obvious signal. Late-afternoon wilting also may be heat stress, but as evening approaches the plants may perk up again.

To keep soil moist, water slowly and deeply. Add fertilizer to moist soil only, then add more water to move it to the roots.

Eggplant, corn, squash, beans, melons, black-eyed peas, cucumbers, peppers and okra are some of the best warm-season crops. As melons ripen, place a board beneath them to prevent insect damage.

Corn, squash and beans are known as “the three sisters,” and usually are planted together. The corn plants provide shade, the beans add nitrogen to the soil, and the squash foliage shades the ground, preventing evaporation of the monsoon rains.

June Garden Calendar

June

As the weather warms, we Tucsonans get busy in our gardens.

Hot and dry … a challenge for our gardens.

PLANTING

Sow seeds of cantaloupe, corn, green beans, summer squash, native melons, Armenian cucumber and okra.

Plant warm-season color annuals such as cosmos, hollyhock, marigold, salvia, sunflower, zinnia, gaillardia, gomphrena, coreopsis, vinca and gazania.

WATERING

Water turf efficiently by soaking 8-10 inches deep to moisten the Bermuda grass root zone.

Bedding plants will need water more often this month.

TRANSPLANTING

Transplant herbs such as basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and thyme.

Plant desert-adapted plants this month. The roots readily expand in the heated soil.

HARVESTING

The first fig crop starts ripening this month. Fruit matures only on the tree, so keep birds away by covering with netting.

FERTILIZING

Feed cacti and succulents during the warm months. Apply a fertilizer formulated specifically for cacti and succulents every month.

Apply fertilizer twice monthly to vegetables. Do not add to dry soil.

Cut back on fertilizing roses to encourage plants to slow down for the summer.

PREPARING

Apply pre-emergent to avoid weeds when the monsoons arrive.

PRUNING

Prune back mature bougainvillea, lantana and hibiscus to stimulate blooms.

Cut back spring bloomers such as brittle bush, penstemon and salvia. Prune young trees early in the summer to slow growth and correct structure.

PROTECTING

Cover vegetables with 50-70 percent shade cloth to reduce temperatures, prevent sunscald and increase blossom set for better fruit production.

Cover citrus trunks to prevent sunburn damage.

Drape plants with netting or shade cloth to protect from birds and insects.

TIP OF THE MONTH

Basil is referred to as the “king of herbs” for its culinary versatility. It has more than 50 cultivars, with a few mimicking the flavors of other spices or even fruit. This tropical herb is a must for even the smallest kitchen garden. Its name, Ocimum basilicum, is difficult to say, but it’s easy to grow. Basil only requires full sun for at least six hours a day, warm temperatures (above 50 degrees F. at night) and moist soil. Your local garden center probably offers a few basil varieties as seedlings, but to grow the more unusual cultivars, you’ll need to start from seed. Harvest the top leaves to keep the plant growing and to prevent flowering.

Sweet basil is most common and used in Italian dishes and is the main ingredient for pesto. Thai basil variety has a distinct, spicy, anise-clove flavor. Often used in Asian cuisine. Lemon basil has a citrus flavor and enhances chicken dishes. Lime basil can be a fresh addition to teas and margaritas.

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