Let’s Get Gardening: July 2018

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage “If you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait 5 minutes – it will change.” Whoever said that originally must have been talking about something like the month we just had. We ended May in the 90’s, starting June in the 80’s, and then we were back in the 60’s on June 5th! By Father’s Day, we were back up into the 90’s, and then were back down to the low 70’s just three days later. And just to keep us on our toes, we ended the month in the mid-90’s. What a roller coaster! Of course, I shouldn’t complain. It looks like July is going to be consistent – consistently hot, that is, if the forecasts can be believed.


July Featured Garden Products: Fungicide

The main thing to know about most of the diseases in your garden is that there aren’t really any cures – just prevention and control, with the most effective treatment being prevention. Once many of the common diseases that affect our garden plants take hold, especially in vegetable and annual flowering plants, the most you can hope for is to keep the disease at bay long enough to get something from those plants.

Since prevention is the best thing to do, you should begin spraying early in the season, before diseases start to take hold. Continue spraying throughout the season, usually on a weekly basis, depending on the product you’re using. Being vigilant in your program of spraying, and removing any affected plant parts as soon as you see them, will help ensure that you have a successful season.

As for types of fungicides, copper-based ones are the most effective for many diseases. However, they pose some potential problems, including being highly toxic to bees. Studies have also shown that, because copper is a heavy metal that doesn’t break down once it’s in the soil, it has adverse impact on earthworms, which are important in your garden. So, make the copper fungicides your last line of defense, when nothing else works, and use it sparingly.

Come in and see us for help in choosing the fungicide that’s right for your plants’ issues.

In this month’s issue of Let’s Get Gardening

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for seasonal gardening advice and recommendations for your garden, yard, and bird feeding. In this month’s issue:

With the high temperatures and little predicted rain over the next little bit, our biggest task for July may be keeping up with watering. That’s not too unusual for us in July, though. Here are some other tasks to make sure to get done this month:

In the vegetable garden:

  • If you ran out of time and didn’t get around to planting some things in your garden, don’t despair. There are lots of things you can plant now that will be ready to harvest before the cold weather sets in: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, to name a few.
  • You can make room in your garden for all of the above when you harvest your garlic and onions later this month (if you don’t have room to plant cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower in your garden now, start them inside and transplant them when the garlic and onions come out).
  • You know onions are ready to harvest when the leaves have fallen over. Harvest them in the same way you do garlic – carefully loosen the soil around them to pull the bulbs out.
  • July should be harvest time for many other crops as well. Spring crops, such as lettuce, spinach, and peas will mostly finish producing this month, while summer crops, such as zucchini, cucumbers, and early tomatoes will just be getting started by the end of the month.
  • Side dress your summer crops this month. Side dressing provides fertilizer to your plants when they most need it – as they are beginning to flower and fruit. Harvest to Table offers more details about when and how much to side dress.
  • Lots of pests are going to be trying to get to your plants before you can, but don’t let them! Mother Earth News has lots of great organic suggestions for dealing with all kinds of creatures with designs on your garden.
  • Keeping your vegetable beds weed-free can be a lot of work, but it’s necessary. Since weeds compete for water and nutrition with the plants you want, don’t let them get out of control.
  • With the heat we are getting, and tend to get throughout July, it’s really important to keep your garden well-watered. When the temps are really high, and especially when accompanied by wind, a little more water is even better.
  • Keep up with the program of fungicide spraying that you started when you put your plants in the garden. If you’re seeing symptoms on your plants, and aren’t sure what you’re dealing with, Planet Natural has pictures, descriptions, and advice for all kinds of plant diseases.

In the flower garden:

  • Different insects are active at different times of day, and some pesticides work best if sprayed directly on the pest, so be sure to read labels completely and follow instructions carefully.
  • Be sure to fertilize roses throughout the month, but stop fertilizing at the end of the month to allow the new growth to harden off before winter.
  • As in your vegetable garden, keep weeds under control in the flower garden, so they don’t compete with your flowers for moisture and nutrients.
  • Cut back perennials that have finished blooming.
  • To keep your container annual flowers looking great all summer long, be sure to fertilize them.
  • Also, don’t forget to deadhead. By removing dead flowers, you encourage the growth of new ones throughout the season.

Trees & Shrubs:

  • If you planted any trees or shrubs this spring, be sure to regularly water them.
  • Do not apply fertilizer to trees or shrubs after the 4th of July, to avoid a flush of new growth that doesn’t have time to harden before winter.
  • Finish up pruning of trees and shrubs this month or early next. Pruning too late in the season can encourage new growth that will not have time to harden off before winter sets in.


  • When mowing this summer, leave your grass between 3 and 4 inches tall, and only cut off the top third of the blades at each mowing. The lawn people at Scotts have a lot of additional great tips for proper mowing.
  • When mowing and weed trimming, be careful not to get too close to your trees and shrubs. Damage done to them by lawn equipment is one of the most common causes of disease and death.

For the Birds:

  • Help the birds beat the heat by keeping your birdbaths clean and filled.
  • Dump remaining water out daily and refill the baths to keep mosquitoes at bay.
  • Keep hummingbird feeders cleaned out and filled.

Store News & Specials:

  • Over the next few weeks, we’ll be receiving shipments of all kinds of great items for decorating your yard and garden; including gorgeous concrete and granite birdbaths and statuary, wrought iron arbors, trellises, fencing, and furniture; and decorative stakes, gazing balls, and spinners!
  • $10 off any $50 purchase coupon

Come in often to see all the great new stuff and find just the right piece for your garden!

More info on all of these tips and more:

Read the July 2018 issue of Let’s Get Gardening