Garden, Plant, Cook!

Friday, June 16, 2017

July Planting Tips and Looking towards Fall. Fun Roots to Grow!

Dear Folks, 

The Pre-Monsoonal Heat Blast is here and I'm talking planting, actually sowing seeds in July!

MOST of the planting in July and August is by seed for fall production/harvest. Consider this: If you want pumpkins for Halloween, you have to count back 90-120 days for seeding in. If you do not have a bed prepared or in mind for planting now, start preparing the soil ASAP if you want an early fall growing start. 


Sunflower,  Roselle/Jamaica Sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa), and amaranth seeds anytime in July.

If you have not planted your sweet potato slips yet get them in the ground no later than first week in July for best harvest potential in the fall.  Remember you can eat the leaves during the summer for a lettuce substitute in salads, sandwiches etc.  (A recent study reported the leaves may have even more good things for you than the tubers!)

WEEK OF JULY 16TH Seeds Only Planting: Anise; Cantaloupe; Caraway; Chervil; Cilantro; Corn; Dill; Fennel; Luffa Gourds; Musk Melons; Parsley; Peppers; Pumpkins; Squash, Winter. See My June Planting Tips for June Sowing and about gardening density.

Sow seeds under existing plants where possible to help keep the seeded area cooler, moister and out of site of the birds.

These cool soil loving plants will germinate as the soil begins to cool later on.  Sowing now, in the ground, gives them a jump start and by-passes transplant issues later on.

[Pictured is my chervil seedlings, seed was sown August 1st and I spotted these Sept 25th.  I planted inside a cardboard tube collar with mulch around the outside.  This was two years ago.  Last year the plants re-seeded and the seedlings were up by the end of September, again reacting to the cooling soil.]

IF YOU are transplanting this time of year use leaf-type mulch to keep the soil surface cool around "but not touching" the transplant  -- keep about 2 inches away from base of plants to keep the pest bugs away from the tender stems.  The mulch should be at least 2 inches deep.

You should harden off the plant(s) by exposing to direct sun for an hour the first day (then back into shade, but NOT inside) and increase by an hour each day until it is in the sun for about 4 hours, then transplant.   
Ginger, Turmeric and Horseradish - if you want to try growing these, get some nice healthy roots, even better if they have some buds on them.   Find a mostly shady, healthy, well drarining spot in your garden and plant the ginger or turmeric about 2 inches down, the horseradish as deep as the root covered by 1-2 inches of soil.  My patch pictured is in the shade of a large citrus tree (north side) and gets a bit of sun first and last thing of the day. These have re-sprouted from last year's planting.

WATERING: Higher humidity can reduce moisture loss to plants, reducing watering frequency, but check with water meter regularly.   You can actually over-water in the height of our Monsoon season, so make sure you use the water meter.

Ginger Re-Sprouting - June 15th
Chlororsis can occur (yellowing of leaves leaving the veins bright green) caused by too much water causing the soil iron to bind with other minerals making it unavailable to the plants.  Add ironite or green sand and the leaves will return to normal in about 2 weeks.

SUNBURN damage:  Like frost damage - DO NOT prune until danger of sunburn is over - the damaged plant protects the lower growth.

July is a good time to think about the Three Sisters (Monsoon) gardening concept.  Corn, beans and squash.  The beans can be Tepary (bush) although traditionally the Native People planted vine beans which grew up the corn stalk, while the squash covered the ground, keeping it more weed free, minimizing water needed and providing an all but complete diet.    They also planted sunflowers on the outside to draw away pest bugs.

Start Planning For August Sowing!  What do you want growing in your fall/winter garden.   Many root vegetables should be planted successively (do you really want 10 feet of carrots maturing all at once?).  Some roots vegetables can take 100+ days (Parsnips) but you have shorter maturity types of carrots and beets.  Head plants like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower can also take 100+ days.  So Plan And Plant (sow) accordingly.   Consider sowing every 2-4 weeks through February for most of the non-head varieties.  Get your seeds for head varieties in by late September to ensure all that cool weather for growing healthy plants.

Stay cool, drink water and enjoy your garden.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

You can purchase my planting/sowing calendars and books through the sidebar links.  These calendars are for the desert southwest, deep south and all areas USDA Zone 9b and above.  Planting times are as much about day light hours and soil temperature as air temperatures.

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