First I need to mention that I will be having cataract surgery near the end of June and into July - so I won't be posting much. If you send me questions I will answer as soon as I can.
[Picture is My Summer Greens / Lettuce alternatives: Sweet potato, Egyptian Spinach, Roselle, sorrell, basil, end of season celery - see note below on growing summer greens.]
I also have a funny to share about the preparation for the surgery. I started getting into texting my family a couple of months ago and am getting the hang of it. The other day, though, I had the funniest auto-correct fail and have to share with everyone.
Texting to my sister: "off to get my eyebrows for surgeries"
When she immediately responded with a "ha-ha" I looked at what I had typed!!! LOL
Eye drops was what I was supposed to have typed (there are special post-surgery drops prescribed).
BTW my eyebrows are fine as they are, maybe could use a tiny bit of cosmetic plucking. :-)
Once our sunflowers really get going we look forward to the acrobatics of the Lesser Gold Finches - the Male here is upright, but he was just upside down on one of the flowers.
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, get your bed(s) ready.
Beginning July 15th
Seeds Only Planting:
Our Chocolate Flower is loving our weather and greats me every morning when I go out to get the paper with its floral cocoa scent and sweet faces. Berlandiera lyrata is an edible flower. The Native Americans used the dried flower as a seasoning is foods like sausage. I have some of the cut flowers on our kitchen table so we can enjoy the aroma while having a meal.
GARDEN TIPS for July
Sown areas need to be kept consistently moist and the seeds will germinate based on soil temperatures. [Cool weather seeds can be sown now and will give you a jump start when the soil begins cool later on.] Lightly cover with loose soil and loose mulch to keep the area moist.
Sprinkle sown beds EVERY evening until you see them break the soil surface. Then you can start watering more but less frequently to encourage the roots to go down.
Higher humidity can reduce moisture loss to plants, reducing watering frequency, but check with water meter regularly. It is possible to over-water - then followed by under-watering - causing plant stress.
Tomato plants are unable to set fruit when the Night temperatures stay in the 80s. Maintain the plants through the summer and you will get a fall crop of fruit before frost.
Sun damages plants in the summer time, as frost damages them in the winter time. As in frost damage, try to leave the sun damage at the top of the plant alone, if you can, as it protects the lower portions of the plant. Pruning for fall can start at the end of August through the beginning of September when the monsoon ends and night time temperatures fall below 80.
Regular lettuce does not survive our high summer heat, but there are some fun alternatives, which are tasty and good for you. Sweet Potato Leaves, Egyptian Spinach seeds can still be sown now, and Roselle leaves once your plants get going are wonderful as greens. Some sources say sweet potato leaves are even more nutritious than the tuber. Regardless - at plant that produces edible leaves and tubers is a two-fer.
And don't forget "weeds". Summer is the time for mallow and purslane (verdolaga). Here is a nice article on the FREE food which may be growing in your garden. Remember - NO pesticides or other chemicals - the weeds need to be as chemical-free as your regular garden produce.
Have a bountiful time in the garden!
-- Catherine, The Herb Lady
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