Alicia DeVore

The anticipation of a summer garden is exhilarating—soon, you’ll be enjoying ripe tomatoes in bruschetta, adding freshly picked peppers to your morning eggs or sandwiches, and harvesting green beans for tonight’s dinner. After dreaming of fresh, organic food all winter and spring, the July harvest is finally here. With proper care, a lush growth bountiful harvest can be achieved even in July.

But what if you’re new to gardening or need some encouragement for your summer garden? What are the top tips to build your confidence and knowledge to fully enjoy the summer harvest? Let’s unlock 5 pro summer gardening tips for beginners to help you succeed this July.

Tip #1: Summer Garden Tips for July

Hot Weather Timely Tips

Top Tip for Your Summer Garden: Keep Things Moist and Ensure Airflow

As the summer heat intensifies, it’s crucial to keep your garden well-watered and well-ventilated. One essential tip is to keep containers damp, ensuring the soil stays cool and the roots are protected from the scorching temperatures.

Mulching is another effective strategy—apply a layer of straw, compost, or other organic materials around your plants to retain soil moisture and reduce evaporation.

When it comes to watering, aim to water deeply but infrequently. This practice encourages deep root growth, making your plants more resilient during dry spells.

Equally important is maintaining good air circulation around your plants to prevent fungal diseases. To do this, trim your plants by about one-third each week, which helps improve airflow and keeps the soil moist your garden healthy. By following these simple tips, you can ensure your summer garden thrives all season long.

Tip #2: Pest and Disease Control

Common Pests in July

As summer progresses, you’ll notice a shift in the types of pests that invade your garden. The insects and weeds you were worried about in early spring may be replaced by new ones that thrive in the mid-summer heat. Adapting your pest control strategy is key to keeping your garden healthy and productive.

In July, you might find Japanese beetles munching on your plants. A simple and effective method to manage these and other pests is to handpick them off your plants and drown them in soapy water. This is a quick fix that can greatly reduce the immediate pest population.

For a more sustainable approach, consider using biological controls like beneficial nematodes. These tiny organisms can manage pest populations naturally. You can purchase them at your local nursery and apply them during the cool morning hours or later in the evening to ensure they survive and are most effective.

Learning to accurately identify the pests in your garden is crucial. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can develop organic control strategies tailored to your specific needs. This could include introducing natural predators, using organic sprays, or applying other eco-friendly methods.

One of my favorite activities for pest control is to use a flashlight in the garden at night with my family. We venture out after dark to find the pests and bugs that are damaging our plants. It’s a silly but effective way to have fun and protect the garden at the same time. This nighttime adventure turns pest control into an enjoyable family bonding experience.

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of a thorough fall cleanup. By removing garden debris and plant matter at the end of the season, you can prevent many pests from overwintering in your garden. This proactive step sets the stage for a healthier and less pest-ridden garden next year.

By staying vigilant and adapting your pest control methods, you’ll keep your garden thriving through the hot summer months and beyond.

Tip #3: Fruit and Vegetable Care

Fruit Trees

Taking good care of your fruit trees in the warm weather of the summer can yield a great harvest and ensure the long-term health of your plants. One important tip is to stop feeding woody plants, such as fruit trees, during the summer months. This helps them begin the hardening-off process, preparing them for the cooler weather ahead.

Proper watering is essential, especially during dry spells. Water your trees and shrubs slowly and deeply to ensure the moisture reaches their roots. This deep watering method encourages strong root growth and helps your trees shrubs withstand drought conditions better.

Pruning is another crucial task for maintaining healthy fruit trees. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased wood to prevent the spread of disease and encourage new growth. Additionally, keep an eye out for suckers and water sprouts—these are fast-growing shoots that can sap energy from your tree. Removing them will help direct more nutrients to the main branches.

Harvesting

July is a great time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, quite literally! Many fruits ripen during this month, including blackberries and summer squash. Regularly check your fruit trees and plants for ripe produce and harvest them promptly. This not only rewards you with fresh, delicious fruit but also encourages the plants to produce more. Additionally, take the opportunity to collect seeds from plants by deadheading faded perennials and bulbs for future use.

By following these detailed tips, new gardeners can ensure their fruit trees remain healthy and productive throughout the summer. Taking the time to properly care for your trees now will pay off with a harvest and healthy plants ready to face the changing seasons.

Vegetables and Herbs

Planting Autumn-Flowering Bulbs

As summer progresses, it’s a great time to start thinking ahead to your autumn garden. Planting autumn-flowering bulbs like colchicums, autumn crocuses, cyclamen, and nerines can add vibrant colors to your garden when many other plants are starting to fade. These bulbs will thrive in the cooler weather and provide a beautiful display.

Sowing Vegetables and Herbs

Summer is also an excellent time to sow a variety of vegetables and herbs that will keep your garden productive well into the fall.

If your growing season is long enough, you can also sow a second round of summer crops to replace plants that might have been attacked by insects or simply to increase your harvest. Quick-growing crops like bush beans, cucumbers, and summer squash are perfect for this purpose. By planting these fast growers, you can enjoy extended veggies and make the most of your garden space. Winter squash planted from seeds can be harvested well into fall, as long as row covers are used to keep the frost off.

Documenting Your Garden’s Progress

One of the most rewarding aspects of gardening is seeing the transformation over time. Take plenty of photographs to document your garden’s progress. This not only creates a visual record of your hard work and achievements but also helps you plan for future improvements. You can note what worked well, what didn’t, and which areas might need more attention next year.

Preparing for Spring

Even though it might seem early, now is the perfect time to choose spring bulbs for autumn planting. By selecting and planting bulbs in the fall, you’ll ensure a colorful and vibrant display come springtime. Popular choices include tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, which can bring a burst of color to your garden after the winter months.

By following these detailed tips, new gardeners can successfully extend their growing season and enjoy a beautiful, productive garden from late summer into autumn and even into the next spring.

Tip #4: Ornamental Garden Care

Pruning Spring Flowering Shrubs

Summer is an ideal time to give your ornamental flower garden some TLC. Start by pruning early spring flowering shrubs such as rhododendrons, camellias, and magnolias. Don’t forget about conifers, plums, cherries, damsons, and wisteria too. Pruning these plants now encourages healthy growth and prepares them for the next blooming season.

Caring for Perennials and Biennials

To keep your perennials and biennials thriving, cut them back after their peak. This not only promotes new growth but also helps prevent slug damage. By trimming back these plants, you encourage a fresh flush of foliage and flowers, keeping your lawn and garden looking vibrant and healthy.

Pruning Roses and Flower Garden

If you have rambler roses or once-blooming climbers in your garden, now is the perfect time to prune them after their flowering period. This will help maintain their shape and encourage robust growth for the following year’s blooms. Properly pruned roses are more likely to produce abundant flowers, making your garden even more beautiful.

Diagnosing and Treating Rose Rosette Disease

Lastly, it’s important to watch your roses for any signs of rose rosette disease. This disease can be quite damaging, so learning to diagnose it early is crucial. Look for unusual growth patterns, excessive thorniness, or red, distorted leaves. If you spot any symptoms, take action immediately by removing and disposing of affected plants to prevent the disease from spreading.

Hanging Baskets and Containers

Keeping your hanging baskets and containers healthy and vibrant involves a little extra care, but the results are well worth it. First and foremost, ensure they are well-watered and fertilized. Because these plants are in smaller soil volumes, they can dry out more quickly than plants in the ground. Water them thoroughly, ideally in the early morning or late evening, to help retain moisture and avoid the midday heat. Giving them a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks will provide the nutrients they need to flourish.

One key to keeping your blooms coming is deadheading, which means removing spent flowers. By regularly snipping off the faded blooms, you encourage the plant to produce more flowers, resulting in more plants and a continuously colorful display. It’s a simple task that makes a huge difference in the overall appearance and health of your plants.

You’ll also want to prune back any leggy stems. Sometimes plants in containers can become a bit straggly as they reach for light. Trimming these back helps maintain a bushy and attractive shape for young plants, promoting fuller growth and preventing your plants from looking sparse.

Lastly, while you’re focusing on your hanging baskets and containers, consider adding some wildlife-friendly plants to your garden, like oak trees or other native species that attract beneficial insects and birds. These additions not only enhance your garden’s ecosystem but also bring a sense of harmony and natural beauty to your space.

Tip #5: Composting and Waste Management

Compost Heap Maintenance

Maintaining or even starting your compost heap is a straightforward way to recycle garden waste and improve your soil. First, make sure your compost heap doesn’t dry out completely. Keeping it moist helps the decomposition process along. Also, turning the compost regularly to aerate it will speed up decomposition by introducing more oxygen to the mix.

For a balanced compost, add a mix of “green” materials like vegetable scraps, grass clippings, and coffee grounds, and “brown” materials such as dry leaves, straw, and cardboard. The greens provide nitrogen, while the browns supply carbon, both essential for effective composting.

It’s also a good idea to keep your compost heap covered. This helps retain heat, which breaks down materials faster and prevents pests from getting in. You can use a tarp or a specialized compost cover for this purpose.

An excellent way to help your garden next year is by composting plants that are done in the summer garden. Creating a space where you can add the vines and leaves from your garden and let them decompose will provide rich nutrients for your future vegetable garden and beds.

Once your compost has broken down into rich, dark material, you can use it to fertilize your plants and improve your soil structure. Just spread it around your garden beds or mix it into the soil to give your plants a nutrient boost.

For More Summer Gardening Resources:

July Garden Guide for Beginners: 5 Tips for Success

Two Steps Needed to Create a Plot Plan for Year-Long Growing

Top 3 Beginner Gardening Mistakes to Avoid: Tips for Cultivating Success

Energize Your Garden Time with Top 13 Must-Have Gardening Tools

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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