Now, let’s look at July in more detail: Definitely time to be gathering info about fall plant varieties, getting your seeds for August planting! As plants finish, spaces become available, get that soil ready with compost and manures. Get some hardware cloth and install some gopher barriers.
Wise Harvesting! Now that the initial rush of harvesting your new veggies has passed, and it has, at times, become a labor, it is not the time to slack off! Harvest frequently to keep your crop coming! Do not store on the vine. Pick zuchs and cucs small and tender.
Maintenance practices make a difference! See June’s info for more details!
- Water & mulch. Mulch for moisture, water deeply and less frequently. Stick your fingers in the soil to see how moist it is. Keep strawberries moist or they will stop producing. Water short rooted plants, beans, lettuces, cucs, more frequently. Keep seed beds moist, water twice a day if you need to.
- Feeding! Epsom salts your peppers, blood meal for yellowing Nitrogen needing plants. Scratch in a little manure to keep lettuces fat and happy. Seabird guano (NOT bat guano) keeps plants flowering and producing!
- Pollinators! That’s bats, bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, moths, and wind. The creatures need year round food, shelter and clean water. Selecting Plants for Pollinators – California Coastal Chaparral Forest and Shrub Province is a must see article!
- Pests – insects and skunk prevention, gopher management.
- Diseases – pick before you water, so you don’t spread disease. Water in the AM to let leaves dry off to keep mildew at bay.
Make compost, compost, compost now for fall planting! Use trimmings, spent plants, plants that bolt, healthy but no longer wanted, in your compost! In August we will start planting fall and winter crops, and they will be wanting your fine organic compost! Chop things up so they degrade more quickly. Keep your pile moist so it will decay. A dry pile is a dead pile. Add some red worms to the pile so you will get some worm castings as well, and your pile breaks down more fully. Bring your kitchen trim! Add a few sprigs of yarrow from time to time and that will speed decomposition.
Instead of leaving the big air holes open in the rubber compost enclosures, you might decide to install a very large heavy mill plastic bag to keep your pile moist! Put a few holes in the bottom for drainage. When enough compost has formed, you can just remove the bag to a storage area out of the sun, or empty it where you want to plant next, incorporating it with the soil there. Or if you don’t use a bag, just remove the enclosure and plant right there, right in your compost!
Bountiful Storage! Freezing, canning, seed collecting, making medicinal products like creams and shampoos, teas, powdered herbs, candles, flavored oils & vinegars, or drying flowers, are all wonderful ways to extend the joy of what you grew, whether you keep them or give them as gifts!