Are you enjoying the July garden and the fruits of your labour? Now that berry season is behind us it’s time to focus on the garden again. I have been so busy picking berries and making jam that I haven’t weeded the garden in almost two weeks. Yes, the garden needs some help as we go into the warm days of July and August.
This is often the time when spring blooming perennials are going to seed. If you are a seed saver you can collect seeds from Campanula, Sage and Dianthus this month. Those tiny brown seed heads where the flowers used to be are full of tiny seeds that could fill hundreds of gardens. Campanula seed is so tiny it looks like fine pepper. Seriously, I had to grow some seed out just to make sure I had real seed. They were so easy to grow from seed that I have a whole flat of new Campanula seedlings for the front garden.
Sage seeds are larger and you can usually tip the spent flowers into a paper bag and the seeds should fall out naturally. In my opinion, seeds collected from your own plants tend to germinate easier than store bought seeds. Of course, the seeds are free so why wouldn’t you save them? Above is where the sage seeds will form as the flower stalk goes brown. Quite often people deadhead the sage plant without a thought to keeping seeds.
Dianthus seeds are pretty obvious since the flowers turn brown by this time of year. I have some flowers left but its time to remove all the spent blooms. This is Dianthus ‘Sweetness’ and it blooms the first year from seed unlike many other perennials. This plant is definitely a keeper as it survived the harsh winter of 2016 in a container. I like plants that pay the rent and it’s also extremely fragrant.
Its seeds are easy to find inside the spent blooms. They are large enough to easily pop them out into your hand. You could clip all the spent brown buds off the plant into a paper bag and bring them inside to pop the seeds out.
Be sure to continue to water as needed. We have gone a month without rain and your plants will be thirsty. I like to use soaker hoses on my perennial beds as it supplies a steady supply of moisture to the roots of plants. In the vegetable garden I water every second day during hot weather. I always use a hose with a shutoff wand and only water the soil surface. Most of the tomato plants look like a jungle so their roots are deep already. Its the new seeds that need a bit more moisture until they are established. Watering the soil surface and not the foliage is a good way to prevent fungal diseases such as powdery mildew.
It’s not really a good time to be planting new plants in the garden. Planting on a cloudy day or just before rainfall arrives is what your plants need to survive in the summer. Right now it’s time to deadhead your annual flowers to promote new blooms. Don’t forget to keep the weeds at bay. As most of you know I fight with morning glory in some areas of the garden. It’s like I no sooner turn my back and the morning glory has grown another foot or more.
July is also the beginning of harvesting in the vegetable garden. Your pea plants will be coming out soon if they haven’t already and beans will be producing tender long pods. As I write this post I know I could be harvesting potatoes, picking raspberries and blueberries or lifting the garlic. When you grow food it keeps you busy but also fed. There is nothing better than fresh potatoes or salad greens straight from the garden. So get outside and enjoy the garden this month. After all, you worked hard for all those fruits and vegetables.