Garden Calendar for July 2024

July is national “Smart Irrigation Month” so let me refer you to last weeks post about watering your plants in the Southwest. Honestly, one article barely scratches the a topic that entire books are written on, and I had as a class 3 days a week for 18 weeks at University. But I hope that little post helps give the average homeowner a good basis for doing the job correctly, while saving money, and helping reduce waste.

Yes, providing water for your captive landscape plants here in the arid Southwest is important. I call them “captive” because we humans have taken them out or their natural environment, and now we hold them captive in our yards – a non-natural situation.

gardening-with-soule-cactus-flowers
Claret cup cactus. Echinocereus coccineus. Image courtesy High Country Gardens (New Mexico)

Yes – even cactus and succulents will need some water if you don’t get rain.

General July Tasks

mow lawn on gardening-with-souleIf you have lawn and mow it – sharpen your mower blades.    Sharp mower blades cut cleanly and the grass heals more quickly from the cuts with less browning on the tips.

 

Protect container plants from excessive sun, and/or water them often. Container plants are drip sip junkies by definition because they are captive in a tiny area and can’t spread their roots. (More about drip-sip junkies last week.)

gardening-with-soule-container-fern

Deadhead gone-by flowers from your annuals to help extended the flowering cycle.

If you wish, apply pre-emergent weed control before summer monsoon rains.  f the rains have begun in your area, it is probably too late.  Here are my Eight tips to eliminate weeds.

July Pruning

July pruning – none!

gardening-with-soule-july-prune

Well, okay – you can do a VERY little.

Prune to remove storm damage.  If necessary, prune trees to eliminate hazards to humans or structures (in the path or rubbing on the house),

By and large, pruning is better done in spring or fall. Some of the non-native plants can be pruned in winter (like rose bushes).

Edibles

I mentioned this last month – and it is not to late in the Desert Elevations to plant a Summer Vegetable garden with native vegetables and herbs. For best success plant a “Three Sisters” garden.

Need Southwest Vegetable Garden Help?

May I recommend my book?  The Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Guide offers not just growing guides but some of the latest varieties – including ones specifically for raised bed and container growing. Price is what you would pay on Amazon – only when you buy from me you get a signed copy!soule-books-buy

From the review:

In this updated 2nd edition of Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening, you’ll find much-needed advice and practical tips on growing an edible garden, no matter which part of the southwestern US you call home.

Growing in the Southwest isn’t easy. It’s either too hot or too cold and often very dry. The region hosts a range of soils and climate conditions that can be difficult for a gardener to navigate. That’s why this region-specific garden guide is a must-have for every Southwestern gardener!

Botanist Dr. Jacqueline Soule simplifies the ins and outs of gardening in the Southwest and serves as your guide to success. Regardless of whether you’re tending an in-ground plot, a small container garden, or a series of raised beds, Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening is an invaluable resource.”

Profits from the sale of this book go to the Arizona-based Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute.

Consider these heat loving plants with Southwestern roots.
(blue is an article on this website, maroon is on SavortheSouthwest, and red my Gardening With Soule YouTube.)

gardening-with-soule-devils-claw-flowers
Young tender devil’s claw can be steamed and eaten.
amaranth
corn 
devil's claw 
epazote 
opo squash 
summer squash 
winter squash 
tepary beans

It is also not too late in the desert elevation to plant non-native heat-loving vegetables like black-eyed peas, summer squash, okra, pumpkin, and short season watermelon.

If you live in the Upper Elevations, you may have only about 70 days until first frost. This limits your options somewhat, but you could still have pretty amaranth for a nice salad “green” if not for the seed.

Mulch your vegetable garden if you haven’t already.    Mulch with straw or pine needles to retard evaporation. Over time this natural mulch will break down and help fertilize the soil.

pine needles as mulch on gardening with soule

Mulch

Not just the vegetable garden! Mulch is good for all plants in our hot dry land – and especially in windy areas.  Ideally place it around the bases of all your plants. Mulch with organic material such as palo verde straw or pine needles, or some cedar bark mulch from the nursery or garden center.

Sadly, the ever popular rock mulch is NOT ideal for plants. The whole concept of rock mulch is based on some very outdated and since dis-proven research done in the 1960’s. Alas my long article about mulch discussing this was lost to hackers. Re-creating a website takes time folks – but I’ll get it back up here. May I suggest you sign up for my newsletter 😉

Natural mulch can easily include the leaf and flower litter from mesquites. It works wonderfully. Why pay money to cart it off to the landfill when it could save you money by helping reduce the evaporation of the water you buy to irrigate your plants – plus create healthy soil for your plants.

tree well in an HOA community planted with rain lilies on gardening with soule

Live in an HOA? Create a “well” around your plants where you clear the rock mulch and create a ring of decorative rocks that help hold the mulch in place. You could plant pretty summer annuals in the basin as well. Or some perennial rain lillies – like in the picture.

Vegetative mulch (instead of rocks) helps retard evaporation and fertilize the soil. The kitty litter made from pine or newspaper also works well as mulch in the Southwest. Water on top of any mulch once you apply it. This helps it stick together and form a mat that won’t blow around the yard.

proper mulch placement around a tree on gardening with soule
Just don’t put the mulch right next to the trunk itself – that can cause problems with fungus and bacteria.

Fertilizer in July?

A tad late unless you live in the Cold Mountains.  Basically what I said in the June Calendar article still holds true. If I repeat those fertilizer directions here in this July post, the SEO AI bots will call it “plagiarism” and block this site from your view.

Harvest the Fruits of Your Yard

Citrus care – here’s my article on that.  And here’s one of my citrus on YouTube.  gardening-with-soule-citrus-success

July is time to harvest sun ripened fruit – especially mesquite beans! Here is how to harvest mesquite beans safely.  And one of my posts on Savor the Southwest about making tasty dishes with mesquite beans.

Other sun-ripened fruit this month, depending on cultivar: jujubes, apples, apricots, grapes, melons, peaches… did I miss something?  Early almonds will be in August, late almonds in October.

Please remember – I am here to help you succeed with your garden goals!

gardening-with-soule-august-yard-relaxIf you have questions, ask them:

in the comment section on any post on this site,

in a response to any newsletter, on my Substack site,

or on my Facebook,

or even on any appropriate YouTube video.

You can also find me on Tiktok.

My Instagram was hacked and I have lost access to that platform.

Please be a tad patient – it may take a few days!  That’s a great deal of media to check!

Need More than This Short Post?

The Month By Month Guide offers tips for your landscape (yes even lawns and roses) in every month of the year.  I have a few copies left and am offering them to you – my loyal readers. When you buy from me you get a signed copy!soule-books-buy

From the review:

“A great reference book is key to successful gardening in the region where you live. Arizona, Nevada & New Mexico Month-by-Month Gardening takes the guesswork out of gardening for anyone residing in the Southwest. With this book, you’ll know what to do each month to enjoy a thriving garden all year, from January to December. Chronologically organized, this guide is full of critical gardening when-to and how-to advice, along with illustrated step-by-step instructions.

The book’s author is Jacqueline Soule, a Tucson-based gardening expert. She knows this arid region inside and out, and she’s written several articles and books packed with her gardening advice. Arizona, Nevada & New Mexico Month-by-Month Gardening showcases Soule’s expertise in one easy-to-read guide.”

Profits from the sale of this book go to the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute.  Heads up – I may have to increase the price when the US Postal Service increases their rates in July 2024.

Cover image: Blackfoot daisy.

Legal

© Article copyright Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. You must ask permission to republish an entire blog post or article. Okay to use a short excerpt – but you must give proper credit to Gardening With Soule. You must include a link to the original post on our site. No stealing photos.

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