Share the Bounty
With lots of hard work and a little luck, your food garden should be in full swing now, with an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits. As you reap the rewards of your efforts, be sure to share some of that bounty. Of course, family and friends, especially ones who are unable to garden, should be on the list, but don't forget soup kitchens and food pantries. Contact them in advance to see what they are able to take, best delivery times, and so forth.
Plant More Vegetables
Bugs got your first planting of squash and cucumber? Green beans looking a big glum? There's still plenty of time to plant and harvest main-season vegetables that are ready in 70 days or less, and that a pretty long list. Plus, there are all the fall garden possibilities, including a long list of both salad and cooking greens, cabbage, broccoli, turnips, radishes, and beets. With any seed sowing or transplanting, be sure to keep the area moist as they germinate or get established. A shade cloth shelter helps fall crops, too.
Shape Up Annuals and Containers
Even the most long-blooming and low-maintenance of annuals can do with a little bit of care by this time of summer. For plants that respond to pinching, such as browallia, coleus, dichondra, alternanthera, helichrysum, strobilanthes, and sweet potato vine, cut back overgrown stems by a third to a half. Other plants, like bacopa, calibrachoa, lobela, petunia, plectra thus, and diascia, should have some of the stems thinned out. Add some slow-release fertilizer pellets around the plants or use a water-soluble fertilizer when watering.
Keep Up With Rose Care
Take care of your roses now, then as the weather begins to cool, they'll repay you with lots of glorious flowers. As you cut flowers for bouquets or remove spent flowers, cut the stems just above an outward-facing five-leaflet leaf. Also, remove any damaged or diseased canes. Use an organic pesticide to control insects and diseases. Water, if rainfall has been minimal and mulch to reduce water loss. Continue to feed roses until the middle of August, following directions on the package.
Preserve Herbs and Start Seeds
Don't wait until fall to start preserving herbs for use this winter. With basil at its peak, make and freeze pesto. Herbs that dry well include parsley, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram. Flavor vinegars with herbs, filling a clean jar half full of herbs, then filling the jar with a high-quality rice, wine, or cider vinegar. If you already have herbs growing in pots, they can be brought indoors this fall. Sometimes herbs can be dug up in the fall and potted, but the best plants will be ones that you started from seeds. Especially, try parsley and chives, as both are indispensable in the kitchen.