Northern & Central Midwest

July, 2001
Regional Report

Keep Weeding

A gentle swipe below the soil surface with a sharp hoe gets rid of young weeds before they begin to compete with vegetables and flowers for nutrients and water. A well-mulched garden has fewer weeds, more even soil moisture levels, and those weeds that do appear are easy to pull.

Check for Insects

Visit your garden once a day to catch insect damage before it gets severe. Look for ragged leaves from chewing, eggs laid on the back side of leaves, slime tails of slugs, pellets of caterpillar fecal material in plant crowns, and stippling on the leaves indicating sucking insects such as spider mites. The sooner to discover the damage, the quicker you can control it, and lessen the loss.

Sow Fall Crops

There's still time to sow some quick-producing summer crops that will mature before frost. Sow bush cucumbers, carrots, beets and bush beans. Plant these crops where peas, lettuce, spring greens, broccoli, and cauliflower have finished producing.

Shade Houseplants

Make sure houseplants summering outdoors are protected from direct sun and drying winds which can burn their foliage. Check pots daily for water needs. Even a few hours of water stress can cause a plant to become a magnet for insect attacks.

Stop Pruning

Stop pruning by mid-July until fall. Pruning trees and shrubs now, especially evergreens, causes the plant to develop new growth. This new succulent growth may not have time to harden off before winter sets in. However, you can start pruning deciduous plants again once their leaves begin turn in fall. This indicates plants are going dormant.

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