If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that while the July days are getting shorter, the heat is still rising across the Northwest! If you’re wondering what kind of gardening tasks in the Northwest you should be keeping up with this July, keep reading.
As I walk around my July landscape, I’m always amazed at how much life and color surround me: flowers, vegetables, birds, and pollinators all around. I’m also absolutely aware of how hot it is and how much I just want to relax.
After a busy spring and early summer in the garden, there’s nothing I love more than observing my space, dreaming about future possibilities within it, and finally, to relax outside with those I love.
To that end, here are a few things I’ll be doing in and for my outdoor spaces this month, and you can consider doing the same!
Your July Northwest Garden Checklist
- Save your harvest! Did you grow too many green beans? Do you wish you would never see a zucchini again? Is your basil a little too prolific? Now’s the perfect time to put a little bit of elbow grease in to preserve these flavors for fall and winter baking and cooling. Flash freezing is a great and simple way to preserve berries and beans: rinse them in a colander, lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze them for a day or so before placing them in labeled and dated bags to go back in the freezer. Also do a quick search for what fruits and vegetables like to be blanched – and do that! Didn’t grow much? Head out to a local farm or farmers market to buy some produce and save that bounty – there’s no shame in supplementing this way and you get to support hard working local farmers, too.
- Harvest some seeds. You’ll be surprised at how easy saving seeds from the flowers in your garden and garden pots really is. Look for those flowers that have dried out on the stems (especially easy: zinnia, nasturtium, bachelor buttons, and marigolds). Pinch the back of the flower head with one hand, and pinch and pull the seed heads out with the other. Lay them out to dry in a cool, dark spot for a few days, then make sure you label them and store them in a cool and dark space in preparation for planting next spring. Free flowers!
- Watch your watering. When the temperatures are still high and your garden is still productive, still plan to water your plants deeply every few days, making sure to water early in the morning or late in the evening, just not midday when the water evaporates most quickly. It’s also a good time to check your sprinkler heads and drip irrigation to make sure you’re not watering the sidewalk or street, and to ensure you’re efficiently watering the plants you want to keep growing!
- Take five minutes to think about next summer. What has been thriving in your garden this month? What has been suffering? What would you like to see or grow in your space next year at this time? Write that down, do some research, order some seeds, or dream about how you can make that happen.
- Check on your neighbors. This is a good rule of thumb all year round, but especially in the high heat of late summer, it never hurts to give a call, especially to elderly neighbors. Send a text, or knock on a door to see if they need anything inside the home or outside in the garden, and if you can, do what you can. A delivery of a few cut flowers from your garden or from the farmers market never hurts, either!
The gifts of a Northwest landscape are many. Here’s to cultivating and enjoying what you love.
Hailey Keller – Copy Editor/Contributor
A journalistic writer with an empathic soul, Hailey likes to (loudly) speak the truth and make sure everyone has a seat at the proverbial table. When not fervently championing the success of all those around her, Hailey likes to visit the Gaiser Conservatory within Manito Park, spend hours on Etsy and consume sugary treats.
Her time working at Eastern Washington University solidified her passion of advocating for those unable to advocate for themselves and establishing connections with people around the community interested in doing the same.