Summer is progressing and plants are enjoying the hottest time of the year. It is time to take a breather and enjoy the hard work you have put into the garden.
July has been a more relaxed month, compared to the ones before. I have taken more time to just enjoy the plants as opposed to constantly thinking about what still needs to be done. Since we are heading towards the second half of the summer, there aren’t all too many new things left to plant. Now is rather the time to take good care of your existing plants and make sure to keep them healthy. Also be sure to harvest your crops regularly to prevent fruit and veggies from going bad or becoming too tough.
While our bell pepper plants haven’t grown very tall, they have started to produce quite a few bell peppers. In a few weeks they will be ready for harvesting. Now is the time to feed the plant to ensure proper growth and optimal health. Also be sure to protect your plants from snails that may want to enjoy some of those bell peppers before you get a chance to!
Our 3 zucchini plants are doing very well and yielding a ton of zucchini. Zucchini taste best when they are small or medium size so be sure to harvest them regularly to prevent them from becoming too big and getting that unpleasant woody texture. We are currently trying out two different kinds of variations- yellow zucchini and marbled zucchini.
A recently new addition to our garden are these beautiful melon plants. I chose a honeydew and a cantaloupe plant at the gardening center. So far they are doing well and are currently in bloom. Let’s hope they will produce fruit in time before the cold weather begins! I also bought two pumpkin plants (they look incredibly similar to melon plants) and will keep you updated on their progress.
The red onions are finally ready to be harvested and I have already used some of them for cooking. How do you know if onions are ready for harvesting? The stems start to wilt and become yellow. At this point you should pluck them and lay them out to dry in the sun for a few days. Then you can store them in your cellar or any other cool dark place.
While our tomatoes have finally grown to a proper size, they are still not ripe yet. At this point it is important to feed your tomato plants every two weeks and make sure they receive a generous amount of water daily. Also be sure to pinch out the side shoots regularly before they grow too large. Since tomatoes are sun-loving plants, the amount of sunshine will largely determine the success of your yield.
So far I have only harvested 1 ripe tomato! Patience is key I guess. 🙂
I have removed the chamomile and cress that was taking over the herb bed and spaced out the smaller herb plants further apart to give them more breathing space. Additionally I added some lemon verbena to my herb collection which we use for infused water and making homemade lemonade. It’s delicious!
The chilis are also doing well and will soon be a vibrant red and ready for harvesting. True story: I have actually mistaken the chili seeds for snack bell pepper seeds which is why we currently have 10 chili plants in our garden. Yup, that happened. Learn from my mistakes and label your seeds well!
While we are on the topic of mistakes, here are a few things I have learned in the past month through trail and error.
- If you find lice on plants such as chamomile or artichokes, be sure to treat them immediately. Sprinkle baking soda around the plant as well as lightly onto the plant to remove ants, which in turn gets rid of the lice.
- Adding straw underneath your strawberry plants is non optional. They will get moldy if you skip this step.
- Snails don’t just enjoy munching on veggies and fruit, they also love sunflowers. (This one really surprised me)
- Don’t plant too much arugula. It grows incredibly fast!
While we do have two snack bell pepper plants they will still need about two weeks before the fruit are ready for harvest. In the meantime I feed them a bit of compost every now and then and make sure to check them for signs of diseases or pests.
Now let’s take a look at what vegetables and plants you can grow in July. We live in a mild climate zone in Switzerland, so this list is for our climate zone here. (Our winters are mild, seldom any frost and negative temperatures, while the summers can be quite hot with temperatures up to 30C or 86F. We get a lot of rain.)
July Growing and Sowing List
- turnip cabbage
- garden cress
- bell peppers
The arugula in our garden has exploded and I am trying to use it as much as possible in our weekly meals. Tonight I am trying a potato and arugula salad with pumpkin seed dressing!
The biggest surprise was the fact that our blackberry bush already produced fruit in the very first year. If you remember how the blackberry bush looked in March, it’s almost unbelievable to think that it could grow that fast. We have since bought a trellis to support the fast climbing shrub.
Enjoy your summer!