The July Garden

The July garden in a zone 9 gardening zone is similar to many end of season gardens. It's hot and most plants are done. But not all, come find out what plants are loving the heat. While many of you are in the glory time of gardening right now, we are about done for the summer. Oh, there are still peppers, luffa, okra, basil and moringa and an occasional small tomato or strawberry, but that’s it.

The plants have been in the ground since early March and are spent. It’s hot with heat indexes up to 110 on some days and all motivation to go out to to the garden is gone. In year’s past I’ve tried to hang hang onto the plants and water, water, water to keep things alive until fall.

This year I’m trying a different tactic. I’m going to fully enjoy my break, similar to how my northern friends enjoy their break in the winter. 

IMG_7710So, this is what my July garden looks like right now. Don’t judge the weeds please, I’m keeping it real here. 

IMG_7816Our okra plants are doing well, but fire ants have decided that they really like okra. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like they are building little mounds on the fruit. So, we’re trying various things to kill the ants but not the plants.  Someone told me ants don’t like coffee grounds so I put a circle of coffee grounds around each plant. Feel free to leave more suggestions in the comments. 

IMG_7910Basil is the only herb that is still thriving. I’ve decided that next year, I’m going to plant my herbs where they can get a little afternoon shade and see if that helps. 

IMG_7917The moringa trees are doing great!  They have gotten as tall as 10′. We are harvesting leaves regularly to use in meals, I’ve been putting them in sauted vegetables, stir fry and even in stuffed pasta shells. It’s nice to have greens that I can count on during the heat of the summer. 

IMG_7698The luffa are growing wonderfully. I have one plant that has totally taken over and it has about 10 large luffas on it. Next year I need to remember to just grow the luffa on the fence instead of a bed. It has really put out some long runners and a fence line would be good for it, I think. 

IMG_7914The strawberries are doing good. Some are putting out runners, so that is a really good thing. We’ve mulched with straw and we planted a whole bunch of repeater onion around the beds. The bed that the onions were growing in was starting to fall apart and I know people will often grow chives with strawberries, so it seemed like a good idea to me. 

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We are putting much of the rest of the garden to “bed” for the next couple of months. By early to mid October we should be able to start planting our fall/winter garden. I’m covering the beds we aren’t using right now with black plastic. I’m hoping it will kill any weed seeds. Jami from An Oregon Cottage does this in the winter and has great results. 

IMG_7890Remember those mystery squash that were popping up all over the place. They were from seeds of a wild gourd. Carl brought some home last year for Esther to use fro her Christmas gifts and I decided to plant some seeds along the fence line. Apparently, seeds dropped in some of the beds too, and we had a mess of gourds growing. We’ve been picking them up as we find them and letting them dry out on one of the beds that has a tarp on it. When they are fully dry, I’ll be listing them in our Etsy shop. 

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Our young orchard has suffered this summer. The peaches, plums, apples and the new pear tree have all dropped their fruit and their leaves. We had so much rain this spring and then in June had over 7″ in two days, then it got hot, which steamed the trees.  There seems to be some life still in them but they have suffered. I’m really bummed about this. 

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We’ve had to cover the citrus trees with bird netting because the birds like to peck at the rind. I’m not sure why they do that but it makes for some ugly citrus. 

The July garden in a zone 9 gardening zone is similar to many end of season gardens. It's hot and most plants are done. But not all, come find out what plants are loving the heat.

How is your garden growing? 

P.S. I have something super exciting that will help you with your garden to share with you in a couple of days. So, if you were thinking about buying our gardening notebook, DON’T just yet. To make sure you see the announcement, you might want to subscribe to our emails. I promise you won’t want to miss this one!
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Comments

    • Angi Schneider says

      I’m glad you love that I’m an untidy gardener :-). For the luffa I’m going to try to get my family to use them instead of those plastic netting puffs for the shower. Also my friend from Kenya said they use them to scrub dishes with.

  1. Becca says

    I’m with Rachel! Share more about the luffa plant and moringa tree, please!

    Your gearing down for a much needed break just as I’m gearing up to get started again. I thought a year would be (seem) so long, but we’re almost through it and it has actually been wonderful. I’ve become more thankful for all those years of hard work and realized that the rest is so needed in order to make it through another long haul. It has even carried over into how I live out my weeks. Yes, we’ve had the idea of weekly rest and taken it, but it’s just a completely different perspective now with a year’s break from gardening. I can see the blessing in margin, the blessing of provision, and the blessing of rest allowing for both to be seen amidst the hustle and bustle all around.

    Somehow, focussing on the details of life, the big picture is hard to see. Seeing the big picture instead has helped me notice which details aren’t necessary. Probably sounds strange, but this “Big Sabbath” made the “little Sabbath” even more special.

    Praying your break will be a special blessing, even though it is a short time.

    • Angi Schneider says

      Thanks Becca. I totally get what you are saying. We’ve been having day of rest- real rest and what does that even really mean functionally – discussions around here lately. It seems that we’re going in so many different directions and honestly, I just cannot fight the weather and water as much as is needed to keep the garden going. So I’m just going to accept it. It’s been a weird gardening year. With all the rain I didn’t have to spend much time watering this spring and obviously I’m not obsessive about weeding 😉 so it has seemed like a very relaxing gardening year. Our harvest hasn’t been as great as other years, but I feel like it wasn’t supposed to be and I’m just going to accept that. God has provided what we need and will continue to provide.

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