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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. 


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. 


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. 


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!

The Gardening Notebook is the ultimate gardening tool. This printable notebook has over 120 pages of information and organization to help you have the garden you've always dreamed of.

P.S.S. And here is the super exciting news, The Gardening Notebook is on sale all month long! It will be just $5 until August 15th (it hasn’t been that low since it was first published), from Aug 16-23rd it will be $7 and from Aug 24-31st it will be $8. This is the time that gardeners need to be keeping notes of what worked and what didn’t work for them this year. Also, this makes a great Christmas gift for a gardener, just print it up and put it in a nice binder. 

This post is shared at Tuesday Garden Party.

Thanks for sharing with your friends!


Monday 21st of February 2022

There are some YouTube videos that show folks who have successfully used orange oil on fire ants and TAMU recommends it, as well. It’s reported to be nontoxic to the environment and lawns, but I don’t know if “lawn” means all plants or not.

By the way, any updates whether coffee grounds work on the fire ants?

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 23rd of February 2022

I've used orange oil on fire ants and it does work. Fire ants are tricky little devils honestly, I don't know if it's ever possible to truly kill a colony....they seem to just reemerge. So, they need to be dealt with early and often. Coffee grounds have not been successful for me. The best treatment I've used since this article was published is spinosad which is considered safe for organic gardens.


Tuesday 11th of August 2015


This is my first year growing some vegetables and I even attempted some landscaping. It has been a very healing experience. In addition to a chronic illness, I was working full-time and going to school full-time and did it until I had a mini-stroke. Not only have I found a healthier way of life and hobby, I have found great support in the gardening community and begun to appreciate life again through watching how living things grow and survive in response to care and nurturing.

Thank you for sharing your garden just as it is, so that I can let go of the idea that mine should look like a perfectly farmed piece of land and to others too for sharing that not every planted seed is an unchallenged success. I will be enjoying more of what you have to share.


Angi Schneider

Tuesday 11th of August 2015

Karina, I'm so happy that my weeds encourage you. I'm sure there are some people who keep a picture perfect garden but I'm never met any. It's hard to find time to weed when the harvest is coming in. Gardening is very therapeutic for me too. Even when it's not going like I hoped, I still find calmness and joy in the garden. I'm glad you've found support, too. Gardeners are some of the most generous people I know.

Karen Dries

Tuesday 4th of August 2015

Peppermint spray works real well for ants. My neighbor uses it a lot.

Angi Schneider

Tuesday 4th of August 2015

Awesome, I'll give that a try! Thanks for the suggestion.


Monday 3rd of August 2015

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

Monday 3rd of August 2015

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.

Rachel E.

Monday 3rd of August 2015

I love that you just let the grass grow tall. :) Mine is pretty bad. I'm interested in the loufa plant. I would love to see what you do with them.

Angi Schneider

Monday 3rd of August 2015

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.