In the Garden: July
Monthly guide for gardening tasks, forecasts, and more

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." 
- Sam Keen  

Fertilize: Give annuals a complete fertilizer. Water well before and after application. Deadhead and fertilize roses. Fertilize young fruit trees (except pears) with a 3-1-2 ratio product at 1-2 cups per inch of trunk diameter.

Water: Water all planted areas deeply but infrequently during dry periods. Outdoor container plants need daily watering. Consider landscaping with drought resistant native plants in the future.

Soil: Mulch all bare soil. Turn compost pile and add new ingredients. Clean up spring vegetable gardens and replenish with compost.

Lawn Care:   Mow every 5-7 days and leave the clippings on the lawn. Watch for take-all patch. Set mower higher in shady areas to promote denser turf.

Diseases/Pests to Look for: 
spider mites, leaf rollers, lacebugs and aphids, chinch bugs, fleas, ticks, chiggers and grubs in lawns;
scale insects on euonymus, hollies, peaches and plums;
webworms in pecans and persimmons;
powdery mildew on crape myrtles and roses;
aphids on crape myrtle, roses and Mexican milkweed;
scale on peaches and plums.
Remove any diseased leaves from beds; do not add to compost.

Prune:   Remove vigorous growth from center of peach and plum trees to prevent shading of fruiting shoots. Tip new blackberry canes at 4’ to force side branches. Prune dead and damaged wood from trees and shrubs as needed.

Things To Plant In July:

Flower Plants:
ageratum, ajuga, alpine aster, balsam, blue daze, boltonia, cockscomb, silver dollar plant, periwinkle, portulaca, purslane, gloriosa daisy, mexican bush sage, sedum, stoke's aster, wax begonia, wishbone flower, vinca, zinnia

Flower Seeds:
ageratum, balsam, castor bean, cleome, cockscomb, cosmos, four-o'clock, gaillardia, impatiens, marigold, moonflower, morning glory, periwinkle, portulaca, tithonia, torenia, vinca, zinnia

autumn crocus, liriope, lycoris, monkey grass

  • Early—Mid Month: Pumpkin, Sweet Potato    
  • Mid—Late Month: Corn, Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes
Additional to-dos:
  • Gather herbs and flowers to dry.
  • Preserve the bounty by freezing, canning or drying vegetables and fruits.

  • Plan fall gardens and prepare beds by removing perennial weeds before tilling

  • Add compost and fertilizer.

  • Drink lots of water,

Gardening tasks courtesy of the Garden Guide for Austin & Vicinity, published by the Travis County Master Gardener Association, copyright 2000-2002

Farmers Market Favorite
Summer Tomato Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. Though referred to commonly as ratatouille niçoise, ratatouille is popular among the entire Mediterranean coast as an easy summer dish. Wikipedia

Summer Tomato Stovetop Ratatouille
Serves 6

All vegetables sourced from Texas Farmers' market vendor Johnson’s Backyard Garden.


¼ cup grapeseed oil, divided
1 large clove elephant garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 leek, sliced, separated into ringlets, rinsed thoroughly and dried by squeezing in paper toweling
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
4 sweet peppers, sliced thinly (we used banana peppers, bell peppers, and Italian peppers)
Assorted in-season tomatoes, chopped, to yield 4-5 cups
1 small bunch fresh basil, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat a small layer of oil over medium, to medium high heat to shimmering. Add garlic to heated oil and sauté, stirring constantly, about one minute.

Add sliced leeks to garlic in oil. Sauté, continually stirring, for about a minute, or until limp.

Add diced eggplant to mixture. Stirring frequently, cook until eggplant is tender. (Eggplant will soak up oil. Add oil as needed to prevent ingredients from sticking to the pan.)

Add sweet peppers and tomatoes to tender eggplant. Continue cooking over medium heat as tomatoes release juices and peppers reach tender-crisp stage, about 15 minutes.

Add minced fresh basil to pan, tossing to incorporate. Season well with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for additional 5 minutes, or until all vegetables are soft and seasonings are well-incorporated.

Serve warm as a side dish, sandwich filling, pizza topping, or complement to meat, poultry, seafood or cheese.

This dish was prepared as a Chef Demo for local Texas Farmers Market, where I work as market chef, preparing seasonal dishes with best of the market ingredients monthly at both TFM Lakeline and TFM Mueller markets. All vegetables were donated by Johnson's Backyard Garden

If you find yourself in the Austin area next month, I will be at the TFM Lakeline market from 10-12noon, August 13, and the TFM Mueller market from 11-1pm, August 14. Bring your seasonal food questions and an appetite! I'd love to chat.

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