Ira Wallace Southern Exposure Seed Exchange author of Grow Great Vegetables in Virginia
We are really enjoying our early garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers while looking forward to vine ripened melons soon. Deers nibbling on the edge of our sweet potato beds have us worried about raccoons getting to our sweet corn before we have a chance to enjoy it and when will we learn to fence sweet corn or plant plenty for the critters and you.
July is also when heat loving okra really stats to produce. If you are new to growing okra Farmer Pam Dawling just posted a great detailed article Caring for Your Okra Crop on her blog www.SustainableMarketFarming.com.
Our succession sowings turn from hot weather crops to summer plantings for fall and winter harvest in July. Add carrots and beets to succession plantings early in July and drop corn and beans at the end of the month.
In early July sow Pak Choy, Mizuna, and Chinese Cabbage in seedling beds with afternoon shade for transplanting to permanent beds in 3 to 4 weeks. Check out our blog post 10 Heirlooms Perfect For The Fall Garden for even most summer planting ideas for cool season harvest.
By the 3rd week in July finish sowing your main Brassicas for Fall (broccoli, collards, cabbage, savoys) under spun polyester row cover. Continue with direct sowings of collards, Swiss chard, leaf beet, kale, radishes, and more Chinese cabbage in late July.
Transplant most Brassicas at 4 leaves (4-6 weeks) and other leafy greens earlier(2-4 weeks). Smaller seedlings suffer less transplant shock in hot weather if kept well watered. To reduce insect damage keep transplants under protek net or light weight row cover until plants are large and sturdy. When sowing and transplanting this time of year, you’ll want to take extra care to keep plants and seeds cool and moist. Transplant in the evening or on overcast days. Water often and use shade cloth or other plants to keep some afternoon sun off of these cool-season crops. Read our post 10 Tips for Growing Great Brassicas to get more detailed growing ideas.
Keep your garden weeded, mulched and watered. Enjoy the harvest of beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, celeriac, celery, chard, corn, cow peas, cucumbers, eggplant, hot peppers, lettuce, okra, onions, peppers, plums, scallions, squash, tomatoes, and zucchini.