In many places around the world July’s summer weather can be pretty rough. If you have 10+ days with temperatures over 100F – whew! –that certainly is not the best planting weather! But if you live in USDA zones 4 ,5 ,6 and 7 there are still some veggies you can plant at this time of year.
The first thing to do is look around your garden, and see if there are some empty batches for planting. A spot where some plants didn’t make it last year, or where you have cleared out some veggies already, can just perfect for your new crops this year! You can still take advantage of all the warm weather blowing in July by filling those spots with new plantings!
For instance, we always have a big empty lot where our peas were planted. Peas are done here by July 1 st and are ready to come out. A lot of this space will just sit empty for 30 days waiting for the first of the fall carrot and spinach plantings in the month of August. Also, the spring lettuce beds are empty, so bush beans can be planted there right away.
So, what plants can you seed in July, and still be expecting to get a harvest?
Did you know that a second planting of cucumbers at July’s time of the year will yield a small early-fall crop? Yes, it is never a bad idea to plant some more cucumbers for the preserving season.
And doesn’t it look like that cucumber plants kind of ‘always burn themselves out?’ My plants always seem to start fading at late August time. So, this year I will try an early-July planting of cucumbers. Those fresh green plants will start producing in early September, and will aid to build my fall harvest! So, you can do it this way too, and grow them on a trellis for even a better harvest.
2.Onions and leeks
If you still find them at the local nursery, you can still get onion sets in your planting ground. As they WON’T bulb up, you will only get green onions.
You can plant them 3 inches deep, and close enough to save some space. These can last deep into the fall and help enrich your meals with fresh green onions! So, midsummer is a great time to get started on a fall planting of onions and leeks.
If you live in a mild-winter zone, then you may be able to get a harvest by planting seeds directly in the garden. In turn, in the areas where the winter season starts early, you may need to get a hold of some seedlings to plant, or try planting some of your own indoors, and then transplant them out in 6 weeks.
If you plant zucchini, crook neck, or patty pan squash in early to mid-July they should still produce some fruit by the end of the season. Surely, the harvest you should expect will be smaller than you would have if the plants went in during the month of May. But don’t worry – you can still rejoice in a good harvest from mid-September until the frost freezes your plants in the cold month of October.
In fact, if you struggle with powdery mildew in your garden, a July planting of any of these summer squashes may be just the thing your harvest basket ‘dreams about.’ When your spring-planted squashes start to surrender to the powdery mildew, your brand new July plants will just be kicking in. Wooly aphids (Eriosomatinae) and other sucking insects are often vectors of transmission for powdery mildew, and other infectious diseases.
Typically, wooly aphids in sub temperate climates precede and are an indicator of various infections, including powdery mildew. Aphids penetrate plant surfaces where they often reside and provide a host of potential inoculants through physical, digestive or fecal secretions. Aphids are often an indicator of other potential plant problems.
The curly kale, when planted in warm July, from either starts or seeds, will yield a great fall [and even winter crop]. You will need to wait to harvest this planting of kale until the fall really settles in, and you have had 2 or 3 frosty nights. The frost will also help sweeten the kale and improve its taste. But if you want ‘fall kale,’ you need to get it planted right now, without any delay!
5.Summer crisp lettuces
Summer varieties of lettuce will do great both in July and August, and seeds can be planted directly in the garden. Just be sure to keep the seeds moist until they germinate and get established. Most summer lettuce varieties resist bolting, and tip burn. I am fond of doing this as it gives me a very early crop of lettuce so that I can have fresh garden salads, garnished with fresh and sweet tomatoes of course.
Don’t forget to plant some fall peas as well, either snow peas or shelling peas. These need to go in around the middle of July, and will be ready in mid-October. I have seen that snow peas do particularly well in the fall.
So, if you get your peas planted in mid-July, you can have a decent harvest in late fall. Just keep in mind that in areas where you have very hot summers and short falls, peas do not do as well in the fall as they would otherwise in the spring. Expect ½ of the harvest in fall as you would get from the same number of plants in spring.
You should be aware that green beans have a surprisingly short growing time. This is particularly true of the bush varieties of green beans. Many varieties of bush beans have a maturity date of only 60-70 days. That means a planting early in July will be ready to go no later than mid-September, and if you have a late first frost date, even a planting at the end of July will still give you a harvest galore.