Gardening in July

Gardening in July is a little challenging because of the weather. In order to make the most of your garden in mid-summer, you need to be in your garden every day. It is hot, so you need to get up early to check your garden. We are picking cherries so it is very important to be outside as early as possible, otherwise the birds will devour all our cherries.

In our garden we are picking the last of the peas and the spinach.  The cucumbers are blossoming and may be ripe already in your garden.  Onions are growing and can be picked for immediate use.  Onions should be harvested when the stems start to bend over, so they should not be ready yet.  Keep weeding so your plants have room to reach their full potential!

Another reason to be in your garden every day is to keep an eye out for anything that is attacking your garden.  July is the time for Japanese beetles to be hatching.  Potato beetles are a potential threat to potato plants and related plants.  Sometimes ground hogs try to invade your garden.  You will experience the least amount of loss from pests if you are watching for them daily.  Luke 21:34 reads “Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled…”  Just like we have to be on our guard to protect our minds, we have to be on our guard to protect our gardens.

Black raspberries or as they refer to them locally, black caps, are ripe in July.  Black raspberries grow wild so if you do not have any in your garden, you may be able to pick them in a nearby hedgerow.   Picking black raspberries in July is a great way to save money.  You can freeze the berries after rinsing them, to eat in the winter.  Black raspberries make great pie filling.  You can also cook down the  raspberries to make juice which you use to make jelly.  Black raspberry jelly is one of our favorite jellies.

Red raspberries are also ripening.  Red raspberries can be made into delicious jelly as well.   They make great muffins too.  Red raspberries do not usually grow wild.

Gardening in July can be challenging with the heat and also the many items that need to harvested.  To motivate yourself, think of how much it will mean to you and your family to have the food you grew, safely packaged in the freezer or canned in jars down in the cellar this winter.  The winter of 2013-2014 was extremely cold and heating bills may have been very high.   When you can food or freeze it, you will have quality, nutritious food safely stored in your home.   Proverbs 19:15 reads “Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.”  Gardening in July is challenging because of the heat and the many  vegetables ripening at the same time, but keep in mind the cold winter that may be in store for us and keep motivated to harvest all you are able.