Crabgrass got you down? Beans in a tangle? Don’t give up!
Sandi Bandieri, director of the Keene Senior Center and master gardener has some July garden tips that we could all benefit from.
Step 1: Weed
Get rid of the weeds – all of them! Don’t know what’s a weed and what’s not? Join us at the Keene Family YMCA on July 12th at 10am for a mini workshop on garden management given by Carl Majewski of UNH Cooperative Extension. We’ll be out back by the garden beds.
Step 2: Water
Keep your garden well watered. One watering-can full is not enough. Stick your fingers into the soil a few inches down. Is it moist? Keep watering! Best times to water your garden are in the morning and in the evening.
Step 3: Fertilize
After your garden is really well watered, feed it! Sandi explains that the vegetables in your garden in July are like teenagers. They need a lot of nutrients to grow, so it’s time to help them along. According to Sandi, the best fertilizer to use is dehydrated chicken manure. You will only need about one pound of it per 4×8 garden bed. Spread it onto your weed-free soil, being carful not to get too close to your plants. Take a fork or rake tool and nestle the fertilizer into the soil. Yum.
Step 4: Mulch
To help keep those weeds from returning and to keep those chicken nutrients in, cover your well watered fertilized soil with mulch. Sandi recommends chopped up leaves if you have any lying around from last fall. You can also trim those yellowing lettuce leaves off your crop and lay them right on top of the soil as mulch. Keep this up as summer turns to fall and you will also be protecting your produce from that first frost.
Step 5: Enjoy
Gardening is supposed to be fun. It can feel like a lot of work sometimes; don’t forget to reap the benefits. Enjoy the company you’re with while you’re in the garden. Take time to smell the flowers, or herbs, or tomatoes… and eat them too! Everyone probably has greens they could be eating right now.
As you begin to enjoy your garden bounty, here are some great tips on harvesting and storing your produce from the University of Idaho: Harvesting and Storing Fresh Garden Vegetables
It’s time to untangle the beans, get the cucumbers off the ground, and support the tomatoes. A few sticks and some string will help with all of these. Pick up some sticks from your next hike in the woods, or use bamboo stakes or anything else straight-ish and strong.
Beans and Cucumbers: Beans and cucumbers will need something pretty tall and strong to grow on. Make a teepee, grid, or stake & string trellis. It can be really simple or more complex. You choose. Here’s a good step-by-step guide for a bean trellis made from sticks and string:
How to build a simple cucumber trellis.
You can always buy a tomato cage for your tomatoes, but you can also support them with a stick! Put the stake in and loosely tie the main tomato stalk to it. Here are Sandi’s tomatoes growing with her basil:
Thanks to Sandi for her enthusiasm, knowledge, and graciousness! For more tips or assistance in your garden, feel free to contact a Community Garden Connection coordinator.