Summer Garden Tasks

by Mike Darcy

The spring season of 2022 will not go down the annals of ideal gardening weather here in the Pacific Northwest. We had record rain and cool, (cold), days and nights which delayed the typical planting season for many gardeners. Warm season vegetable crops like tomatoes, squash, beans, etc. were delayed until late May and early June. Many gardeners also delayed buying their hanging baskets and flowering annuals as well. While this cool and rainy weather put the garden season behind the usual schedule, it did not take long for plants to put on vigorous growth and now it appears that they are where they should be for July.

There are lots of tasks for July but most important is to enjoy your garden and don’t get overwhelmed.

With container gardening, keep in mind that potted plants will dry out much faster than if they were in the ground, Usually, daily watering is necessary especially for hanging baskets. Adding Black Gold Just Coir to the soil surface of pots will help to hold moisture. Also, check pots to be certain that they are draining adequately. I’ve found that drainage holes can get plugged and it may be necessary to take a piece of rebar or heavy wire to unplug them.

It is not too late to add some color to your garden. Most garden centers carry summer blooming annuals, and these can easily be potted in your own containers for some instant color. No one has to know that you just planted them! Be sure to use a potting soil that will help hold moisture. I like to use Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix, because with pumice or perlite, it will also ensure good aeration.


Dahlias will be coming into bloom this month and should continue through the fall or until there is a frost. Keep the flowers picked for continuous bloom. Earwigs seem to prefer dahlia flowers over many others and if you see the flower petals being eaten, that is probably a sure sign of earwig damage. Take a flower apart and you will probably see them. Control as necessary, always following label instructions. Dahlias need regular summer watering and if the soil constantly dries out quickly, add Black Gold Garden Compost Blend. Tall growing dahlias usually need to be staked

As the name suggests, Hydrangea is a moisture loving plant. While some can grow in a full sun location, I’ve found they do best with some afternoon shade. They are quick to wilt with lack of moisture, but also quick to bounce back. A mulch of Black Gold Just Coir, especially during the summer months would be beneficial.

Some of the smaller fruited tomatoes may be beginning to ripen. Be sure tomato plants have good drainage and adequate water. Tomatoes have an extensive root system so water them deeply. If they stress for water, they may drop the fruit. Plants often get very dense with growth, and it is a good idea to thin some of the branches and leaves to increase air circulation which can help prevent some diseases. While it is too late to plant tomatoes, if you did not get a spring vegetable garden planted, make plans for a fall one in mid-August. While the crops will vary from spring, there is much that can be planted for a fall harvest.



Take some time to enjoy your efforts. I like to have a walk through the garden in the early morning and just enjoy the peace and quiet. I have many plants that attract hummingbirds, and it is a delight to watch them in action. I have other plants for attracting bees and other insects as well as an assortment of birds and several sources of water for all. I strive to be respectful of our planet.




About Mike Darcy

Mike lives and gardens in a suburb of Portland, Oregon where he has resided since 1969. He grew in up Tucson, Arizona where he worked at a small retail nursery during his high school and college years. He received his formal education at the University of Arizona where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture, and though he values his formal education, he values his field-experience more. It is hard to beat the ‘hands on’ experience of actually gardening, visiting gardens, and sharing information with other gardeners. Mike has been involved with gardening communications throughout his adult life. In addition to garden writing, he has done television gardening shows in Portland, and for over 30 years he hosted a Saturday radio talk show in Portland. Now he writes, speaks, gardens and continues to share his love of gardening. To be connected to the gardening industry is a bonus in life for Mike. He has found gardeners to be among the friendliest and most caring, generous people. Consequently, many of his friends he has met through gardening.

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