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Monthly Garden Gossip,

July, 2018

Welcome to our garden! We're proud of our hard work and want to share the reward with you, so here is what's going on in the garden this month..Central Alabama


I you haven't done so already it is time to prune back your roses that only flower once in the spring. You can prune them hard if you want then you will only prune to shape them the rest of the summer.

Your repeat bloomers can also be pruned to shape and given a little fertilizer now in preparation for the fall bloom.



Blackberry Pruning

Blackberry training

The blackberry harvest is almost finished and we will be cutting back our old canes and preparing the new ones for next year's crop. We are planning to start pruning around July 10. Two vigorous primo canes should be utilized to establish a fruiting system for production next year.  Allow one primo cane to grow to 6 to 8 inches above the bottom wire (which should be 36 inches above the soil level), and cut such that 1 to 2 inches of the cane is above the wire.

As branching resumes on the new primo cane, select two branches each of which will grow along the wire in opposite directions and tie to the wire.

All other branches should be removed.  This same type of training procedure should be used when the second primo cane grown above the top wire which should be 60 inches above the soil level. 

All excess shoots should be removed periodically to permit the energy of the plant to develop the four branches along the trellis wires.  All other primo canes which arise at soil level should be removed. Once the old floricanes are removed in mid July, an application of 1/2 cup of calcium nitrate or 1/4 cup of ammonium nitrate is applied. We sometimes duplicate the application in late August. 

Use of pine bark mulch greatly conserves moisture. This year we will spray the blackberries twice with copper. Once in Late July and again in late August or early September.

Weed control is important to reduce competition around plants especially when they are young. Hoeing or hand pulling is fine.  If herbicides are applied, care should be used to avoid damage.  Don't apply glyophosate herbicide (such as Roundup) around young plants less than one year old or later than July. Still Confused? Check out our Blackberry Pruning Video.


Our crews are out combing the muscadines. This term means separating the shoots for ease of harvest, otherwise the tendrils wrap around the vines and make it difficult to pick the fruit.  Cut off excess growth.  Leave about 30" to 36" in length.  Cutting off the excess vines puts all the energy of the plant into increasing the size of the fruit.  Keep watering during dry periods.

Fire Blight

If you are seeing some fire blight on your apples and pears the only thing you can do now is cut off the infected branch.  Remember to dip your pruners in a 10% clorox solution before each cut. Burn the branches you cut off don't be tempted to put them in the compost pile. Finish thinning apples and pears at this time. It helps to increase the size of the fruit and the excess fruit can cause your branches to break. Keep your figs watered during dry spells. A fig tree will drop its leaves and fruit to protect itself during drought situations.

Fire Blight
Planning to grow pumpkins for Halloween or fall decorations? Better get busy and get your seed planted. They need to be in the ground by July 4 in order to harvest by Halloween.
Make sure that you keep your hummingbird feeders clean and the food fresh. The sugar syrup will ferment in the heat.

Scrub with a brush or add 2 tablespoons of uncooked rice to the feeder and shake vigorously.  Rinse well.  Do not use soap in the feeders.  Once a month soak feeders in a solution of 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water for an hour.  Rinse well before refilling.

Keep the water fresh in your birdbaths too the birds will appreciate it.

Hummingbird Food Recipe

Mix 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Boil to kill the bacteria and mold. Cool and fill your feeder.

Extra food may be stored in the refrigerator. There is no need to add the red dye.


Oakleaf, mophead, and lacecap hydrangeas should be pruned by August 1 or you could be removing next years flowers. If your blue hydrangeas have turned pink there is nothing you can do about it this year. However you can use a soil acididier or aluminium sulfate to make them blue again. If you wish to keep them pink just add a little pelletized lime around your plant.


Fall Vegetables

It is also time to give some thought to the fall vegetable garden. July would be a good time to start seedlings for cabbage, broccoli, and other cool season vegetables so that they will be ready to set out in the garden in August. Order your multiplying onions now. They should be planted in August too. Often it is still too hot to plant lettuce. Get your seed now but wait to plant lettuce until about the middle of September.

It is hard to find tomato plants this late in the season. If you wish to have a crop of fall tomatoes you can just take cuttings of your favorites and place them in damp potting mix in light shade. Keep them moist for a couple of weeks and they will be rooted in. Then plant out in the garden.


The blueberries are still very plentiful so the u-pick fields will be open in July. Stop by to pick some or buy them already picked from our cooler. If your blueberry patch has been very kind to you this year and you have more than you know what to do with, make some blueberry jam or jelly and freeze the rest for later use. I have found that it is best to freeze the blueberries on a cookie sheet before vacuum sealing them or putting them in freezer bags. This keeps the blueberries separated and allows you to to get them out individually for a snack or cooking.

Cosmos There is still time to plant some seed for fall color. Cosmos, zinnias and sunflower seeds are available at the shop by the teaspoon or tablespoon.