Here are 6 suggestions of how to stay busy in the garden during the 4th of July Holiday: 

Harvesting:

    • Cool-season crops: Harvest vegetables like peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and kale and early season cabbage.
    • Herbs: Regularly harvest herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro to encourage new growth.

 

Planting:

    • Succession planting: Sow seeds for a second crop of fast-growing vegetables like radishes, lettuce, beans, and beets.
    • Fall crops: Start planting seeds for fall-harvested vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower indoors or in a shaded outdoor location. Fall is a wonderful time to garden in Montana but if you don’t start your own seeds you may miss out as many nurseries do not restock these plants as starts. At Green Thumbs, we have a limited supply of plants for fall planting as well as all of the supplies you need to start your own seeds.  Most seeds need about 6 weeks of growth before transplanting and another 6 weeks of growth after transplant.  Sowing seeds around the 4th of July will put your harvest around the end of September–perfect timing for those cool weather lovers.

 

Weeding and Mulching:

    • Weeding: Keep on top of weeds to reduce competition for water and nutrients.  Removing weeds before they flower and produce seeds is integral to reducing weed pressure in the following seasons. 
    • Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch to help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. I like to use GardenStraw premium straw mulch for this task.  Before putting down the mulch, make sure your soil is damp.  Put the layer of mulch on top of the damp soil and then water on top of the mulch.  Watering the mulch helps it to not blow away but also to not rob the soil of water.  

 

Pruning and Deadheading:

    • Pruning: Prune back overgrown plants to encourage healthy growth and increase air circulation–especially hanging baskets that have a lot of petunias and calibrachoa in them.  Remove approximately 30% of the petunia vine when pruning.  This will be painful (for the gardener) for a couple of days but you will be rewarded with an abundance of blooms and longevity of your hanging basket for the remainder of the season.  Don’t forget to also fertilize your planters and hanging baskets.  At this point in the season, your hanging baskets have been in the same planter for at least 12 weeks and they are HUNGRY! I use Jack’s Petunia FeED on my annual flowers at least bi-weekly.  If you have not done any fertilization that is ok–it’s not too late!
    • Deadheading: Remove spent flowers from annuals and perennials to promote continued blooming.

 

Fertilizing:

    • Feed plants: There are many ways to fertilize your garden and it may depend on what you have already done or not done up to this point in the season.  For example, I have a container garden that I put granular slow release fertilizer in at planting time.  I will not reapply this fertilizer until about 70 days have passed–for my tomatoes and peppers, this will not be until the end of July as I was a little bit late in transplanting this season.  However, I will apply liquid compost tea to give my plants a little bit of a boost and make sure that there are enough beneficial microbes in the soil to continue breaking down the granular slow release fertilizer.

  

Staking and Supporting:

    • Support plants: Stake or cage tall or vining plants like tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers to keep them upright and prevent damage.  I like to support my tomatoes with a steel stake and vine clips. 

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