July is a busy month in the garden.

Are your plants looking a bit yellow? Crops are producing heavily right now and can use a boost of fertilizer.  A foliar spray is a quick fix while side dressing with a basic fertilizer will provide longer term nutrients for the rest of the growing season. There are 80+ frost free days left.  That’s still time for late plantings of summer squash, cucumbers and bush beans.  Even fast varieties of corn can still be planted.  It’s also time to start thinking about fall crops.

Many fall crops are planted as transplants because germination and growing conditions for small plants can be tough in the heat of July and August. There’s still time for a fast cabbage-early jersey wakefield or Chinese cabbage, collards and kale. We are late for starting broccoli, but local farm supplies and garden centers may have transplants.  Most transplants will also benefit from row cover because pest pressure is high this time of year: flea beetles, cucumber and squash beetles, and cabbage loppers top the list.


Spinach and lettuce can be hard to germinate in warm soil; putting the seed in the freezer for a few days before planting can help.  Spinach seed also benefits from a few hour soak and even pre-sprouting before planting.  Be sure to plant as soon as you see the root start to emerge.

Peas can also be planted for fall harvest.  Southern Exposure Seed Exchange recommends July 7-august 15 for direct seeding.  Plant the seeds a little deeper, keep well watered and even consider planting in the shade of corn or tomatoes.  Be prepared to cover with row cover if we have an early frost.  The flowers and pods are less hardy than the vines.

I’ve just touched on a few of the possibilities that can still be planted. Pam Dawling has a handy table in her awesome book, Sustainable Market Farming.

Days to Harvest Harvest Harvest
harvest mid Sept late Sept mid Oct
  to mid Oct to mid Oct thru winter
30d 27-Jul 16-Aug 31-Aug
40d 17-Jul 6-Aug 21-Aug
50d 7-Jul 27-Jul 1-Aug
60d   7-Jul 22-Jul
70d     12-Jul


The harvest information for mid- October through winter is for growing under row cover, in a cold frame, or high tunnel.  Spinach, kale will often overwinter out doors with no protection, although the quality is much better under row cover.  One thing I learned the hard way: don’t try to lift row cover that is frozen to the ground.  It will rip!

Check your seed packet or catalog for days to harvest and start planting!