July in the Northern Hemisphere is the month to begin enjoying the fruits of your labor in the vegetable garden. Warm-weather crops will start coming to harvest this month. Getting crops picked at the peak of ripeness is important if you want to enjoy the tastiest and most tender harvest.
Look back at your planting records. Check the date you planted each crop and the number of days to maturity for each crop. You can mark the calendar for the expected start of the harvest for each crop.
Gauge your harvest plans accordingly; cool or rainy weather during the growing period may delay crops by a week or two, but generally plan to harvest each crop on the day it is scheduled to reach maturity.
Plant for Fall Harvest
In cool- to warm-summer regions, July is the month to begin sowing and planting cool-weather crops for fall and winter harvest. If there is not time to get a second or third warm-weather crop to harvest before the fall cool down, turn now to starting cool-weather crops.
In warm- to hot-summer regions and in mild-winter regions, there is plenty of growing season left for planting warm-weather crops. Succession plantings of cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes can go into the garden this month.
Look ahead to the first average frost date to decide which variety of a crop still has time to reach harvest. For example, early to harvest tomatoes (55 to 65 days) may bookend your tomato succession planting if there are still 60 to 80 days before the first average frost.
Tips for Cool- to Warm-Summer Northern Regions
Cool- to warm-summer regions have day-time average temperatures of 70 degrees F/ 21 degrees C.
Harvest. First or second crops of beans, cabbages, zucchini, and early tomatoes should be ready soon. Pick beans, broad beans, spinach, and summer cabbages. Lift early potatoes and first main crop potatoes. Lift onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, turnips, and beets. Click here to see 40 harvest articles for your crops.
Planting. The remaining seedlings started in late spring and early summer should be planted out now. Additional sowing of succession crops–lettuces, radishes, beans, and spinach–should be made. More at: Succession Planting Summer into Autumn
Leeks. Complete leek transplanting as soon as possible. Leeks require 80 days from transplant, 140 days from seed. Thin to 3 inches apart. Plant in trenches 4 to 6 inches deep; as plants grow, hill soil against the stems. Try the variety ‘Large American Flag.’ More at: How to Grow Leeks
Rhubarb. Sow or transplant rhubarb divisions by the middle of the month for harvest next year. Space rhubarb 36 inches (90 cm) apart. Rhubarb needs regular water throughout the summer. In the fall, mulch plants leaving crowns exposed so that frost will trigger new growth next spring. More at: How to Grow Rhubarb
Turnips. Sow hardy turnips such as ‘Golden Ball.’ Turnips are best started in warm soil for harvest in cool weather, 60 days later–make sure your timing is on spot. Sow in drills ½ inch deep and 12 inches apart. More at: How to Grow Turnips
Broccoli. Complete the sowing of sprouting and spring broccoli by the middle of the month. (Broccoli seedlings do not like being transplanted in warm weather. The large green cauliflower-like broccoli is also called Calabrese. Sprouting broccoli has a different look; it grows many small florets instead of a single head–look for purple or white varieties. Seeds of both can be planted through early summer for fall and winter harvest. More at: How to Grow Broccoli
Brussels sprouts. Complete setting out transplants of Brussels sprouts. Sprouts are best grown for fall and winter harvest. In cold-winter regions, pinch out the growing tip in early fall to complete harvest before freezing weather. Try the varieties ‘Jade Cross Hybrid’ (95 days) and ‘Long Island Improved’ (90 days). More at: How to Grow Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage. Sow cabbage in summer for fall and winter harvest. Sow in late summer for spring harvest–next year. It’s best to sow cabbage in trays or pots and then transplant into the garden once plants have developed four sets of leaves. Keep seedlings evenly watered in dry weather. For fall and winter harvest, try the variety ‘January King’ or ‘Danish Ballhead.’ Winter cabbages are frost-hardy and slow to bolt. More at: How to Grow Cabbage
Cabbage family. Cabbage family plants can be sown or set out in shallow trenches during warm and hot months. This will ensure that they get the benefit from watering.
Tomato. Pinch out the side shoots which grow from the axils of vining or indeterminate tomato plants. “Pinching” refers to removing the growing tip–usually about a half-inch of growth. This will make for less unwieldy plants. Pinch regularly through the growing season. Do not pinch out the side shoots on bush varieties. For bush tomatoes or tomatoes growing without cages place straw or peat on the ground beneath the plant to keep the fruits off the soil. More at: How to Grow Tomatoes
Peas. Peas are usually ready for harvest about three months after sowing. If the weather will be cooling about 70 or so days from now, sow round-seeded peas now. In mild-winter regions, peas can be sown until late fall. More at: How to Harvest and Store Peas
Beets. Sow globe beets to mature in October. Beets are best eaten young when they are the sweetest and tastiest. Dig in rich well-aged compost or manure before sowing. More at: How to Grow Beets
Watering. Water shallow-rooted crops regularly; do not let the soil dry out around seedlings and celery, kale, lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard. More at: Watering Vegetables: Critical Watering Times
Onions and shallots. When onion and shallot bulbs are ripe, the tops will begin to yellow and fall over. After three-quarters of the crop has fallen over, break the tops still standing with a rake. Lift the bulbs with a garden fork and spread the bulbs until the tops are crisp in two to four days. Store onions in a mesh bag in a cool location. Store shallots in a cardboard box or paper bag in a dry cool place. More at: How to Harvest and Store Onions
Radishes. Sow large winter-maturing radishes. Cover seeds in inch deep drills 12 inches apart; thin seedlings to 6 inches apart. Varieties to try include: ‘White Chinese,’ and ‘Long Black Spanish.” These radishes have a strong flavor and can be looked like turnips, sliced and fried, or used raw in salads. More at: How to Grow Radishes
Herbs. Make further sowings of chervil, dill, and parsley in open ground. Visit the Herb Category to browse 50 articles about growing herbs.
Tips for Very Warm to Hot Summer Southern Regions
Very warm to hot summer regions have day-time average temperatures of greater than 70 degrees F/ 21 degrees C.
Planting. In very warm to hot summer regions–in the South, Southwest, and Southern California–continue sowing and planting warm-weather crops this month. Fill in spots where summer crops have been harvested with new planting of summer crops. You have plenty of time for a second harvest.
Herbs. Plant basil, chervil, chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme. Start dill and cilantro from seed. Take cuttings if you want to propagate herbs. Browse 50 Herb Profiles here
Strawberries. Let strawberry runners set down roots. Allow plants to flower and set fruit. Keep the soil evenly moist, particularly in hot, dry weather. Strawberries do best in a well-drained bed. See all Strawberry articles here.
Feeding. Side dress vegetable rows or individual plants with aged compost and additional fertilizer as needed. Water plants every two weeks with compost or manure tea. Feed avocado and citrus trees if not done last month. More at: Fertilizer Side-Dressing Vegetable Crops
Watering. Continue to water vegetables regularly; don’t let the soil beneath tomatoes or cucumber dry out. Deep watering will encourage roots to grow deep. More at: Watering Vegetables in Hot and Dry Weather
Weeds. Keep an eye on weed growth this time of year. Vegetables do not tolerate competition from weeds. Control weeds by light cultivating, mulching, and hand pulling. More at: Vegetable Garden Weed Control
Pests and diseases. Inspect plants on a regular basis for pests and diseases. Handpick larger pests such as caterpillars and tomato hornworms. One of the best preventive measures is to keep the garden clean. Don’t let weeds get more than two weeks old. Clean up leaves and fruit that drop. Remove spent plants right away. Visit Pest and Disease Category for 60 articles on specific crop pests and diseases.
Mulch. Spread mulch to cool the ground and conserve moisture. More at: Mulch: Hot Weather Protections