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July gardening tasks

Cleomes -- spider flowers -- color the summer

Cleomes -- spider flowers -- color the summer garden Credit: Newsday/ Ana P. Gutierrez

Watering and weeding are the buzzwords for July, but beyond that, there's plenty more to do. Squeeze these tasks in between summer barbecues, fireworks gazing and lazing on the beach.

1. For bigger pumpkins, pick off all but one flower from each plant and fertilize weekly.

2. Water the lawn only in the morning to avoid disease. Set timers accordingly.

3. Got green beans? Pick them daily to keep them coming.

4. Happy Fourth of July! Fertilize the grass, but only if necessary.

5. Fertilize tomatoes, eggplants and peppers as soon as fruit sets.

6. For bigger tomatoes, remove small stems growing between branch crotches, then join the Great Long Island Tomato Challenge at

7. Add one bunch of eelgrass per square foot of surface water to control algae in ponds.

8. To help prevent powdery mildew, thin crowded plants, water only in the morning and aim water at the root zone, not leaves.

9. Water and turn the compost pile.

10. It's LI Bloom Day! Upload photos of your garden at

11. If you planted trees in spring, provide 1 1/2 inches of water per week if the rain doesn't.

12. Join me for my monthly live gardening chat today at noon at Bring your questions.

13. Want free plants? Trim vining houseplants, dip the cut ends in rooting hormone and plant in a 50/50 peat/vermiculite mix to root.

14. For best flavor, harvest herbs in the morning, just after the dew has dried.

15. Last call for shearing hedges this year.

16. Pick flowers in the morning and they'll last longer in a vase, but grab them late in the day if you plan to dry them.

17. Deadhead perennials and summer-blooming shrubs.

18. Cut chrysanthemums back by a third for a bushier habit and more flowers come fall.

19. Give flowering perennials a dose of 5-10-5 fertilizer for increased blooming.

20. Pick melons when their skin turns yellow and stems loosen their hold on them.

21. Pick zucchini when fruit is 5-6 inches long. If you don't, the plant will stop producing.

22. Give creeping phlox, sweet alyssum and candytuft a good sheering for fuller plants and more flowers next year.

23. Check potted annuals and vegetables daily to assess water needs.

24. Divide bearded iris.

25. Deadhead grandiflora roses and hybrid teas.

26. Spray leaves of trees growing near the shore with an anti-dessicant to protect from salt and wind damage.

27. Handpick tomato hornworms.

28. Weed and water. Weed and water. Say it with me, now.

29. To protect against vine borers, mound soil up around the bottom of squash and cucumber stems.

30. You still can plant shrubs and trees.

31. If annuals look ghastly, don't rip them out. Try cutting them down and see what happens. You have nothing to lose and you might be pleasantly surprised.

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