In The Late July Garden
Mostly it is about GARLIC!
It is time to harvest garlic, for most gardeners in our region. Your garlic is ready to harvest once the bottom leaves are brown, with 4 to 5 green leaves remaining at the top. Harvest in the early morning or early evening. Garlic is very tender upon removal from the ground and will easily sun burn.
If you intend to store your garlic over winter then it is important to properly cure the bulbs. Bundle plants in groups of five to ten plants and hang out of direct sunlight and where there is good air circulation. To fully cure your garlic, leave it hanging for 3 to 4 weeks. Make sure the outer wrappers of the garlic are dry and papery, the neck should be dry 1/2 inch about the bulb. If you are entering garlic in Ravalli County Fair then cut your roots to 1/2 inch and the neck should be 2 inches long. Once cured, store your garlic in netted bags in a cool, dry and dark location. 45 - 55 F is ideal for long term storage.
Do not forget to set aside garlic for replanting come October.
Once you have harvested your garlic then you can sow with lettuce and other greens, radish, or cover crop your bed with a soil building mix of winter rye and Austrian winter peas. You will turn this cover crop under next spring for the best soil building properties.
Remember to harvest regularly from bean plants, cucumbers and zucchini to encourage more productivity. Water all plants deeply in order to minimize drought stress and ensure for the greatest yields.
The dry weather has limited disease problems, it has helped to diminish aphid populations but we are seeing grasshoppers move out of dry grasses and into our gardens. It is too late for semaspore to be effective and other hard chemicals will harm birds, aquatic invertebrates, bees and other beneficial insects. Mowing a barrier around your garden spaces is the least toxic method of addressing grasshoppers at this point of the season.
If you are have questions or are interested in saving seed from your garden, then send an email.