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HOME (Indoor plants and activities)
Watch closely houseplants that have been set outdoors. They need more water than they did indoors. They can dry out rapidly in hot, summer breezes.
Propagate houseplants by taking cuttings from vigorously growing plants. Place cut end in rooting media, such as perlite, vermiculite or peat moss soil mix. Enclose in plastic, and keep out of direct sunlight.
YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals and fruits)
Keep newly established plants watered during dry weather. Allow water to penetrate deeply into soil rather than sprinkling frequently and lightly.
Apply mulch around young plants to help conserve soil moisture and control weeds.
Do not plant bare-root or ball-and-burlap stock at this time of year. Container-grown plants still may be planted, but only if you can keep them well watered.
Continue a fruit tree spray program to keep diseases and insects under control.
Remove water sprouts (sprouts from the trunk) and suckers (sprouts from the roots) from fruit trees.
For those fortunate growers who have a good crop this year, prop up fruit tree branches that are heavily loaded with fruit.
Pinch off faded rose blossoms. Continue rose spray program to control insects and diseases.
Many Indiana trees are plagued by "lawn-mower blight." Be careful to avoid nicking tree trunks while mowing.
When watering lawns, apply 1 to 1.5 inches of water in a single application per week. Frequent, light sprinklings will encourage roots to stay shallow, making them more susceptible to drought.
Bluegrass is a cool-season plant and is under great stress during hot, dry summers. If water is not applied, the bluegrass will become dormant and will turn brown, until more favorable conditions arrive in autumn. For extreme dry conditions, rescue watering is required to keep the plants alive, while still dormant. Apply one-half inch of water every 2-4 weeks.
Mow grass one-half inch higher than usual during the dry, summer months to help conserve soil moisture. Do not mow when lawn is under severe drought stress.
Don't remove clippings from the lawn unless grass is excessively tall or weedy. Clippings return some nutrients to the soil and do not add to thatch buildup.
GARDEN (Flowers, vegetables and small fruits)
Supplement natural rainfall, if any, to supply 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week in a single application.
Start seeds of broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts to transplant later for a fall harvest. Harvest crops such as tomatoes, squash, okra, peppers, beans and cucumbers frequently to encourage further production.
Complete succession planting of bush beans and sweet corn.
Harvest summer squash while small and tender for best quality.
Standard sweet corn is at its peak for only a day or so. The supersweet corn maintains its peak quality for a longer period. Harvest when silks begin to dry and kernels exude a milky, rather than watery or doughy, juice when punctured.
Broccoli will form edible side shoots after the main head is removed.
Mulch garden to control weeds and conserve soil moisture.
Make sure potato tubers, carrot shoulders and onion bulbs are covered with soil to prevent development of green color and off flavors. Applying a layer of mulch will help keep them covered.
Allow blossoms on newly planted everbearing strawberry plants to develop for a fall crop.
July is a good time to fertilize strawberries with .5 pound of actual nitrogen per 100 feet of row.
Harvest raspberries when fully colored and easily separated from stem. After harvest is complete, prune out the fruiting canes to make room for new growth.
Remove faded blossoms from annual and perennial flowers to prevent seed formation.
Condition flowers cut from the garden for arranging by removing lower leaves, placing cut stem ends in warm water and storing overnight in a cool location.
The foliage of spring-flowering bulbs can be removed safely after it fades. This also is a good time to lift the bulbs for transplanting or propagation.