Gardening Tales

Mid-Summer Gardening Practices

July 12, 2017
It has been an unusually rainy June and beginning of July here at my home in North Texas. With the rain also came a different set of challenges for a Texas gardener. Normally this time of the year we deal with intense heat and drought like conditions which typically does the garden in, but this year the rain did a number on the plants. Plants can truly receive too much water and with our native clay soil the water tends to sit there, causing roots to have soggy bottoms and I will tell you there aren't many plants that like that!
Powdery Mildew has set in too and strangely enough sunflowers need sun...wink...
So my glorious crop of sunflowers has dwindled down to just a few spindly rows.

In this post I am also sharing an update and new information on the dreaded squash bore. 
I touched on the squash bore, an imperfect garden and oh many other things too in a recent blog post so if you have time you might enjoy a little lighthearted inspiration right here.
It is all out war at Jemma's on those dreaded bores.
I am sharing some pretty universal gardening practices today to keep your crops healthy as well as upcoming plants to consider adding to your garden as Summer blends into Fall.
I know some of you all don't have Fall gardens, but when in Rome...
I thought I would report in to you all on the outcome of one of my squash plants. 
It isn't pretty, so you may want to look away, seriously how can a bug and it's babies do this to a perfectly beautiful squash plant???
My one yellow squash plant did "heal," itself and was actually growing quite well again, but I was just so aggravated with the situation and the thoughts of those icky pests that had lived in the vine that I pulled it up!
I honestly felt much better too!
gardening-remedies- sprays-squash-bores-bugs-insects-gardening-Jemma

I am just as excited as I can be that I have planted a generous amount of pumpkin and gourd seeds in anticipation of Fall festivities, neighborhood children and hopefully I'll get a grandchild or two out here to pick some too!
I love Fall, pumpkins, Holiday crafts and baking!
So these squash bores are not going to be attacking these plants if I can help it.(Live and Learn)

Mid-Summer Gardening Practices: Squash Bores

  •  Cover the squash with netting so bores cannot attack( you will have to self pollinate.)
  •  Powdered BT Microbial Pesticide.
  •  If you aren't using organic products use Sevin Dust.
  •  I have just ordered Spinosad, I have heard great things about this earth friendly product.
  •  Do not plant squash in the same place every year, soil has dormant larvae, cultivate the soil.
  •  Try a different species of squash (this was yellow squash.)
  •  Dig up the squash vine and toss it away.


On a happier note the garden is filled with bumble bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
I think another good mid-Summer gardening practice, at least for me is to get rid of ailing plants.

Mid-Summer Gardening Practice Two: Garden Maintenance

  • Remove ailing plants from garden.
  • Mulch as needed for water retention, about two-inches is the rule of thumb.
  • Keep garden weed free, weed when the soil is moist and the weeds are small.
  • Summer time heat may be setting in, so water those plants an average of one inch of water a week. Depending on soil composition.


Mid-Summer Gardening Practice Three: Think Fall

  • Begin planning a Fall garden.
  • Texas gardeners it is time to plant pumpkins and gourds.
  • (90-100 days from planting to harvest)
  • Keep cutting zinnias for continued blooms.
  • Wondering when to plant a Fall garden...plan backwards according to your first freeze.


You know I am always learning new things about life from my garden, do you feel like you do too?
Well, I saw this quote the other day on Pinterest  and I thought wow, this is a real truth.
So I will sign off today and leave you this.
                "Be patient with yourself, nothing in your garden blooms all year."

Jemma's Mid-Summer Gardening Tips

So while you tend to your garden, tend to yourself and be ever so gentle!
See you back on Friday with a fun project that Amanda and I made in Puerto Rico....yes it does involve Modge Podge, but I promise I will give this glorious glue a rest after this one!

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  1. Wonderful ideas. Our soil is quite clay also. We have been battling the mildew problem also. The soda and dishwash detergent work pretty well. Our frost usually comes mid October. I have not planted any pumpkins but may get some seeds and try. I had gourds last year and I understand what you mean about those bugs! Great post!

    1. Good Morning Lynn!
      Thanks for you input on the soda, dishwasher detergent for battling powdery mildew. I wasn't able to get any of it on my zinnias as we had so much rain. I just purchased some Neem Oil, so I will let you know how it works on powdery mildew too. The will be my first time to grow gourds, so I am looking forward to that too!

  2. Oh I hear ya my friend. I gave up on having a basil plant in pots outside. I tried one inside, and failed at that too! We've been wetter than normal for the last two years and you are SO RIGHT about watching and adjusting. I've learned to deadhead my Plumbago plant, fertilize once a week, as well as the other flowers. My roses are doing well, but I have to really watch. Gardening is again such a metaphor for life both in the physical world and in the spiritual!

    1. Good Morning Dearest Anita!
      Your gardens are the gardens of my dreams. But they would never thrive in our challenging Texas weather. We just don't have true seasons, so we run into all sort of bugs, fungus and such.
      Yes, we live and learn in our gardens on all levels!

    2. Your challenging Texas weather has an upside. You're learning SO much and sharing your knowledge and experiences with the rest of us.

      I learned something today. I never would have guessed Texas has clay soil. I always thought dry climates tend to have sandy soil. I suppose in a climate that typically receives little rain clay soil is a blessing, but when it rains a lot, well, you now know the disadvantages,


    3. Doreen,
      Great point, I am learning so much and I suppose it is that way with everything we have to totally immerse ourselves in it in order to truly gain knowledge. Working in my garden has certainly been a study! Some days I come out of there with ant bites, chiggers and a sunburn!
      Thanks for your visit:)

  3. Greats words of wisdom dear friend on gardening. I have been shocked as this has been the only summer in several years that we have not fought with pests in our little veggie garden. Just shocked too be honest. I did take advice from a friend this summer and I planted marigolds around my garden as I heard that would help keep critters at bay. Not sure if that is the real reason my little garden done me well this summer but hey, it worked for me! Marigolds from now on will go in my garden. My cukes seemed to be the only thing that did not do well. I am getting ready to plant some sunflowers too. I love them. Last year I had some that reached 7 1/2 feet. Enjoyed this post today dear Jemma. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    1. Good Morning Dearest Cindy,
      Thank you for sharing some of your gardening practices with us, the more we all share about our gardening experiences the more successful we will be. I am going to write down these tips that you are all sharing and do a post on them. Love that your garden has been happy this year and that sunflowers are on the horizon!

  4. Good tips, Jemma. SOrry about your squash. My biggest pest in the garden continues to be rabbits. They're eating mandevilla leaves, one by one, for the first time in 14 years of planting the annual. I hope they like cayenne pepper on their leaves. ;)

    1. Rita,
      You made me chuckle...the rabbits have been crazy here too! A bumper crop of them. They took out 3 hibiscus of mine! Naughty bunnies!

  5. We have had so much rain! And yes, it is really taking a toll on many of the things we have planted. However, our herbs are in heaven.

    1. I am glad to hear that! My lemon basil is happy, the Thyme not so much:(
      I am pushing through to Fall!

  6. Girl, you sound like a serious gardener now! I have no doubt that someone who puts in the time that you do both researching and applying what you learn will have a better garden season after season. Meanwhile, I really think that you are building character as a gardener.

    And yes, I love that quote at the end.

    1. Dewena!
      Thank you for this vote of confidence, kindness and encouragement! Your uplifting words mean so much to me and I appreciate you:)

  7. Hi Jemma,
    I am amazed at the beautiful gardening you have achieved in Texas. With having lots of rain and also the heat it is so hard on plants but great breeding ground for bad bugs in the garden. Love all your tips. Have a good summer day.

    1. Thanks Dear Kris,
      I understand now why Texas was part of the dust bowl and Tornado alley. Just living here can be a challenge at times, let alone growing! I will always have zinnias and sunflowers from here on out, they are such durable little blooms.

  8. Great tips Jemma - I've been in the garden since 6 am trying to beat the heat with just a few breaks in between but I think I'm done for now until this evening approaches. Tat squash so frustrating!! My zuchinni looked very similar and then I cut off the bad stuff and an area of new green is growing, so we shall see what transpires. I plant in a new spot every year too and the same thing happens so I'm beginning to think I just need to plant them in July and enjoy in the fall and forget spring.. We'll see maybe next year. Also decided I'm liking the idea of a smaller garden more and more. Your space looks wonderful and speaks volumes for the hours you put into it. Kudos!!


    1. Beating the heat is the only way to go! I pushed it today as I became side-tracked with cutting my zinnias. Gotta keep em' blooming!
      Definitely challenging when you have a big garden, sort of like farming.

  9. Hi Jemma,
    Sorry to hear about your garden woes....your garden always looks so beautiful to me and puts my gardening ability to shame. We have our share of nasty garden pests here as well. Only a few of my lilies actually make it to bloom...I don't spray because of my dog....but perhaps should try something earth/pet friendly. I am sure your pumpkin patch will yield a healthy for me, i grow fabric pumpkins and without pesky insects!! LOL! Some great gardening tips here....have a wonderful day! xo

    1. I love your pumpkin patch and I am proud to say I am the proud recipient of some of them! Maybe we can do an etsy shopping week in October this year!

  10. Oh, your pumpkins sound wonderful! Fall is my favorite season, and I am already looking forward to it, too. :) Have a great day, sweet friend!

    1. Fall is my favorite season too! I have such happy memories:)

  11. I love reading gardening posts lately. For years, I haven't had the time to get out there and tend and when I do, I have had disastrous results. I am generally not a good plant momma. However, this season, I have really been enjoying watering and deadheading my flowers, and on occasion, talking to them...they're very good listeners. ;)

    1. Gardens are the best listeners and sometimes all of the worlds problems are solved when I am digging in the dirt and planting!

  12. Being up north I haven't even thought about fall garden, but I did plant my pumpkin seeds in June before I went north. I didn't do many -- they spread. I have an imaginary picture of putting a little box by my curb and saying "Help yourself!" But we'll see. Thanks for the very good tips. No squash here but I'll remember this for future years.

  13. some really great tips. thanks for sharing

  14. I have never had that issue with squash, thank God! I am dealing with some green caterpillar things that are eating all my cabbage....and Japanese beetles that are eating my roses. Oh, and a bazillion gnats that get into my hair the second I step outside for a second! Ewwwww!!

  15. Jemma, your garden looks pretty good considering all the rain you have had. So sorry those pesky bugs got to your squash plants. That sunflower is so pretty. I look forward to seeing your Fall pumpkins. I just bought a blue velvet pumpkin, and knowing it's early, I couldn't resist. : )

    love, ~Sheri

  16. A lot of my potted flowers are looking pretty darn sad right now after the deluge of rain we just had. Tomorrow is finally supposed to be cool and dry, so I can get back outside and start emptying water out of pots and saucers, deadheading, etc. The only veggies I'm growing this year are tomatoes - which have just started ripening - and KY Pole Beans, which are just now flowering.

    1. Oops, sorry...hit enter too soon! Was going to say that I'm amazed at your huge garden. Do you tend to this all by yourself?

  17. Saving these tips, thank you for sharing! I just bought a new home so I don't think there will be much time to do a lot with the garden this year, but I feel like I'll be well-prepared for the spring.


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