It’s July, and you haven’t had time to plant your garden yet? Scott Swartzendruber of Fort Collins Nursery hasn’t planted yet either. He’s been too busy at his job.
“It happens every year,” he said. “I always plant late.”
While he doesn’t advocate late planting, Swartzendruber says it’s quite doable. Gardeners can plant anything that they might have intended to plant in the spring, but will need to make adjustments to accommodate hotter, drier weather. Young plants need to be kept moist and watering is best done early in the day. Seeds have a harder time germinating in hot weather and need additional water, especially before they appear above ground. He waters every other day and tries to finish by 8 a.m.
He warns that late planting may result in slightly different outcomes. Vegetables will have a shorter time to mature which may result in a less prolific crop.
Tom Haynie of Creekside Garden Center says that 50 years ago when most deciduous plants were sold bare root, it was true that they could only be planted in the spring while they remained dormant. But times have changed. The trees, bushes and plants at Creekside are now sold alive and growing, either in containers or balled and burlapped, and can be planted any time the ground can be worked. He warns about the importance of supplying new plants with plenty of water during hot weather.
“July is too late to plant most seeds,” he said. He reminds gardeners that cool weather crops such as spinach can be planted in August or early September and will produce a fall crop. Swiss chard, arugula, bok choy, mustard greens and lettuce can also be planted late and mature quickly enough to realize a crop in the fall.