Summer Vegetable Planting - Late July
Mid to late July is a good time to plant beans and zucchini in order to harvest before the first frost.
When starting crops mid-summer choose varieties with shorter growing cycles.
Beans prefer a light, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Prepare the soil before sowing, by digging to a depth of 6 to 8 inches and incorporating organic matter, such as compost or dried manure. Sow beans 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep. Beans, like other plants, require at least 1 inch of water weekly. Beans do not need extra fertilization as long as you enriched the soil before planting.
You may pick snap beans any time before the seeds inside the pod begin to get large. Serve baby snap beans, or wait until they reach full size for a more bountiful harvest. Use both hands to pick beans as the stems are brittle and easy to break. Hold the stem in one hand and pick with the other. Keep beans producing longer by picking every other day when the beans begin bearing . Healthy bush bean plants will often re-bloom and produce a second and third flush of beans when plants are healthy. Varieties to try are Improved Tendergreen, Indy Gold & Kentucky Blue.
Zucchini prefer well-drained, fertile, loose soil and should be planted in a mound. You should prepare your soil so that it is approximately two feet in diameter. You can add compost or well-rotted manure to the soil prior to building up the mound. Have at least three feet between each mound. Plant zucchini seeds in an area that gets plenty of sunlight. Plant the seeds fairly deep. Put them about three inches deep in the ground. Plant no more than four or five zucchini plants per mound. Space the plants six inches apart. Keep plants watered consistently, and make sure they aren't over flooded at an early age. Zucchinis are fast growers. You should pick them when they are about six inches long. If you pick zucchini when it is much larger, it can be tough. You can always leave two or three zucchinis to grow - just to see how large they will grow. However, you are advised to pick the small ones to eat. Varieties to try are Black Beauty & Early Prolific Straightneck.
Always follow the directions on seed packets or plant tags for your specific plant variety.