Summer Vegetable Planting - Mid July


Mid July is a good time to plant corn, lima beans and cucumbers in order to harvest before the first frost.
When starting crops mid-summer choose varieties with shorter growing cycles.

Corn Plants in general require full sun, a deep bed of rich well-drained soil, and copious amounts of water during peak summer months to fully mature.  Garden area is an important factor since plants only produce one or two ears per stalk. Great early varieties of corn to try are Seneca Snowshoe or Buttergold.

Generally two weeks from the time corn silk appears is when sweet corn is ripe and ready for picking.  You can tell when corn is ready for harvest by looking at the silks.  The silks should be brown and dry with a little fresh green at the base.  Squeeze to see if the corn feels plump, if it does peel back a little of the husk and poke your fingernail in to a kernel.  If it's perfectly ripe the sap will look like skim milk.   If possible harvest corn in the morning when the ears are cool and refrigerate as soon as possible to preserve the corns sweetness.

Lima Beans in general grow best in well-drained silty loam soils. Plant about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep into the warm soil. Space your rows about 2 feet apart, space the seeds 2 to 4 inches apart. After planting lima beans, watch for signs of germination because you will want to thin the plants to about 4 to 6 inches apart. Lima Beans need about 1 inch of water each week.  They are very sensitive to excess water which will injure bean plants and encourage disease.   Great early varieties of limas to try are Forkhook 242 and Henderson's Bush (baby lima)

Harvest lima beans when the pods bulge and you can feel the beans. Pick with two hands as stems are fragile Split open pods much like peas to remove beans.

Cucumbers in general require a bit of space, as they won’t flourish if they’re too tightly packed together. Seeds should be planted 1/2 to 1 inch deep, 6 inches apart, with at least 4 to 6 inches between rows.  Plant your cucumbers where they’ll get plenty of direct sun. Cucumbers grow well in moist soil, and they will grow faster if the ground is kept well watered.  Great early varieties of cucumbers to try are Bush Pickle, Northern Pickling and Straight Nine.

Growing cucumbers requires you to pay close attention to your plants once they start fruiting, as they will ripen very quickly and need to be picked.  You can pick cucumbers whenever they are big enough to use.  Vines produce more fruit the more you harvest.  To remove the fruit, use a knife or clippers, cutting the stem above the fruit.  Pulling may damage the brittle vines.  Don't let cucumbers get oversized or they will be bitter and will also keep the vine from producing more.  Yellowing at the bottom end of the cucumber is a sign of overripe.  Always remove overripe fruit never leave it on the vine because its too far gone.  You can keep harvested cucumbers in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.

Always follow the directions on seed packets or plant tags for your specific plant variety.