Keep an eye on soil moisture and your vegetable garden. Don't let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely; that can encourage blossom-end rot. How much water do tomatoes need? Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week and a little more if they look droopy. If your tomato plants are on a drip-irrigation system, figure a gallon per mature (and bearing) plant per day. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce chances of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.
- Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more. Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather; keep an eye on the zucchini.
- If your melons and squash aren't setting fruit, give the bees a hand. With a small, soft paintbrush, gather some pollen from male flowers, then brush it inside the female flowers, which have a tiny swelling at the base of their petals (that's the embryo melon or squash). Within days, that little swelling should start growing.
- It's not too late to get a few more veggies in the ground. Plant seeds for corn, lima beans, okra, parsnips, pumpkin, summer and winter squash, and watermelon. Remember: Those seedlings will need extra attention and moisture to make it through July's heat. Don't let them totally dry out.
- Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.