July 1 Average temps: high 88º, low 64º. 8% chance of precipitation.
Sunrise 5:58 am, sunset 8:52 pm.
July 2 NEW MOON 1:16 pm. Want to try planting by the moon? Check out this day-by-day guide! Today in the garden is a time to rest, meditate and celebrate. But plant your late crop of above-ground veggies before July 16.
July 3 Bug zappers are useless against mosquitoes. The devices attract and kill beneficial or harmless insects, like moths, and have no effect on the overall mosquito population. Bats and purple martins, once thought to be big mosquito eaters, are equally ineffective. What does work: gambusia fish in a pond; dragonflies; and mosquito traps (the Mega-Catch brand was used successfully in a large study). As for repellents: Recently the NIH reported that lemon-eucalyptus oil could be as effective as DEET. Wear light-colored clothing and avoid scents.
July 4 Caesar Cardini improvised his famous namesake salad in Tijuana, Mexico 95 years ago today, according to culinary legend. The standard (though not original) recipe calls for a raw egg and anchovies. Only one in 20,000 eggs may carry salmonella (not a fatal affliction if you’re not already ill). Assure safety by pasteurizing: Submerge eggs into 140º water. Remove after three minutes. Cool before using. They keep in fridge 6-8 weeks.
July 5 American crows live in cooperative breeding family groups in which older offspring help their parents raise new broods. When new chicks hatch, family members bring the mother food and admire the babies.
July 6 Ruby, July’s birthstone, was long believed to assure good health, fortune, safety and success in battle. Though for ancient Burmese warriors, simply wearing one was not enough; the gem had to be inserted into the flesh.
July 7 If you didn’t buy your Asclepias plant—milkweed, also called butterfly weed—at last month’s Bee Fest, you can still probably find them at most Utah garden centers. Asclepias is the first food of monarch caterpillars.
July 8 There’s still time to plant beans (and beets, carrots, chard, Chinese cabbage, collards, cukes, kale and radishes).
July 9 Most French lavenders are not cold hardy in Utah. English overwinters well. Latifolia has long stems. The dark lavender is called Grosso.
July 10 Utah’s Midsummer Renaissance Faire starts today, running through July 13. In Cedar City, of course. Catch a Shakespeare play while you’re at it. http://www.umrf.net/
July 11 About a third of landfill space is taken up with yard and kitchen waste. Start (or take care of) a compost pile: www.compostguide.com
July 12 Unsure about your garden soil? Start with a soil test. A basic soil test from the Utah State University analytical lab, $25, can make a difference in your gardening outcomes. usual.usu.edu/
July 13 Head up the canyons this weekend (Big Cottonwood) and next (Little Cottonwood) for the Wasatch Wildflower Festival. Cinquefoil, lupine, phlox, flax, monkeyflowers, paintbrush, penstemon and many more are at peak gorgeousness. Guides and maps available. Bring a hat, binoculars and field guide, if you have them.
July 14 Ice cream headaches (aka brain freeze) are unpleasant but not dangerous. They happen when the roof of the mouth is suddenly made cold. Remedy: Warm the palate with your tongue or drink something warm.
July 15 “A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule.” — Michael Pollan
July 16 FULL BUCK MOON: 3:38pm. Mule deer bucks are beginning to grow new antlers. A mule deer can smell a human up to half a mile away and detect water two feet below ground.
July 17 In feng shui, windows are the eyes of the house, and cleaning them will make one see more clearly. Use 50/50 white vinegar and hot water. To avoid streaks, choose a time when there’s no direct sunlight on the window.
July 18 Skill-share: Teach someone (or learn how) to build a campfire, skip a stone, throw a ball or frisbee, catch a fish, plant a tree.
July 19 Each foot has about 250,000 sweat glands. Sweat has no odor, but it’s a nutrition source for body bacteria. In part it’s the bacteria’s excrement that smells.
July 20 Have a yard sale! Visit other people’s yard sales in the weeks before yours, to get a feel for pricing in your neighborhood. Pick a date. Gather your goods—declutter your house. Create an ad for KSL.com and Craigslist. Make your signs. Get supplies: tables for display, change, stickers for prices. Sort, price, organize and arrange your items. Situate your chair in a shady spot. Greet everyone. Enjoy the day!
July 21 Because of an enlarged hippocampus, a hummingbird has great spacial memory which it uses to keep track of good nectar-producing flowers.
July 22 “Some of the best memories are made in flip flops.” — Kellie Elmore.
July 23 Dragonfly or damselfly? At rest, dragonflies hold their wings horizontally; damselflies vertically.
July 24 On this date in 2001, Denver’s 10th Circuit Court declared Utah’s liquor laws unconstitutional. Beer signs were finally allowed in bar windows (instead of just “Cold Ones”). Restaurant servers could ask, for the first time, “Would you like to see a drink menu?” and bottles came out from hiding for all to see. CATALYST (along with Junior’s Tavern) was a plaintiff in that case.
July 25 Mormon crickets, a type of katydid, swarm in drought years and go on the march in search of protein and salt. Favored foods include carrion, flowers and seed pods, mammal feces, soil soaked in cattle urine and each other.
July 26 Feed potted veggies and ornamentals with liquid fertilizer every two weeks, as frequent watering leaches out needed nutrients. A good local product: Turboganic My Garden (available at the Downtown Farmers Market).
July 27 Before cooking, give fresh broccoli a quick salt water bath to coax out the perfectly disguised (and not so tasty) cabbage worms. Italian immigrants first brought broccoli to the Americas in the early 1800s. Broccoli has antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer properties.
July 28 Start planting fall crops of broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, spinach and peas now.
July 29 Cover crops, such as oats and clover, planted now beneath and between veggies, will retain moisture, staunch weeds and feed the soil, and can be left in place until next spring. Find them at Mountain Valley Seed Co.
July 30 Time to start planting fall crops of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, greens and peas.
July 31 Black Moon (second New Moon in single calendar month): 9:11 pm. Average temps: high 91º; low: 68º. Sunrise: 5:23 am. Sunset: 8:44 pm.