What to Plant in Your Garden in July & Garden Sales


July is my favorite gardening month because you can plant things you didn’t get a chance to plant early in the spring and the sales at garden centers begin. 

If this was the year that you had planned to grow some of your own food but you didn’t get around to doing it you’ve got a second chance to grow some vegetables. In July and August you can direct sow seeds like lettuce, spinach, broccoli, kale cabbage,leeks, carrots, turnips, pakchoi and beans for fall season vegetable crops. In small spaces try something like the Green Box and the EarthBox or shop for cheap containers, or make your own raised beds.

You can plant even plant annuals that by now may not look so great. Right now I’m sowing direct-sowing seeds like sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias. Don’t forget to deadhead spent blooms in your garden now to get a second set of blooms at the end of the growing season.

I’ve noticed that many garden centers are having great sales right now. Take advantage of the deep discounts on perennials that have already flowered and are marked to move. At Home Depot I spotted shrubs starting at 25% off and trees marked 50% off. A couple of weeks ago Sprout Home had vegetable plants at 50% off, today I spotted the seeds at Menard’s at 40% off. Buy seeds for perennials, they are sometimes cheaper grown from seed than full-grown plants. Keep newly planted garden plants well watered. Make a garden plan before planting and take into consideration that fall garden bulbs will soon hit the garden centers so leave room for them. Tools for the garden and containers are also starting to go on clearance buy what you’ll need next spring now.

Today I went to the Swap O Rama at 4100 S. Ashland looking for garden junk. Didn’t find anything to use in the garden, but I noticed how many garden plants were for sale and cheaper than the plants still regularly priced at some garden centers around Chicago.

garden trees shrubs and perennials for sale at flea market.png

vendor selling trees, shrubs, perennials at Swap O Rama flea market

 You can even find some reasonably priced containers like these terracotta pots that they wanted $9.00 for. Later in the day I stopped at a big box garden center and saw the same sized pots for $25.00.

Cheap Garden pots for sale at Chicago flea market.png

From the same vendor I bought plastic pots twice the size of that large terracotta pot for 7.00. If you’re not against using plastic garden pots I’ve spotted large planters and window boxes for sale at local dollar stores too. 

Check the local listings in the Farm & Garden section of CraigsList and Freecycle for more deals. If it is something you can use or plant in your garden it doesn’t matter where you get it, as long as you don’t pay full price in July.


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  • Right on time, I lost a zucchini plant to the storm this past weekend so I have a pot available. I was wondering if I could plant a miniature rose this time of year?

  • Hi OM,

    Yeah, you could plant a mini rose this time of year. Just keep it well watered and deadhead any rose hips so energy is used on establishing itself in the garden.

  • I love your column Mr. Brown Thumb. I agree about not paying full price for anything in July. I live WAY out in the country, so my nearest garden centers are MILES away, but I do my bargain shopping at Garden Harvest Supply. For those people who have to travel a long way, or do not have transportation, using online nurseries is a great way to be able to garden and still have everything that you need. Thanks for the forum.

  • In reply to avidgardener:

    Hi AvidGardener,
    Thanks for the comment.

  • In reply to avidgardener:

    I can plant sunflowers now? The other day I was just lamenting that I should have planted sunflowers... and lettuce too. Now I have a project for the day. Thanks for the post!

  • In reply to Arianika:


    Yup, you should be able to enjoy a few days of sunflowers before the first frost if you're lucky. I've got some seedlings going on now and some of the sunflowers are blooming before they even reach 4 feet high and these didn't bloom previously until they were 6 feet high.

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