June 2008
Featured Articles



PLANT


· Set out Bonnie tomato plants all month to keep those delicious fruits coming into the fall.

· Start another round of bush beans and summer squash.

· Sow more carrots and beets for a continuous harvest.

· Begin planting pumpkins at the first of the month through the first of July.

· In late June, sow seeds of corn and cabbage for an early fall harvest.

· Consider planting some ornamental grasses, like purple fountain grass or zebra grass. Many ornamental grasses are heat-lovers that can add a variety of color and texture to the landscape.

· There is still time to plant some of the colorful, heat-tolerant summer annuals. You can direct-seed zinnias and portulaca, and purchase periwinkle, salvia, marigold and purslane plants for transplanting. Be sure to water transplants adequately until roots become established.

· Sow seeds of perennials directly into the garden this month for next year’s bloom. Mark the spots carefully.

· Consider digging and dividing bearded iris and crowded spring bulbs (bulbs planted in the fall). Once bulbs have matured and the foliage has turned brown, it is time to spade them up and thin out the stand. Crowded bulbs produce fewer and smaller blooms. They usually need thinning every three to four years. Replant immediately in prepared soils.


FERTILIZE


· Sidedress asparagus with aged manure or a 10-10-10 fertilizer.

· To ensure a continuous supply of flowers, fertilize annuals regularly. Liquid products work well, but if you don’t have much time, try using a granular, timed-release one like Osmocote 14-14-14 or Scotts All Purpose Flower & Vegetable Food 10-10-10.

· Fertilize annuals in containers, baskets and window boxes with a quarter-strength balanced fertilizer every seven to 10 days. Always water the plants before adding liquid fertilizer.

· Fertilize roses with a second application of a liquid 20-20-20 after the first flush of flowers.

· Fertilize bulbs with a 9-9-6 slow-release fertilizer if you did not do so at planting time. Mark the spots with small stakes so repeat application of fertilizer can be made in fall (when bulbs are not visible).

· Fertilize container plants.


PRUNE


· Remove suckers from staked tomato plants.

· Pinch new top-growth of herbs to keep them from flowering. This intensifies the oils and flavor in the foliage. Snip or cut off sprigs of herbs to use in cooking all-season.

· Removing faded flowers from the plant before they set seed will keep them growing and producing more flowers.

· Cut back spent perennials to encourage new growth.

· Pinch back chrysanthemums until the end of July to make them bushier, then let them grow toward autumn bloom.

· Re-blooming salvias, like Salvia greggii and S. Farinacea, should be pruned back periodically during the summer. To make the job easier, use hedging shears and remove only the spent flowers and a few inches of stem below.

· Pinch off one inch of sticky new green growth on azaleas and rhododendrons to increase next year’s flowers.

· Continue to remove yellowing leaves of summer-flowering bulbs.

· Small evergreens like boxwood or yew can be lightly pruned to maintain formal character.

· Prune fruit trees to eliminate suckers and watersprouts.

· Shape the growth of pines by snapping out one-half to two-thirds of the new candle growth.

· Prune hedges so the bottom is wider than the top.

· When climbing roses finish blooming, prune them. Thin out the oldest wood, then trim the remaining canes back by about a third. Guide the canes to grow horizontally when possible. Be sure to use clean, sharp pruners.


WATER


· Water the entire landscape deeply each week if we haven’t had a good soaking rain. Most lawns need an inch of water every five to seven days.

· Irrigate early in the day to conserve water.

· Supplemental irrigation is essential for many ornamental plants like coleus, caladium, geranium, dahlia, azalea and camellia during the hot, dry summer days ahead.

· Water lawns, if necessary. Grass can go dormant for several weeks in intense heat and requires only one-half inch of water to keep crowns alive. Avoid watering midday or on windy days.

· Water trees according to their yard placement — i.e., are they watered by the irrigation system or not; are they in a hot, cool, windy or protected location.

· If watering roses from above, do so before noon so foliage has time to dry before nighttime to reduce risk of disease.

· Check the soil in potted plants regularly. Water them daily, or even twice daily, if they are drying out quickly in hot, dry weather.


PEST CONTROL


· If squash vine borer has been a problem in your garden, cover small transplants of squash, cucumbers and zucchini with row covers to prevent moths from laying eggs on vines. Remove row covers when plants begin to flower.

· Tomatoes supported with stakes or cages tend to have fewer foliar blights and produce cleaner fruits.

· Aphids are still a worry. Check roses, tomatoes, fruit trees, etc. for signs of aphids. Hose them off or spray with insecticidal soap. If your cherry or plum leaves are curling, chances are it’s aphids. Uncurl the leaves and look inside.

· Hot, dry weather can result in increased mite activity. Symptoms include stippling of foliage.

· If wasps are in a problematic location, knock down their nest at nighttime with a long pole.

· Keep up with weeding; pull or hoe the weeds before they mature and set seed.

· Never leave pesticides sitting unattended for even a few minutes.

· Bt will control cabbage worms.

· Continue to monitor for black spot on roses. Remove infected leaves immediately and apply a labeled fungicide every seven to ten days.

· You are not helpless against West Nile virus. Use mosquito repellents when you work outside. More importantly, gear your yard care to mosquito control: take away breeding habitats for mosquitoes. That means common-sense sanitation, plus yard care to eliminate areas where water would puddle.

· Lyme disease is spread by ticks, which, in turn, are spread by deer. Limit deer incursions and you’ll limit tick infestation. To achieve this, plant deer-resistant plants. If the deer don’t come to eat, there’s that much less chance of your being bitten by a tick. Planting deer-resistant plants also saves you money, lest your garden become deer-food.




ODD JOBS


· If you didn’t start a garden journal this spring, there’s still time. Make notes of plants needing replacement, overgrown plants to be removed, better arrangements for your landscape and activity areas your family needs. Keeping a small notebook of your observations - when seeds were planted, bloom times, rainfall amounts, flowers that worked well, etc. - throughout the year is a great way to learn about gardening from your own experiences.

· To encourage production, pick tomatoes, squash, okra, beans and cucumbers regularly. Harvest every other day in early morning or late afternoon.

· Onions can be harvested whenever they reach the size you desire, but be sure to pull them if the tops fall over and begin to dry. Let the pulled onions dry for a day or two with the tops on, then clip one inch above the bulb before storing in a dry place.

· Harvest eggplant anytime after their skins appear glossy. Don’t let them grow to enormous sizes; the young fruit tastes better.

· Harvest potatoes when tubers reach two to three inches in diameter or when foliage dies down. Let them dry for several hours after digging, but do not expose potatoes to sunlight for any length of time. Store in a cool, dry area.

· Be sure to thin vegetables, particularly root crops, so they’ll have room to grow properly.

· Pull up remaining cool-season vegetables that have gone to seed and add them to the compost.

· Share your vegetable harvest with neighbors.

· Store unused seeds in a cold, dry location.

· Mow your lawn high (two to three inches) in hot, dry weather so individual blades of grass can shade each other. Try to leave grass clippings on lawn, but avoid clumping.

· The best way to conserve garden moisture is mulching. A good mulch not only retains valuable moisture needed for plant growth, but also improves overall gardening success. Mulches are usually applied two to six-inches deep, depending on the material used. In general, the coarser the material, the deeper the mulch. For example, a two-inch layer of cotton seed hulls will have about the same mulching effect as six inches of oat straw or four inches of Coastal Bermuda hay.

· Thin fruit on fruit trees to get larger fruit.

· Replace the oil, spark plug and air filter in your lawn mower if you haven’t already done so.

· Loosely tie grape vines to the trellis using soft twine or plastic ties.

· June is the month to select daylily varieties as they reach their peak bloom.

· Tender amaryllis plants should be placed in morning sun and fertilized twice a month with a 15-30-15 liquid. Leaves will continue to grow all summer as they manufacture food for the bulb. Don’t forget to water the bulbs.

· Stake perennials as needed.

· Take softwood cuttings of shrubs to start new plants.

· Turn the compost pile and check its moisture content, which should be similar to a wrung-out sponge.

· Feed the birds!