At the end of the month, gardeners can set out more tomato plants for a harvest this fall.
Continue planting warm-season vegetable crops such as beans, peas, squash, corn and cucumbers.
It’s not too late to reseed or over-seed your warm-season lawn. Be certain to keep newly seeded areas well-watered.
Direct-sow seeds of fast-growing annuals like marigolds, zinnias and cosmos directly in the garden.
Plant annual flowers in tubs or large containers for the porch or terrace. Make sure there are holes in the container’s bottom to provide good drainage.
Complete planting summer-flowering bulbs such as cannas, oriental lilies and dahlias.
Plant caladium and tuberous begonias in shady spots.
Foliage of daffodils has died back and you may divide and move the bulbs to a new spot. Daffodil clusters should be divided every three years to ensure good blooming.
Check vegetable foliage for signs of nutrient deficiency.
Side dress vegetables with a balanced fertilizer. Do not use nitrogen fertilizers on legumes.
Fertilize the lawn this month. Use a fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Heat is a key factor in the decomposition process. During the summer months, high temperatures can cause organic materials added to your garden for fertilization purposes to decompose and break down quicker. Adding additional organic materials to your garden soil can help to improve plant health and soil quality as the summer heat speeds up decomposition and the release of organic nutrients.
Deadhead the developing seed pods from your rhododendrons and azaleas to improve next year’s bloom. Be careful not to damage next year’s buds that may be hidden just below the pod.
Deadhead your annuals to encourage continued flowering. Pinch back any plants that might be getting a little leggy.
Pinch your chrysanthemums to encourage them to be bushier and have more blossoms. Pinch them again, every 6 inches or so, as they grow until mid-July.
This is a good month for shearing, pinching or pruning junipers, cypress or conifers. If you’ve been cultivating a special living Christmas tree, sculpt it now.
Prune suckers and water sprouts from all fruit trees.
Be on the lookout for dead, damaged and diseased wood in trees and shrubs; prune them out as discovered.
After your vegetable garden is well-established, it is best to water it thoroughly once a week rather than giving it a light watering every day. That way, a deeper root system is encouraged to develop that will later help the plants tolerate dry weather.
Water lawns if there is less than 1 inch of rain per week.
Fix leaky hoses.
Adding mulch to flower beds and around garden plants will help the garden soil retain moisture during the hot months of June and July. There are various types of mulches to choose from including both organic and inorganic materials. Popular garden mulches include bark chips, weed-free grass clippings, stones, garden fabric or plastic, and straw.
Set up a rain barrel for irrigation.
Water early in the morning or in the evening rather than in the heat of the day.
As the weather dries out, your container-grown plants may need daily watering – especially if the pots are exposed to the drying sunlight.
Incorporating a polymer such as Soil Moist at planting reduces watering.
Identify problems before acting and opt for the least toxic approach. Cultural, physical and biological controls are the cornerstones of a sustainable pest management program. Use chemical controls only after you identify a pest problem and carefully read the pesticide label.
To protect bees that pollinate many of our crop plants, spray pesticides in the evening after bees have returned to their hives.
Blossom-end rot, a relatively common garden problem, is not a disease but rather a physiological disorder caused by a calcium imbalance within the plant. Water stress can also attribute to blossom-end rot. This disorder can occur in eggplant, pepper, squash, cucumber and melon fruits as well as tomatoes. Avoid this problem by amending your soil with gypsum or a fast-acting lime. Maintain uniform soil moisture by using mulch. Other products to utilize include calcium nitrate as a side dressing or foliar spray, Yield Booster and Stop Blossom-End Rot of Tomatoes.
Be alert to slug and snail damage ... seek and destroy ALL slugs!
Check your roses for mildew, aphids, black-spot or other disease problems or insect infestations. If they appear, take steps to control them right away.
Continue application of deer repellents.
Keep the weeds pulled before they have a chance to flower and go to seed again. Otherwise, you will be fighting newly germinated weed seed from here to eternity!
Change the water in your bird bath regularly to avoid mosquitoes.
Purple martins are good to have around because they love catching and eating cucumber and Japanese beetles. New research has shown that mosquitoes are over 3 percent of a martin’s diet. Bats can be an effective way to control insects, but, similar to martins, field studies have shown little brown bats had only 1.8 percent mosquitoes in their fecal pellets. The same study showed they mainly consumed moths and spiders. It looks like DEET is still the best preventative.
Put a couple of drops of mineral oil on corn silks within a week after they appear to prevent corn earworm.
Check new plant growth for aphids. Aphids, or plant lice, can weaken plants and delay growth.
Protect your fruit from the birds with netting.
Birds will generally not be scared away by scarecrows. Instead, try tying pieces of glass, colored cloth, tin or old silver CDs to loose strings so the wind can blow them and clash them together. Random motion is the key to alarming the birds away from the garden.
Continue to watch for insect or disease damage on houseplants and take the necessary steps to control the problem.
The summer solstice falls on Monday, June 20, heralding the start of summer!
Work around the heat and humidity (early morning or late afternoon/evening).
At exactly noon June 15 set your sundial to 12 o’clock to get the most accurate time reading throughout the summer.
Involve the kids or grandkids in growing vegetables. It’s fun, it’s easy and it builds kids’ enthusiasm for gardening and eating healthy – because they tend to eat what they grow!
Most vegetables attain their best eating quality when allowed to ripen on the plant, but often this peak quality is reached before the vegetable (i.e., cucumbers, squash, okra, sweet corn, peas and beans) is fully mature.
Almost all vegetables are best when harvested early in the morning. Overnight, vegetables regain moisture they lost during the day and starches formed during the day may be converted to sugars during the evening. Vegetable quality is highest at the moment of harvest and begins to decrease rapidly afterward.
Be gentle with garden plants while harvesting vegetables. If vegetables are not easily removed when twisted or pulled, use a knife, scissors or hand pruners. These tools help prevent tearing or breaking of a plant that could lead to disease infection. Also, be careful not to step on stems or foliage of the plants while harvesting.
Frequent picking is essential for prolonging the vegetable harvest. A plant’s goal is to reproduce; therefore, if its fruit are allowed to fully mature on the plant, there is no reason for it to continue flowering, meaning fruit production will halt.
There are several indicators for ripeness of watermelon. The vine tendril closest to the fruit dies and turns brown when ready to harvest. Also, the underside of the fruit will turn from white to yellow. Finally, thumping a ripe melon should give a dull thud as opposed to a ringing, metallic sound when immature.
The best time to harvest most herbs is just before flowering, when the leaves contain the maximum essential oils.
To get the color of crape myrtle you want, you should purchase a containerized plant now while it is in bloom.
Build, repair or paint trellises, arbors and lawn furniture.
Before pouring gasoline into the fuel tank of your lawn mower, garden tiller or other garden equipment, be sure to turn off the motor and allow it to cool for at least five minutes.
Mulch around woody plants after cleaning away weeds and grass, but don’t pile thick mulch up against trunks. Two inches depth is plenty, starting several inches or so away from trunks.
Edge beds to make a clean line and define them, and keep edges clean with regular fine-tuning with grass shears. A well-cut edge makes a big difference.
Don’t bag or rake grass clippings; let them lie on the lawn to return nitrogen to the soil.
If your tomato plants are staked, tie them to the stake as they grow and pinch out suckers. If your plants are caged, pinch out the first few suckers to keep fruit off of the ground and just keep the plant’s limbs trained to stay inside the cage. Generally, staked tomatoes are larger, but fewer; caged tomatoes are greater in number, but smaller … your call.
Add to, aerate and moisten your compost pile to speed decomposition. If you don’t do anything but add to it, your yard and kitchen waste will eventually decompose on its own.
Allow one or two runners to develop from the most productive strawberry plants.
Continue to mound the soil up around your potato plants. It does not harm the plant if the soil covers the stem.
Continue to mulch where needed.
If the weather becomes hot and dry, raise the cutting height of the mower.
Peach trees need 50-75 leaves per fruit to manufacture food for both fruit production and tree maintenance. Apple trees need 30-40 leaves per fruit. If you have too much fruit on your trees after natural thinning, remove more. Clean up any fallen fruit.
Stake tall flowers to keep them from blowing over in the wind. Add a stake to each planting hole as you’re transplanting and tie the stem loosely to the stake as the plant grows.
Tap or lightly thump the base of tomato blooms to encourage good pollination.
Keep the bird feeder full and make sure they have fresh water. Lots of calorie-burning courting and/or hungry mouths to feed!