By Bob Morrison
Cooper-Young Garden Club
The following are “Garden-To-Does” for June complied for the benefit of readers who are enthusiasts and not afraid to get their finger nails dirty in the garden.
It is not too late to plant fast maturing annuals if you have a space that still needs attention. Some suggestions: scatter seeds from cosmos, cleome, Mexican sunflower, portulaca, small sunflowers, and zinnia.
Fertilize annuals in June. Please note: Annuals are heavy feeders and must have a continuous supply of nutrients to stay good looking.
Remove faded flowers from purple coneflower, rubeckia phlox shasta daisies etc. to encourage a second show.
Leaves from spring blooming bulb (tulips, daffodils, hyacinth) should at least be turning yellow by now and can be cut off at ground level.
Prune spring blooming shrubs if not already done so – azaleas, rhododendrons, forsythia, and spirea. Established plants can tolerate severe pruning if renovation is needed.
Remember to check new plantings throughout the summer:
Trees and shrubs will need a good soaking every week through the first growing season.
Herbaceous perennials will need regular watering at least for the first couple of months.
Summer swelter is close at hand. Plants will need consistent moisture more than ever. Spread a couple of inches of mulch atop the soil now. Mulch cools the soil surface and reduces moisture loss.
Bearded iris can be divided six to eight weeks after they have bloomed e.g. in late June or July.
Rosebushes are ‘hungry’ plants. Feed them right after the first big wave of blooms. Both granular and liquid forms are okay (so long as they are formulated for roses).
Pinching back the growing tips on your chrysanthemums in early June and again around July 4th will yield a stronger, healthier, bushier flowering plant.
Many other plants will benefit from pinching to encourage branching including plants such as asters, marigolds, zinnias, sedum, gomphrena and even petunias.
Avoid getting water on the leaves of annuals whenever possible. Powdery mildew can become a problem, especially on zinnias but can show up on a wide range of plants.
Japanese beetles will arrive in late June. Handpick or use an appropriate insecticide. DO NOT use pheromone traps; they attract many more beetles than you would otherwise have.
Slug and snail baits containing iron phosphate are very effective while being safe to use in the garden where children and pets may be at play.
Through mid-June, you can still plant warm weather vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans, okra, winter squash and pumpkins.
Continue to sow vegetables for a succession of summer crops. Plant out runner and French beans, leeks, tomatoes and peppers.
Use row covers to prevent cabbageworms. Check cabbage family crops regularly.
Vegetable gardens need one inch of water each week. Provide a good soaking if rain is not adequate. Use drip irrigation or water in the morning. A rain gauge is a great gardener’s aid.
Avoid blossom-end-rot (BER) in tomatoes, peppers, squash and watermelons by maintaining uniform soil moisture.
Once cucumbers, squash and green beans begin to fruit, check them daily. Fruit matures quickly and is best harvested while young and tender.
Be careful when harvesting. Use two hands to pull beans, cucumbers, squash, etc., to avoid breaking the plant.
Check the label of all insecticides and fungicides before applying. Pay attention to the number of days to wait before harvesting and the crops and pests on the label.
Asparagus: To help plants establish strong root systems, do not harvest spears the first year. Begin lightly harvesting the second year and work up to a six-to-eight week harvest by the fourth.
Remember to keep record of what is planted where and what varieties you grew. You will want this information next year for garden rotation.
Try to mow frequently enough to remove no more than 1/3 of the blade at a time.
Grass clippings left on the lawn are the best and cheapest way to return organic matter to the soil.
Water lawns any time it shows signs of stress – bluish-gray tint in color, foot-prints remaining when you walk on it, and wilted, curled or folded leaves.
By mid-June Japanese beetles will begin to show up on roses. Use an all-purpose rose spray that includes both a fungicide and an insecticide. Alternatively, pick the beetles off by hand into a jar with turpentine.
Hanging baskets are especially prone to water loss and require very frequent watering.
Provide support for climbing plants, and tie in the shoots as they grow.
All spring flowering shrubs should be thinned out by cutting the old wood off at the ground, leaving only the young healthy branches for next year’s season.
Trees not bearing fruit may produce a lot of water sprouts. Prune them out now to reduce excess growth.
Protect honeybees. If you must use an insecticide (even organic) spray late in the evening when few bees are active.
Aerate ponds during still weather to oxygenate the water and keep any fish alive.