Lots of bright sunshine, and just enough rain — that’s perfect June weather, and what we always hope for. Here are this months tips and tasks to help you enjoy your time in the garden.
Have you put off planting seeds in the kitchen garden? You can still plant bush and pole beans, squash, zucchini, cucumber, okra and eggplant, sunflowers, zinnias and other summer favorites.
Remove any leftover foliage of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs, which most certainly has turned yellow or brown by now.
Morning is the best time to water lawns, perennial, annual and vegetable beds. About an inch of water per week is enough to keep most plants and lawns thriving.
Summer tomatoes will begin to ripen. Make sure they receive consistent moisture. Use mulch around the plants to keep them from drying out quickly. Replenish mulch around in all garden beds to help keep plants’ roots moist as the weather heats up.
Snip the growing tips of chrysanthemums. This encourages new, fuller growth, and delays flowering. Plan to pinch them back again next month, which will encourage them to flower better in the fall.
Middle of the month
Blueberries continue to ripen. If you want to get them before the birds do, cover the plants with bird netting.
Gladiolus and other tall, top-heavy perennials may need stakes to help keep them standing.
Cut basil frequently to use in the kitchen. Pinch out the flowering spikes of the plants to encourage bushier growth.
If you discover Japanese beetles munching away at your favorite plants, flick them off into a bucket of soapy water. Many garden experts discourage using Japanese beetle traps, which may lure more to your yard than they catch.
Vacation plans? Ask a friend or neighbor (or a young gardener looking for a little extra income) to water garden beds and containers if it doesn’t rain.
End of June
Shrubs and trees planted this spring should be watered regularly to help them continue to adjust to their first summer in the landscape.
Holes in your hostas are probably the work of slugs. Place a saucer of beer or yeast mixed in water near the plants to trap them.
Remove the faded flowers (a task called “deadheading”) to encourage more blooms of daisies, coreopsis and other summer favorites.
If ferns and other hanging arrangements are under shelter and out of the rain, they dry out quickly in the summer heat. Be sure to provide water frequently. You may need to water every day.
Spider mites strike when the weather is hot and dry. On roses, look for them if you begin to see yellow, speckled leaves. If you spot them on roses or other shrubs, blast them with a strong spray of water directed at the undersides of the leaves every two or three days.
In Saturday’s Tennessean: The gardens at The Craighead House, the historic property owned by Nashville landscape designer Steve Sirls, has been placed in the Smithsonian Institute’s Archives of American Gardens. Read it now at Tennessean.com.