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JUNE: What to Do in the Garden


In the Edible Garden

  • Stop harvesting rhubarb and asparagus to allow foliage to develop and store food reserves for next year’s harvest.
  • When crops like squash & cucumbers are planted in a circle or hill, place a stick upright in the middle of the circle & leave it there. Later on you’ll know where to water the main roots hidden under the vines. Do not be alarmed at June drop of tree fruits. This is a natural thinning process. Thin fruit to 6-8 inches apart on a branch.
  • Crawling ants on your vegetables may be a sign of aphids. Some ants protect aphids, moving them from plant to plant or even taking them underground into the anthill for overnight safety. The ants do this to ensure a supply of honeydew, a sugary substance that aphids secrete and ants feed on.
  • Install soaker hoses, if possible, to be able to provide moisture without spraying foliage. Leaf diseases affect several vegetable crops and are spread by water on the leaves.
  • Mulch under tomatoes with straw or other light colored mulch to retain water but slow weed development. Wait until after a warm spell when soil temperatures are optimal for the heat-loving plants.
  • Harvest peas when the peas have filled out the pods but before they start to dry out. If you have snap peas, harvest before the peas swell into the walls of the pod for a sweeter taste. Peas will burn out by the end of the month and you can plant a new crop for fall harvesting.

In the Ornamental Garden

  • Prune shoot tips of chrysanthemums and coleus to promote bushier growth.
  • Remove leaves of spring flowering bulbs after they have yellowed and withered. Dig up those bulbs if you want to divide and make more for future years. Keep the bulbs dry in a cool dark space until fall when you will replant them.
  • Plant gourds as a summer gardening project for kids. When the gourd is half grown, scratch a child’s name into the skin. The gourd forms a scab over the scratches and as the gourd grows the name grows bigger.
  • Trap earwigs by using rolled up newspapers moistened with water. Insects will hide in the newspaper during the day
  • Rogue out unwanted seed-generated plants. Many perennials disperse seeds widely through the garden and crowd out other plants or pop up in areas where their flowers would be unwanted.
  • Prune evergreen shrubs and trees after their spring growth spurt. This will allow wounds time to heal before heading into winter. If pruning an evergreen hedge, prune to an “A” shape to allow light to reach lower branches.

In the Indoor Garden

  • According to studies by NASA, plants can function as air purification systems. Spider plants are highly efficient in absorbing toxic substances, but 8 to 15 mature spider plants would be required in an average home. Chinese evergreens, golden pothos and peace lily also lower pollution.
  • Set houseplants in clay pots directly in the ground when placing them outdoors for the summer. Place them so the soil is 1-2 inches below the pot rim, which will allow moisture to go through the porous clay.
  • Monitor plants carefully for signs of insects or mites. Many “critters” can arrive on the wind and find ways through screens.
  • Repot plants that have been in the same pot/soil for a few years. Examine the root mass carefully to see if there are insects or if the roots are girdling at the edges and in need of a sharp knife to rejuvenate them.
  • Provide support for larger plants you have taken outdoors. Summer winds and thunderstorms can upend many taller container plants.

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questions

I dislike staking perennials. Is there anything I can do to avoid it?

I’d like to know the secret to growing a decent-sized pumpkin for jack-o-lanterns for the grandkids and for decorating. My experience in recent years is that they get about as big as a basketball and then begin to rot. What am I doing wrong?

I have two 20-year-old pine trees whose needles are turning brown on the west side of the plants. On the east side I have a compost pile.

I live in the St. Charles region and my soil is mostly clay. What is causing the browning? Should I get rid of the compost? How do I correct the damage?

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