June Gardening Checklist: Edible Plants
With the help of many gardening friends I have attempted to offer on these pages some useful information to help you with your own garden. Gardening is sharing. Any corrections, comments or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information. Edible plants are the focus of this NoteStream. Also see our NoteStreams on Flowering Plants, Fruit Trees and more.
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The information, dates and techniques in this blog are as accurate as I can currently offer.
During the past three decades I have cared for, nurtured and observed tens of thousands of plants. With the help of many gardening friends I have attempted to offer on these pages some useful information to help you with your own garden. Gardening is sharing. Any corrections, comments or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information.
• New growth is slowing down now as the plants direct their energy toward fruit production. Tie or support the canes as needed to prevent tangling or damage later.
• Assuming the use of a granular organic product, the feeding of grapes is in six to eight week intervals following the first application, which was applied when the new growth was just emerging. Following this schedule, four applications are usually sufficient. Grapes need a well-balanced fertilizer that contains trace minerals. Organic products usually are a good choice.
• Irrigate regularly and deeply in the warm summer temperatures.
• This is still a good time to plant basil. Be sure to pinch the flowers off of basil and many other herbs as they develop. Flowers not only reduce the quantity and size of the foliage, but often change the flavor as well.
• Still time to plant the annual “summer savory”. The perennial “winter savory” can also be planted now, however the flavor of the perennial version is usually considered inferior.
• Many perennial herbs can be planted nearly year-round, but particularly during the warm summer. These include marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, catmint, catnip, chamomile, comfrey, feverfew, lavender, lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon verbena, St. johns wort, tansy, tarragon and thyme.
• Fertilize regularly. Periodically alternate with an acid fertilizer to keep the soil pH low, which strawberries prefer.
• If strawberries attempt to grow runners, pinch them off. Keep feeding them and they will continue to bear fruit.
• Watch for signs of spider mites by checking the foliage periodically. Rinsing the leaves with overhead watering occasionally will reduce this pest problem considerably.
• Bait, trap or hand pick snails and slugs regularly to avoid fruit damage.
(See also the information under Avocados, and Citrus in this NoteStream)
• These are all growing well now.
• If you didn’t last month, fertilize now with a general-purpose organic fertilizer. Most tropicals and sub-tropicals have a higher need for trace minerals like iron, zinc, manganese and others. Organic fertilizers generally contain lots of these trace minerals and work especially well in the warm soil temperatures present now.
• This is a good month for planting these heat lovers, but keep them well watered to help them establish.
• Watering should be frequent now, but most tropicals and sub-tropicals are particular about quick soil drainage.
• Almost any warm-season vegetable can be planted now. From transplants or seeds, plant beans, chard, cucumbers, eggplants, lima beans, okra, peppers, squash and tomatoes. Corn, melons, pumpkin and sunflowers are best planted from seed.
• Beets, carrots, chard, radish and possibly turnips can be planted just about year-round. All but chard are planted from seed only. Be extra diligent about keeping the small seeds watered in this hot weather.
• Along the immediate coast gardeners can cheat a bit and still grow cool season crops like arugula, lettuce and some of the cabbage family. This is the best month for these coastal gardeners to attempt the real heat-lovers like corn, melons, peppers and pumpkins. Grow them in the hottest spot in the garden, such as in front of a hot south facing wall.
• This is also a good month for planting the real heat lovers like corn, eggplant, jicama, lima beans, melons, okra, peppers and pumpkins, now that the soil and night temperatures have warmed.
• Plant pumpkin seeds for Halloween fruit. July 4 is the latest reliable date that seed can be started for a successful Halloween harvest. If you’re growing the “giant” types, it may already be too late.
• Keep tomato plants trained inside their cages or alternatively up sakes or obelisks.
• Time is running out to plant melons from seed. Get them in this month.
• If growing corn, be sure to keep it continually fertilized and well watered. Lapses in either will result in a poor yield.
• Don’t worry if the first several squash flowers don’t set fruit. They’re male flowers.
• Put in successive plantings of many vegetables a couple of weeks apart from each other to insure a constant, uninterrupted supply for the kitchen.
• Keep planting corn from seed this month. Because corn needs to be cross-pollinated it must be grown in clumps or rows. Twelve plants is about the minimum for good pollination and twenty or more is even better. Plant crops successively every three to four weeks for a continual harvest. If planted in small groups, hand pollinating will provide fuller ears.
• Since most annual vegetables are shallow rooted and quick growing, feed them regularly with a well balanced organic fertilizer
• Keep the vegetable garden well watered during the hot summer.
• If you planted bulbing onions last fall, this is the most likely month for harvesting.