June Garden Tip of the Month
Friday, June 01, 2018
May brought very few showers, lots of weeds but it also ushered in earlier warmer weather. So if you havenít already done so, now is the time when pretty much everything that you want to put in your garden can be planted. All flowering annuals such as petunias, lobelia, nasturtiums, inpatients and other tender plants can be planted now. For the veggie garden you can put in your tomato plants, zucchini, corn, beans peppers and tender basil. I find it best to not plant the bedding plants immediately after purchasing them at a store as they may not be hardened off properly. Hardening off is a term used by gardeners which translates to slowly exposing plants to the outdoors. Think of yourself going out on the first hot sunny day without any sun screen and working 6 hours in the bright sunshine. Chances are you will get a very nasty sunburn. Or imagine living in central Africa and moving directly to Fairbanks, AlaskaÖin the dead of winter. You would be freezing all the time. Plants needed to be acclimated to the outdoors too so put them out in the exposed weather for a few hours a day and slowly increasing their exposure. Protect them at the nighttime until gradually increasing their exposure to the elements. Once they are acclimated, they can be planted in their permanent homes. I think it makes sense to always ask a vendor at the farmerís market or roadside stands if the plants have been hardened off first as many times small growers donít have the time or manpower to harden off their starts before marketing them.
If you have a compost pile mellowing in your yard, you have the basis of a wonderful garden. Dig in a shovel full of compost into the top inch or so of your soil before planting seeds. If you are putting in bedding plants, add some compost along with a sprinkling of alfalfa meal into the hole before placing in the plant. That is all I ever add to my tomato plants as far as fertilizer. Blooming annuals however and especially those in planters need a regular drink of liquid fertilizer to keep the blooms going throughout the summer. I find Alaska fish fertilizer works well even though it may have an unpleasant odor. However the aroma t dissipates quickly enough from the plants and a shower washes it off you just fine too.
This is the time to get on a regular schedule of spraying to deer proof your garden. I find that Liquid Fence works the best for me but there are other products out there that I am sure would also work just fine. The first couple of times I spray, I do it once a week, then go to every two weeks and max out at three weeks. It seems like every time I go over the three week limit, the deer start eating to their hearts content. It is nasty smelling stuff as it is made out of rotten eggs and garlic but it really does the trick. I always plan on spraying it before I take a shower as the smell really sticks to my clothes and body. If you have another product that works for you, let me know what you are using so I can share it with my readers.
As the Rhody blossoms start to dry up and fall off, itís time to dead head the blossoms. Just pinch off the dried blossoms and try not to break off the new leaves that grow adjacent to them. Of course, if your Rhodys are like some of mine and are so tall that the only way to reach the top branches requires having at least a 6 ft ladder, then donít worry about not adding to the height of the plant.
My last tip is the same one I pretty much give you every month and that is to weed, weed and weed! And enjoy watching your garden grow.