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Alison Arnold: June In The Garden

White Chrysanthemums

BPR gardening expert Alison Arnold get us up to speed on what we should be doing and thinking about with our gardens now in late June.

It’s a safe bet that, although it’s June and the gardening season is well underway there’s still plenty to do. What are some of the things gardeners might be tending to at this time?

Where to start! Gosh.. well a lot depends on where in the garden you are putting your focus on.

The season for taking on anything major with the lawn for instance is pretty  passed. We don't recommend fertilizing or any type of seeding or renovation until September. So mowing is about it..

What about in the landscape garden?

We often think of pruning only in the winter but late spring flowering shrubs can be trimmed back after the flowers fade. Pruning out dieback from hybrid rhododendron, azaleas, mountain laurel and blueberry can be done now and of course anytime is a good time to prune dead wood from trees and shrubs. Also gardeners who maintain hedges often will trim them now to shape up or get under control.

What about summer flowering plants - Is it too late to plant annual color?

There’s a few things to keep in mind like… Fast maturing annuals .. things like cosmos, zinnias, marigolds, and small sunflowers can be sown from seed now for late summer color. And if you remove faded flowers from plants like coneflower, and shasta daisy you can get them to re-bloom. A lot of gardener pinch or cut back perennial chrysanthemums before mid July to encourage more blooms and stockier plants. Watering new plantings if important during the first growing season as they get established and checking hanging baskets for water maybe even daily may be necessary as the season progresses.

By now for many people the vegetable garden is beginning to produce. What can be helpful to support good production?

Once plants start to produce vegetables it’s really helpful to check and harvest regularly. Things like cucumbers, squash and green beans should be checked at least daily to help keep plants producing. They also mature quickly and are best when harvested young and tender. Using 2 hands to pull beans, cucumbers, squash for instance also helps avoid breaking the plant and stems. Some crops are heavy feeders or long season and most likely will benefit from another dose of fertilizer or compost say about 5 to 6 weeks after planting, or when fruit starts to form. And you always want to water the garden early in the day to allow the foliage to dry before nightfall to reduce the changes of disease.

You've mentioned before about using cover crops.. is this a good time to think about that?

I do in fact if there is an open space in the garden, like once the spring crop is done or if something doesn't work out these "gaps in the garden" can be planted with a short-season summer cover crop until the fall garden goes in. Things like Buckwheat, Millet, Oats, Southern Peas and even Soybeans are great examples of summer cover crop options. They will continue to enrich the soil and stabilize the soil until the next planting comes along.

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