Friday, June 3, 2011

Work Schedule for June in the Garden

This time of year everything in our Catskills garden needs doing.  If you’ve sown seed outdoors, they need to be sprinkled every day to germinate.  Bought or home-grown seedlings must be set out.  A rigorous weeding followed by a proper mulching should eliminate most weeding in the coming months.  If you’ve missed eliminating the thistles it’s too late.  If you haven’t gotten the grasses out of the bed, they will soon seed and it’s all over.  The perennial border is filling up and we have grubbed out as many of the relentlessly spreading monarda as possible.

Below is the week-by-week calendar for June:


WEEK ONE
Continue vegetable planting.
Nasturtiums in their summer dress


Plant nasturtiums and sunflowers. 
Set out tomato seedlings or transplants.
Apply general fertilizer to perennials.  Heavy rains may have leached out nutrients.  

Tuberous Begonias, mid-summer


Plant waterlilies and tuberous begonias outdoors. 
Thin tiny fruits in peach, plum and apple trees. Six to eight inches is good.  Doing so will avoid too heavy a crop one year and nothing the next.
Remember to fertilize and water window boxes regularly.
Trim evergreen hedges after the first flush of new growth.
Every few weeks adjust the ties on plants’ supporting stakes.  

WEEK TWO
Be careful working the soil if it has been unusually wet. 
When setting out annuals or perennial divisions, give them a dose of liquid fertilizer, but not onto dry soil. Water first.
Finish sowing annual seeds as soon as possible.
Thin seedlings that are already sprouting.
Plant all summer-flowering bulbs.
Make sure supports are in place for climbing vines and start training new growth.
Fertilize clematis with a handful of bonemeal.
Last call to prune pine trees.  The safest time is in the first two weeks of June.  Don’t snip off the top.  Trim back branches only where necessary.
Bee balm, when it was still manageable

When new shoots of phlox and bee balm are about eight to ten inches tall, remove all but four or five stems to improve air circulation. 

Begin a regular fertilizer program for container plants and hanging baskets.  Feed every two weeks.  

WEEK THREE
Fertilize roses after the first bloom is over.
Deadhead flowers and remove unripened seed pods.  This is important for appearances, reduced weed production and a possible second bloom.
Shear back low-growing plants to produce a second bloom.  Responsive to this treatment are Alchemilla mollis, Geranium sanguinium and Artemisia.  
Prune shrubs and vines that have bloomed as soon after blooming as possible.  
Early summer is a good time to prune or lift shade trees.  You can see precisely what you will lose.
Add mulch if needed, but not on dry soil. Water first..  
It’s too late to move perennials.  If they need a little room and air, cut off a few of the side shoots.   
Adjust hydrangea colors towards pink or blue by increasing or decreasing soil acidity.  



WEEK FOUR
Continue to pinch or cut off faded flowers from annuals and perennials.     
It’s time to cage or stake tomatoes.  If you stake them they will need to be tied periodically and trimmed.  Remove suckers or short leafy stems that sprout in the axils of the side or main stems.
Peonies resting overnight before arranging
Flowers will remain fresh longer if cut with a sharp tool, and if foliage is stripped from the parts that will be under water.  Let flowers stand overnight in a bucket of water before arranging. 
Most flowers will need staking, but if this is not your game consider daylilies.  Blooming in July and August, they are fine on their own.  

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