A MID-JUNE WARM WEATHER VEGETABLE FRENZY: As June reaches its first half next week, all types of warm weather vegetables can be planted or set out in the garden plot. Seeds of green beans, lima beans, okra, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, corn and other crops need to be in the ground by next week so they can produce a harvest in time for another crop to succeed them.
THE PANDA FERN NEEDS TO BE CLIPPED: The panda fern is four years old and still green and beautiful. We trim it during summer when it grows over the container and before moving it to the living room in winter. You can purchase panda ferns in garden departments, seed stores and hardware stores in small containers for about three dollars. When you purchase the fern, buy a larger container and a bag of potting medium and transplant the fern as soon as you bring it home.
IF YOU PLANT PEPPERS, THEY WILL QUICKLY GROW: Peppers of all types and shapes of peppers whether they are sweet or hot, they will quickly grow in the warm soil of the June garden plot. Most sweet bell peppers grow tall over a long, hot summer and you can use tomato cages to support them and protect them from summer, thunderstorms. Always keep hot varieties a distance from sweet peppers to keep bees from cross pollinating them.
PLANTING ROWS OF THE BEST OF THE GREEN BEANS: Green beans are a vegetable that needs to be planted now for a harvest in late August. The best of all green beans is Strike followed by Top Crop because they are heavy producers, are pencil-sized and string less. A pound costs around $3.50 and will sow a 45 to 50 foot row. Add some peat moss to the seed before covering them to retain moisture, add texture and promote growth.
KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON THOSE TENDER EGGPLANTS: As warm weather seriously gets in full swing, so do all insect pests. The tender leaves of eggplants are a favorite target of many insects. Keep some Sevin dust or spray available and apply on the very first sign of damage
THE JAPS MAY BE ON THE WAY: Last year was not a bad year for Japanese Beetles in our area and we could control them without placing beetle traps. This summer may be a different story and we may be in for an epidemic year of these destructive pest. Their favorite foods are rose bushes and grape leaves as well as tender vegetable leaves. Liquid Sevin and beetle traps are best ways to control them when you place a trap, keep it a distance away from where they are eating leaves so you can draw them away with the aroma of the bait in the traps.
FERTILIZING TOMATOES WITH SPECIAL TOMATO FERTILIZERS: Tomato plants are really growing in the warm soil of June and they need to be fed twice a month to assure a great harvest. Never use 10-10-10 pellet fertilizer on them because they do not need more nitrogen. Use only fertilizers especially formulated for tomato growth. Vigaro tomato pellet fertilizer gives quick results when applied at the base of the tomato plant and soil pulled up on each side of the plant after applying fertilizer to the tomato. Another fertilizer that gives tomatoes a quick shot is Miracle-Gro liquid tomato fertilizer which is mixed in a sprinkling can of water and poured around the base of the tomato plants.
THE CHRISTMAS CACTUS IS ADJUSTING TO THE PORCH: Cactus have been in a semi-sunny location since April on the backside of the front porch. The secret that produces blooms in November-December on Christmas cactus is to allow them to spend summers outside in semi-sunny locations. A drink of water once a week and a shot of liquid fertilizer once every ten days will pave the way for blooms in November.
KEEPING HUMMINGBIRD AND BIRD FEEDERS FULL ON WARM LATE SPRING DAYS: The honeysuckles are finishing their blooming cycle which was a mid-spring, food staple for the hummers. Many summer annuals and flowers have not yet reached bloom stage, so the hummingbird feeders on your porch or deck can provide an important food source for them. We like to purchase the ready mix food in 48-ounce plastic containers because it can be refrigerated and poured right into the feeders with no mix or mess. A bottle costs around four dollars which is comparable to the powdered mix. The songbirds are nesting so when you keep food in the bird feeders you are really giving them a huge boost.
KEEPING THE MORNING GLORY POPULATION UNDER CONTROL: Nothing grows faster than the pesky morning glory. One flower produces a whole pod of tiny seed which means one mature vine can produce enough seed to choke out a whole garden plot in one year. They are now growing fast and spreading. The most effective way to control them is the old-fashioned way of pulling them up by the roots and throwing them out of the garden plot. Never allow a morning glory to get to the bloom stage.
CHECKING OUT THE IRISH POTATO BED OR ROWS: The potato vines should now have white blooms on them and the rule of the harvest says that when potatoes are in bloom, the vines are forming small potatoes. To find out, all you have to do is feel around the baser of the vines to see if any potatoes formed and can be harvested. Gather a small bowl full of new potatoes, place in water and rub the peels. Don’t remove peels but cook the potatoes whole.
Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at BSylvia1946@gmail.com.