June Gardening Checklist

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June Gardening Checklist

Fellow Gardeners,

The information, dates and techniques in this 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.

annuals, sweet peas, wildflowers, cool-season, gardening, garden, petunias, lobella, verbena, marigold, ageratum, cosmos, impatiens, coleus, torenia, begonias, dahlias, zinnias, flowers, bedding plants

Annuals:

  • (See also Sweet Peas and Wildflowers)
  • This is a month for warm-season annuals.  The nights are consistently warmer, the days are longer sunnier and the thermometer is rising.
  •  Warm-season annuals are in abundant supply now.  If you didn’t get them planted in the last month or two then get them planted now, before the really hot weather of July or August.  Choices include celosia, petunias, lobelia, verbena, marigold, ageratum, cosmos, impatiens, coleus, torenia and begonias.
  • Some real hot, hot, hot weather sizzlers are dahlias, zinnias, gomphrena, salvia, portulaca, cleome and lisianthus.  This is a good month to plant these, since they absolutely love hot temperatures.
  • Because of their quick growth and heavy flowering potential, annuals need more fertilizing than most other plants in the garden.
  • Keep deadheading (removing spent flowers) from annuals to help them continue blooming abundantly.

avocados, mature avocado tree, tree, feeding, healthy, food, planting, plant, mulch, irrigate, gardening, orchard

Avocados:

  • Apply your third and final feeding to avocado trees this month.  A mature avocado tree should be given between ½ and 1 pound of actual nitrogen per inch of trunk diameter.  (Example: 15-30 pounds of 20% nitrogen if a six-inch trunk; 30-60 pounds of 10% nitrogen if a six-inch trunk, etc.)
  • Avocados are still growing and they should look pretty good.
  • Irrigate as needed to keep the soil moist, but not wet.
  • This is a very good month for planting avocados.  Being sub-tropical plants, avocados prefer to be planted at the beginning of the long warm part of the year.
  • Don’t be alarmed by a lot of leaf drop on mature plants.  Avocados produce a lot of leaf litter nearly year round.  This is a normal condition.
  • Most varieties will not have fruit ready for harvest this early.  However, other varieties are almost ready for picking.  Varieties, like ‘Gwen’ and ‘Whitsell’ often have fruit at unusual times.
  • Be sure to keep a very thick blanket of mulch, compost or fallen leaves under mature avocados at all times.  Avocados need a cool root-run for good health.

azaleas, flowers, over watering, hybrids, gardening, garden, dormant, bloom, plant, pink, pruning

Azaleas:

  • Keep azaleas well irrigated now that the weather is warming up.
  • Azaleas are shallow rooted and will dry out quickly.  Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with the roots of your azalea.

bearded iris, flower buds, flower, blooming, well-balanced, organic, fertilize, insecticides, flower stalk, foliage

Bearded Iris:

  • They should have finished their first bloom by now.
  • Trim off the faded flower stalk just above the foliage when the last flower fades.
  • If you are growing any of the new “repeat-blooming” varieties they may cycle again in as little as another month or two.  Keep feeding these re-bloomers aggressively.  Older “once-blooming” varieties can have their feeding reduced in half.  Any fertilizer labeled for roses (by not with insecticides or other added ingredients) will do fine.

beneficial insects, wildlife, giant whitefly, gardens, parasites, predators, lantana, pesticides, lizards, frogs

Beneficial Insects:

  • Beneficial insects should be abundant in your garden now, especially if you planted a few flowers just for them.
  • If needed, Ladybugs and Lacewings can be released again this month.
  • The population of natural predators and parasites always follows behind that of the pest.  They will need some time to catch up with the pest, so be patient.
  • Giant Whitefly is active again and infestations should be noticeable.  Predators and parasites should also be present by now.  Check immature whiteflies carefully for signs of parasite activity.  If none are found in one part of the garden remove a few leaves from another plant that has been parasitized and place it carefully into the foliage of the non-parasitized plant.
  • Flea, grub and cutworm populations may be present now.  Control can be achieved by using various beneficial nematodes.  These microscopic worms are applied by mixing them in a water can and drenching the area, then watering well.
  • Encourage opossums, which are predators of the common garden snail.
  • Now that the weather has warmed, spider mites can become problems on many plants, such as citrus, avocado, pine, juniper, ivy and others.  Release beneficial predator mites now for control.
  • Trichogramma wasps are very effective parasites of caterpillars.  If these pests are usually a problem in your garden a couple of releases of these beneficials will be worthwhile.  Space the releases 30 to 45 days apart.

bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, hyacinth, ranunculus, cyclamen, spring bulbs, gardening, garden, planting, dahlias, flowers

Bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, etc:

  • (See also Bearded Iris, Dahlias, Cannas and Tuberous Begonias)
  • Spring bulbs are long finished flowering by now, but several warm-weather varieties are putting on a good show now in Orange County.  These include some alliums, calla (in cool and moist situations), galtonia (summer hyacinth), gladiolus, hippeastrum, many true lilies, tigridia (recommended), tritelleia (recommended) and watsonia.
  • Caladium are continuing to sprout and grow nicely now.  Keep them watered and fertilized and in bright but indirect light and sheltered from winds.
  • Now that the soil is very warm it is still a good time to plant tuberose tubers that you bought at the nursery in January or February, or from those you dug out of your garden last November.  Give them a sunny site and slightly acid, well drained soil.
  • As spring bulbs finish blooming do not hurry to cut back the foliage or ignore the plant.  Keep the leaves in place and continue watering until the leaves naturally turn brown and dry, then you can cut them off.  These leaves are sending energy to the bulb for next season.  Of course, for one-year bulbs like most anemone, crocus, hyacinth, muscari, ranunculus and tulips, after they are done blooming, pull them and toss them out.

california native plants, native plants, blooming, flowers, summer, native

California Native Plants:

  • Be very cautious irrigating most of our native plants during the summer.  Most of these are adapted to a winter wet – summer dry moisture cycle.  Too frequent irrigations now (especially in soils with a clay content) will certainly cause problems.

camellias, japanese camellias, bloom, petal blight, fungal disease, petals, flowers, shaping, pruning, fertilize

Camellias:

  • You will probably be toward the middle or end of your camellia fertilizing for the year.  The first of three feedings to your camellia should have been applied about 4-6 weeks after it finished blooming.  The second feeding is 4-6 weeks after the first and the final feeding is 4-6 weeks later again.
  • If you did not apply a thick, fresh layer of organic mulch under your camellias last month do it now.  This mulch will keep the roots cooler during the warm summer months, improve the soil quality and reduce watering requirements.
  • Except for a couple of late blooming Japanese camellia varieties, they have finished their bloom period for this year.
  • Keep camellias well irrigated now that the weather is warming up.
  • Camellias are shallow rooted and will dry out quickly.  Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with the roots of your camellia.

cannas, flowers, fertilizer, organic, gardening, garden, plant

Cannas:

  • They should be flowering well now.
  • Keep them well watered, cannas do not like dry soil.
  • As cannas flower you may notice that each stalk produces a cluster of flowers at the top.  After this cluster finishes the stalk grows a few more inches and produces another cluster.  In some varieties, this can go on for four or five clusters and last almost two months from beginning to end.  When the last cluster of flowers has finished, cut the entire stalk to the soil.  This stalk will never bloom again and cutting it down will encourage more stalks, and flowers, to grow.  Keep this process up all summer for the best results.

citrus, fertilizing citrus, honeybees, fruit, earth, organic, lemons, limes, ripe, kitchen garden, farming, harvest

Citrus:

  • Citrus are still growing well this month and the leaves should be a healthy green color.
  • Continue fertilizing for another month or two.  Use a fertilizer that is rich in such trace minerals as iron, zinc, manganese, copper and others.  These ingredients are usually well represented in organic fertilizers like Dr. Earth.
  • Be attentive to irrigations now that the weather is warming up.  The best application method is probably by flooding the root basin and letting it soak in once or twice.  Do not use sprinklers, especially if they wet the trunk of the tree.
  • Valencia oranges may look ripe, but before you pick them try a sample.  If the sugars have developed sufficiently, then harvest more.  If not, wait a few weeks and test again.  Once ripe, Valencia oranges will keep on the tree for months.
  • ‘Kara’ tangerines may be ripe by now or very soon.  This about the only summer bearing mandarin and needs a warm inland location.  Tangelos are about ripe now also.
  • Continue periodically checking for ants.  Control them from climbing up the trunk of the tree or onto the branches immediately.  Although not directly harmful to the citrus, they are “farming” such pests as scale, whitefly and mealybug, which are all common on citrus.

clematis, flower, vine, organic fertilizer, purple, bloom, grow

Clematis:

  • Many clematis are still blooming.  Keep them well fed with a balanced organic fertilizer to keep them going.
  • Clematis prefer cool roots, especially during the summer months.  If you can, grow another shrub directly to the south of your clematis to provide some shade over the roots.  Alternatively, place a large decorative pot on the south side of the plant.
  • To insulate the roots even more and moderate the warm summer soil temperatures maintain a thick 3-4 inch layer of organic mulch over the roots at all times, especially now.
  • As the weather warms up apply more frequent irrigations.
  • If you are growing a spring-only flowering variety (not as common in Orange County), these should be pruned soon after their spring bloom is finished, which may be this month.

dahlia xxl, dahlias, designer dahlias, dormat tubers, foliage, organic, fish bone meal

Dahlias (tuberous types):

  • Plants should be in full bloom, robust and vigorous now.
  • Regularly cut off spent blooms to make the plants both look better and set more flowers.
  • Keep the taller varieties carefully staked to prevent the heavy canes from toppling over.  Heavy natural cane bamboo stakes work well.
  • Water regularly and deeply, especially as they grow larger and the weather warms.  Flooding the soil works best; overhead watering will cause broken stems and mushy flowers.  Missed waterings now will cause gaps in the flower development later in the season.
  • Fertilize them regularly throughout their growing and blooming period.  Use a liquid or granular organic fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus.  Fish Bone Meal is excellent.

deciduous fruit tree, apple, apricot, peach, plum, fruit tree

Deciduous Fruit Trees:

  • With the warming weather, be sure to monitor the soil moisture and irrigate as needed.
  • Early varieties of peaches and nectarines may be ripening this month and most apricots are also ripe now.
  • If your trees did not perform a “drop” of a portion of their young fruit last month they may now.  Remember, this is a normal process, since the tree cannot usually support all of the fruit that it originally sets.
  • After the “drop” is completed is the best time to thin any remaining fruit.  This is one of the most difficult things for a gardener to do.  However, well-spaced fruit will develop into a higher quality crop and the fruit size will be much larger as well.
  • Birds often take their tool on ripening fruit, especially soft varieties like peach apricot, nectarine and plum.  If this toll is too great, drape thin nylon “fruit tree” netting over the canopy of the tree a few weeks prior to the ripening date.  Remove the netting once all the fruit has been harvested.

ferns, sword ferns, chain ferns, maidenhair, fertilize, cottonseed meal

Ferns:

  • There is still time to plant, re-pot or transplant ferns.  Just keep them well watered.
  • Hurry, but there is still time to re-mount and/or divide staghorn ferns that have outgrown their boards or pots.
  • Continue fertilizing.  Use a mild, organic fertilizer on ferns and alternate periodically with an acid type, especially in high pH soil.  For most common varieties try blood meal alternated every third feeding with Cottonseed Meal.
  • Irrigate most varieties regularly according to weather and the growth of the individual plants.  Delicate varieties appreciate an occasional misting of the foliage, especially during warm, dry or windy periods.
  • Keep checking for pests.  Scale can be a problem and often goes undetected.  It is often associated with ants, which need to be controlled as a part of any treatment program.   On other ferns, especially staghorns, check carefully for early signs of spider mites.

fertilize, flower food, plant food, plant

Fertilize:

  • (See also the information under the individual plants)
  • Look for signs of chlorosis and fertilize to correct the problem.

fuchsias, flowers, shade, flowering, grow out, fertilize, well watered, garden, gardening, gall mites, pest

Fuchsias:

  • Your plants should still be in full bloom now.
  • Keep fertilizing regularly with a balanced fertilizer or one slightly higher in phosphorus, to promote blooms.
  • Keep the plants well watered, especially during a warm spell and any plants in hanging baskets.
  • During any particularly dry, hot and windy periods a couple of mistings of the foliage is very beneficial.  If the soil is already moist from an early morning watering (best), be careful not to soak the soil again or you may encourage root diseases.
  • Groom the plant periodically by removing dead flowers and any developing seedpods.
  • Watch for Fuchsia Gall Mites again this month.  These nearly invisible pests are a serious threat to fuchsias.  Look for any signs of puckered or distorted new growth.  If you discover any, pinch it out and dispose of it immediately.  A pesticide treatment is usually required.

gardenias, blooms, fertilize, minerals, organic, flowers, garden flowers, flowers

Gardenias:

  • Gardenias should still be blooming and growing well this month.
  • Keep them well fed through the summer months.  Use a fertilizer with trace minerals, such as most organic types and alternate this with an acidic formula to keep the pH down.
  • If the leaves are showing signs of green veins with yellow areas between the veins, especially on the new growth, they need additional iron.  Iron is a supplement to the  regular fertilizing program of your gardenia.

geraniums, ivy geraniums, scented, flowers, zonal, fertilize, prune back, martha, leaves, rust, springtime, blooms

Geraniums:

  • This group includes Ivy geraniums, Zonal geraniums (also called “Common” geraniums), Martha geraniums and the various scented geraniums, but does not include true geraniums (sometimes called “Hardy” geraniums), which are discussed under Perennials.
  • Ivy and Zonal types are still blooming well now.  Keep up with removing spent flowers regularly to encourage more bloom.
  • Martha types have finished up their big spring bloom.  Unlike Ivy and Zonal types these are not generally everblooming plants.  With regular deadheading, a bit of shade in hot inland gardens and continued feeding you will be able to encourage a few more sporadic blooms through summer.  Keep removing any spent flower clusters.
  • Ivy and Zonal geraniums do not like heavy pruning.  To keep the plants shapely and vigorous for a longer period of time prune back a few long stems every month or so from now through fall, but never very many at one time.
  • Continue fertilizing all geraniums, except most scented types, regularly with a balanced fertilizer.  Geraniums prefer a slightly acidic soil, so periodically alternate feedings with an acid fertilizer, such as Cottonseed Meal.
  • Budworms may still be attacking the developing buds and new leaves.  If necessary, spray with BT on a regular basis.
  • Rust may continue to be a problem in some gardens, especially on Zonal and Martha varieties.  However, it is usually only a springtime issue and with the warm weather approaching should be about over.

grapes, grapevines, growing grapes, organic, fertilizer, kitchen garden

Grapes:

  • 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.

groundcover, cool season groundcovers, california native plants, ceanothus, mazanita

Groundcovers:

  • Cool season groundcovers are showing heat stress, especially in warm inland gardens and on south facing slopes.  Keep them irrigated and mulched.
  • Warm season groundcovers are growing and blooming.  Keep them irrigated as the weather warms.
  • If not already done, mulch most groundcover areas now to reduce weed growth, cool the roots, improve soil quality and reduce summer irrigations.

herbs, herb garden, warm weather, grow, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, catmint

Herbs:

  • 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.

hydrangeas, hydrangea, new growth, flowering, feed, prune, slufate soil

Hydrangeas:

  • These should still be blooming.
  • Keep feeding them in order to produce more new growth (which will bloom next year).
  • Remove any flowers that have faded by pruning as far as half way down the stem below the flower.
  • Only prune stems that have flowered this season; leave all other stems alone since they will flower on their branch tips next season.

lawns, lawn, plant, seed, sod, ryegrass, bluegrass, springtime, garden

Lawns:

  • If you haven’t already, you still have time to de-thatch and aerate lawns like hybrid bermudagrass and St. Augustine.
  • Remember, cool-season lawns (fescue/Marathon, ryegrass, bluegrass) should be mowed about a half an inch higher in the warm months than in the cool months.  Keep the mower at this higher setting for the next several hot weather months.
  • It’s too late to attempt to plant new cool-season lawns from seed.  You can still try installing from sod, but the risk of disease or dehydration are much higher in the warm weather.
  • This is still a good month to plant warm-season lawns (hybrid bermudagrass, St. Augustine, etc.) from sod. Most warm-season grasses do not grow from seed and are best only installed from sod.
  • Continue feeding warm-season lawns through summer and into fall.
  • However, beginning this month reduce the dosage of fertilizer by half to cool-season lawns.  Too much fertilizer during the warm weather will make these cool-season turfs very susceptible to diseases.

perennials, bearded iris, bulbs, tubers, cannas, dahlias, fuchsias, geraniums, ornamental grasses, begonias, peony,

Perennials:

  • (See also Bearded Iris, Bulbs/Rhizomes/Tubers, Cannas, Dahlias, Fuchsias, Geraniums, Ornamental Grasses and Tuberous Begonias)
  • If you are planting perennials this month be sure to keep them well watered as these young plants head into the warm summer months.  Also, try to avoid overgrown or root bound plants, as they will be harder to establish.
  • Keep fertilizing your perennials.  The frequency and amount will depend upon the formulation that you are using.  If you have been building up your soil health your fertilizing duties will be much reduced.
  • Removing the many spent or old flowers regularly will help them to produce more new flowers.  Add these to your compost bin.
  • Irrigating your perennials now is a bit more important than it was just a month ago.  The heat of summer is approaching and there are no rains to help you out.  Your perennials will respond well to careful irrigations now.
  • Sub-tropical perennials are at their happiest now and over the next two or three months.  This is a good month to plant these heat lovers too.

pests, diseases, plant diseases, organic control, aphids, snails, slugs, beneficial insects, caterpillars

Pests & Diseases:

  • (See also the information under the individual plants and Beneficial Insects)
huntington library, places to visit, where to visit, gardens to visit, gardens, arboretum

Huntington Library

Places to Visit:

  • Gardens that look terrific almost any time of the year include Sherman Library and Gardens (Corona del Mar), The Fullerton Arboretum (Fullerton), Los Angeles Arboretum (Arcadia), Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens (San Marino) and Quail Botanical Gardens (Encinitas).
  • Rose Hills Memorial Park (Whittier) is still in full bloom.  This is not only a national All America Rose Selections trial garden, it is one of the top rose gardens on the west coast.
  • The last of the big home garden tours are wrapping up this month.
  • San Diego County Fair, held in Del Mar during three weeks from mid June to early July, offers probably the best garden and horticulture presentations of any fair in California.  Extensive landscaped displays, dozens of flower and landscape competitions, seminars and much more make it well worth the visit.

planting, trees, shrubs, perennials, flowers, vegetables

Planting:

  • (See also the information under the individual plants)

poinsettias, holiday flowers, plant

Poinsettias:

  • You should have pinched the tips of the new growth last month.  If not, do so right away.
  • Keep fertilizing the plant often with a well balanced food to encourage growth.
  • Watch for whiteflies and treat as needed.

garden journal, records, catalogs, garden books, organizations

Records, Catalogs, Books and Organizations:

  • Summer is one of the best times to attend educational garden seminars and meetings.  Many excellent programs are available and most, but not all, are free, require no memberships and no reservations.  There is so much going on right now that you will have to pay close attention to keep track of it all.
  • Make notes in your journal now, especially about water and pests.  These will be useful to you again next year.

roses, blooms, first bloom, healthy, flowers, granular, pests,

Roses:

  • This is still a big bloom month, but by now the “first bloom” is about done and side branches are in bud and bloom.  The flowers may be just a bit smaller, but still terrific.
  • Old-garden roses (also called heirloom roses) only bloom on “old wood”.  What this means is that they only produce flowers on the tips of the branches that were left in place from the previous summer.  By contrast, almost all modern roses bloom on “new growth”.  Old-garden roses (popular examples are ‘Cecil Brunner’, ‘Grus an Auchen’, ‘Reine des Violettes’ and ‘Lady Banks’ Rose – Rosa banksiae) need their annual pruning immediately following their big spring bloom – about now.  Do not prune these varieties again in the winter or you will eliminate most of the flowers for next year.
  • Do not use soil-applied fertilizers combined with systemic insecticide.  These products are very disruptive to soil life (beneficial microorganisms, bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, earthworms, etc.).  Many rosarians also believe they reduce the vigor of the rose.
  • Another good month to get out and visit other rose gardens.  Nearby, visit Rose Hills Memorial Park (Whittier) and the Richard Nixon Library (Yorba Linda).
  • Roses are heavy feeders; continue fertilizing them regularly.  Do not use soil-applied fertilizers that are combined with a systemic insecticide.  These products are very disruptive to soil life (beneficial microorganisms, bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, earthworms, etc.).  Many rosarians also believe they reduce the vigor of the rose.
  • Granular, well-balanced, organic fertilizers work especially well for roses and most of these will encourage beneficial soil life.
  • Keep deadheading roses as they fade.
  • Stay on the lookout for pests, although by now pests will be less of an issue.
  • One pest that is quite common now, especially in coastal gardens, is the “Rose slug”.  Not a slug at all, or a caterpillar, which it resembles, this is the larval form of a fly relative, called a Sawfly.  These little green caterpillar-like pests are hard to spot, but chew on the undersides of foliage.  If you have them, by now you will see lots of irregular holes eaten through the leaves.  Neem oil will work on them as will organic Pyrethrin sprays, but the applications must be thorough, frequent and applied to the undersides of the leaves.
  • Disease problems, especially in inland gardens, should be much reduced by now and through the rest of summer.
  • Irrigations should be frequent now as the weather warms and the days lengthen.
  • Hose off the foliage of roses frequently.  Contrary to popular myth, this will actually reduce the likelihood of powdery mildew and keeps the foliage clean and healthy looking.
  • Weed as needed, but avoid most herbicides around roses.

shrubs, vines, large space, garden, garden design

Shrubs and Vines:

  • (See also the information under Azaleas, Camellias, Gardenias, Hydrangeas and others)
  • Bougainvilleas are setting flowers now and growing quickly in the warm weather.  Avoid pruning them now, which will interfere with their bloom.  This is a good time to plant these heat lovers as well.

soil, soil care, foundation, healthy soil, organic mulch, mulch, mycorrhizae

Soil Care:

  • We have included this section, because as you know, or will discover with more experience, a good garden begins with the soil.  Investing in the soil, managing the soil and protecting the soil are not afterthoughts in a successful garden, but the foundation.  Healthy soil is living and breathing, teaming with earthworms, microorganisms, beneficial fungi, bacteria, microbes and other invisible life.  This section, possibly the most important topic of all will, provides some helpful guidance to good soil care.
  • A thick layer of organic mulch, averaging about two inches, should be maintained on top of the soil just about year-round.  Especially with the warm temperature of summer just ahead, this is an excellent time to refresh this layer and add additional mulch as needed.
  • Applied now, a thick layer of mulch will cool the root systems from the hot temperatures, reduce irrigations as much as half this summer, reduce weed problems, and improve both soil life and soil quality.
  • We do not suggest the use of very high analysis fertilizers in a garden, especially phosphorus.  Examples of fertilizers to avoid are synthetic versions with formulations like, 10-55-10, 10-30-10, etc.  We don’t even suggest the popular 15-30-15 formula.  These formulations will inhibit or even destroy much of the soil life that is so vital to a healthy sustainable soil.
  • We also suggest that you not use soil-applied systemic fertilizer/insecticide combinations (especially popular with roses).  These are very damaging to soil life.
  • Use insecticides only when necessary and even then use the least damaging product available.  Many of these products move into the soil and interfere with the invisible soil life.
  • If you can, begin a compost pile or purchase a compost bin.  Leaves, clippings, kitchen produce scraps, and many other ingredients can be composted and returned to the garden.  Home compost is one of the very best ingredients you can add to your soil.  The benefits are huge in the areas of disease suppression, increasing beneficial microorganisms, improving soil structure and texture, nutrient retention and nematode suppression.
  • Be sure that before you put a plant into the ground you have considered the soil and are doing all you can to improve it and protect its health.

strawberries, feed, organic acid fertilizer, cottonseed meal, low pH, strawberry, fruit, kitchen garden

Strawberries:

  • 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.

subtropical fruits, trees, flowers, harvest, kitchen garden

Subtropical Fruits:

  • (See also the information under Avocados, and Citrus)
  • 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.

sweet peas, sweet pea, harbinger, full bloom, spring bloom, flowers, fragrance, garden flowers

Sweet Peas:

  • These are about done for this year.  If they are still looking good and blooming then enjoy them.  They will probably be showing a quite a bit of heat stress now, particularly at their bases where yellowing and drying will eventually become overwhelming.
  • It is also common to have a lot of powdery mildew developing on the foliage this time of the year.  Rather than attempt to control it, which will prove impossible, this is a sign that the season is about over for this year.
  • If you have any particularly outstanding varieties you can attempt to harvest some seed and store it until this fall.  However, Sweet Peas often do not grow “true” from their seed.

trees, avocadoes, citrus, deciduous fruit trees, subtropical fruits

Trees:

  • (See also the information under Avocados, Citrus, Deciduous Fruit Trees and Subtropical Fruits)
  • Try to avoid pruning most trees now, as many birds are still nesting at this time.

tropical, subtropical

Tropicals & Subtropicals:

  • (See also the information under Avocados, Citrus and Subtropical Fruits)
  • These are all growing well now, although many will not be in bloom yet.  Don’t worry, they’re just waiting for longer days, even warmer daytime temperatures and especially warmer nights.
  • 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 very good time to plant or transplant palms and cycads.
  • 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.

tuberous begonias, tubers, growth, flowers

Tuberous Begonias:

  • Plants are still growing and should have buds and maybe even some flowers  Some gardeners pinch out the first set or two of flowers to focus more energy on the growth of the plant.
  • Most tuberous begonias produce both male (single) and female (double) flowers separately on the same plant.  The double flowers are much showier and many people pinch off the single (male) flowers as they appear.
  • Keep fertilizing regularly.  They are heavy feeders, especially in containers.  Use a well balanced fertilizer and periodically mix in an acid fertilizer, to keep the soil pH low.
  • Keep them well watered, but not soggy.  The soil should be rich and well-drained.  The surface of the soil should dry slightly between watering.
  • If in a breezy location, staking upright varieties with a small bamboo stake will reduce the possibility of breakage.
  • Pinch off faded flowers regularly and rotate container grown plants to insure even growth.
  • If powdery mildew appears treat it by improving air circulation around the plants.  Usually this will correct the problem, if not use a fungicide.

vegetables, artichokes, plant vegetables, vegetable garden, veggies, kitchen garden, harvest, raised bed gardening

Vegetables:

  • 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.

Water, irrigation,

Water & Irrigation:

  • (See also the information under the individual plants)
  • Adjust the interval and duration of irrigations now, as we head into the warmer months.
  • Periodically, rinse off the foliage of the plants in your garden during the summer.  Larger shrubs, vines and trees will need a spray from a garden hose.  This will cleanse the foliage of dust and some pollution.  Pest problems will be reduced and the plants will “breathe” easier as well.

wildflowers, bloom, superbloom, super bloom, reseed

Wildflowers:

  • It is far too late for wildflowers now.  If you will be planting again this winter keep the area free of weeds between now and then.  If the area is free of other plants do not water it.  Irrigations will only encourage weed growth.

wisterias, bloom, pruning, wisteria, full bloom, purple

Wisterias:

  • On established plants, this is the time of the first of three annual pruning.    A good schedule for these three prunings is June, August and December.  This is the first pruning of the year.  Cut any and all unwanted new growth to three buds above last years resting point.  The point where the current years growth began and last years ended can be located by noticing the change in the stem/bark color.  This pruning should be done to encourage flower bud development and to contain the size of the plant.
  • Established wisterias are better with only an occasional deep summer watering and little, if any, fertilizer other than possibly iron (to correct chlorosis).  Wisterias are large, aggressive vines; additional water and fertilizer will only create more rampant growth and more pruning needs.
  • On young plants, continue guiding the long, twining stems carefully in the direction that you want.
  • Also on young plants, be sure to provide plenty of water and fertilizer it to encourage quick coverage and deep roots.
  • If you haven’t already, cutting off the small developing seedpods now will make a more attractive plant through the summer.
By | 2017-09-28T14:30:58+00:00 May 30th, 2017|Gardening, Gardening Checklist|10 Comments

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10 Comments

  1. Tanya Burdick June 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    I always find this column extremely helpful. Thank you very much!

  2. Jennifer Blair June 9, 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Outstanding article! Thanks so much for all the great info!

  3. Ron Vanderhoff June 10, 2013 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Thanks Tanya and Jennifer. Glad you are enjoying the information. Hopefully, you can use it as a kind of checklist of things to do each month in your garden.

    I have worked hard to make the information loacally appropriate to coastal Southern California. Often, it is difficult for a home gardener to find out what to do and what not to do in a garden at a particular time. Much of what is available is from national audience books, websites, magazines and even newspapers and television. Of course, as you know, there is no such thing a “national” when it comes to gardening. What we do in Irvine in June is a completely different story than what we do in Chicago in June.

    Glad you are enjoying! Keep gardening.

  4. Denise July 10, 2013 at 2:48 am - Reply

    Hi Ron,
    I looking forward to this column each month. Will the July column be posted soon? Thanks again for all the great info.

  5. Mary Pat Higley June 3, 2016 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Very useful information. Thank you

  6. suzy June 7, 2016 at 6:31 am - Reply

    Great stuff! What about cactus and succulent info?

    • Roger's Gardens June 7, 2016 at 8:04 am - Reply

      Great idea Suzy. Been thinking about that. Stay tuned, I’ll see what I can do.

      Ron

  7. Maureen June 11, 2016 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Ron, your blog is absolutely essential to my garden’s health and abundance! Thank you so much!!

    And like Suzy, I’d love your insights on succulents.

  8. Mary June 2, 2017 at 6:58 am - Reply

    Thanks for this valuable information. Any thoughts on Epsom salts at the root of my roses? I seem to remember a rose seminar at which June and October were the suggested best times. Wonderful, “must read” blog. Thank you kindly for this information.

    • Roger's Gardens June 2, 2017 at 9:40 am - Reply

      Hi Mary,

      The use of Epsom salts on roses is ripe with a rich blend of science, urban legend and assorted opinions. My own bottom line is ‘maybe”.

      Epsom salts is magnesium sulfate, nothing more and nothing less. Magnesium sulfate is a source of magnesium, one of about 16 elements that plants need for normal growth and survival. So, if your rose is deficient in magnesium it would seem that the addition of epsom salts would be a good idea.
      But not so quick; it isn’t that simple.
      Magnesium is seldom deficient in most SoCal soils, especially those with clay content and with a high ph. And even if magnesium is deficient in a rose, it may not be due to its absence in the soil; if may be due to other complex chemical interactions, other soil nutrients, soil biology, temperatures and so on.
      A few other things you should know . . . epsom salts is highly soluble, meaning that it washes through the soil rather quickly with irrigations. This also means that it goes somewhere after it washes out of the rose root zone and that usually means into the local watershed or into the groundwater aquifer. Garden fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals are a major source of pollutants to these resources.
      There is no scientific studies on the value of epsom salts to roses, but there are countless testimonials all around about the value to roses. Sometimes if you believe something works, it works. Gardening, like many other walks of life, seems to filled with folklore – something that is repeated over and over S often that it become indisputable fact. I could fill the pages on some of those “facts”.
      With all this said, Epsom salts is inexpensive and easy to use. If you do decide to use it, don’t overdo it. Since it is a chemical nutrient, too much can be a very bad thing. I suggest about 1/4 cup under a mature rose twice per season. One application about mid to late February or when the weather begins to warm slightly and new growth is rapidly pushing out on the rose. Then do another application about May. That should be plenty. I don’t agree with some rose folks that it should be applied at the time of your annual rose pruning, since magnesium availability in a plant is regulated by soil temperatures and generally January is too early and too cold.

      I hope this helps to give you enough information for you to make your own decision. Like I said, “maybe”.

      Ron

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