Monthly Garden Calendar for Alaska

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Linden Staciokas

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JUNE

Despite the fact that June temperatures can reach the 70s and the evenings don't go below the high 30s, there is poignancy to this month. The grass has finally recovered from the winter and gardening has to be fit in around camping, fishing, boating and the like, but you are reminded that this will all soon disappear under an onslaught of darkness and snow. On June 21 and 22, the sun rises at 3:02 am and sets the following 12:44 am, but by the 23rd we are losing sunlight every day. Within eight days, by the end of June, our days are already sixteen minutes shorter.

The 15-Minute Rule. I keep my gardening chores manageable using the 15 minute rule. Every weekday evening, without fail, I spend at least 15 minutes strolling through my garden. I use the time to look for pest infestations and diseases, and for weed pulling and thinning.

Sprinkler Systems. The first weekend of June, set up your soaker hose system. I cannot stress enough how much it improved my garden once I spent the money to set up a watering system. With the use of a simple timer, I insure that my garden is watered without any effort on my part.

Water Carefully. If you cannot afford to rig up a watering system, water prudently. This means watering deeply about every third day or so, rather than watering superficially every afternoon. Frequent superficial watering leads to shallow root development; these kinds of roots are disrupted easier while hoeing and also don't do well if there is a sudden drought because you have to leave town for a week.

Hanging Basket Tip. In terms of watering hanging baskets, they need much more frequent drinks and feedings, as the roots cannot forage out beyond their container walls for sustenance. Use fish fertilizer every other week. Rotate hanging baskets and containers, so that one side isn't getting disproportionate exposure to the sun.

Zucchini Zingers. If your zucchini plants form an excess of male blossoms (the ones that bloom at the end of long stems) but there are no female flowers (the ones that have what looks like a miniature vegetable behind the bloom) for them to pollinate, you may have a variety that is responding poorly to a lack of nighttime.

Super Squash. Sometimes squash plants have a sufficient number of male and female flowers, but the small squash just rot off instead of developing into full sized fruit. A lack of pollination may be the problem. Help prod nature along by snapping off the long stemmed male flower, gently peeling back the petals so that you expose the pollen-carrying center, and brushing it around inside the female flower

Solutions for Procrastinating Gardeners. If June has come and you haven't started a seed or purchased a transplant, buy a hanging basket or two and make that your garden this year.

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