Monthly Garden Calendar for Pacific Coast South United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Anita Noone

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JUNE

Late night and early morning low clouds is the refrain for June. Most years June Gloom reliably covers the sky for a portion of most June days, except in the warmest inland valleys. The cloudiness can be deceiving, because the days are warm, and getting warmer, and there's usually no rain in sight.

Lawn Care. Now is the best time of the year to plant Zoysia grass, a tough and beautiful grass grown from stolons or plugs. The grass is drought-tolerant, chokes out weeds on its own, and is bothered by few pests. It has a long dormant period in the winter, when it is brown, although new varieties shorten the dormant period.

Landscaping With Irises. You should consider dividing your iris clumps if they did not produce as many flowers this spring as in past years. Dig up the entire clump and discard any underground portions that look diseased, atrophied, or moldy. Using a knife, cut the clump into divisions that include a fan of leaves and five inches of underground growth (the rhizome). Replant the same day, if at all possible.

Divide Your Flowers. Clivia and agapanthus may be divided now, but the number of their blooms next year will be diminished. Unlike iris, these plants will increase in size and bloom as long as their roots are not disturbed.

Keep On Plantin'. You can still plant bush and pole beans through the end of this month and the beginning of next. Other heat lovers to plant now include lima bean, chayote, corn, cucumber, melon, pepper, squash, chard, tomato, and watermelon. It may be best to buy transplants of tomatoes at this time of year, and plant them deeper than they were in their nursery pot. Consider planting cucumbers, lettuce, basil, and carrots on the north side of your taller plants.

Corn Earworm. Corn earworms enter the corn at the silk end of the ear and eat the corn, leaving unsightly brown frass behind. To prevent the damage, drop some mineral oil on the silk at the top of each ear, three to seven days after the silk appears. Or consider sharing with the earworm. If you plant a few extra corn plants, you will have enough to simply cut off and discard the damaged end.

Pruning Time. Climbers can be pruned after their spring bloom fades. Continue to deeply water all roses and renew mulch if necessary.

Herb Harvest. Herbs may be harvested in the summer, washed, patted dry, and then frozen in a bag or container. Annual herbs, like parsley and basil, need lots of water to thrive in the summer. On the other hand, the woody, Mediterranean imports, like rosemary and thyme, thrive with much less water.

Super Succulents. Succulents transplant well now, and can provide bloom and beauty that may be hard to find with conventional bedding plants. The common jade plant provides year-round shiny green leaves and blossoms in December. Many other tidy, non-invasive succulents add interest in the border. Just take care that you find a place where they will not receive much water.

Mulch Native Plants. Mulch will insulate the plants from temperature extremes and help make the best use of water. Plants new to your garden will need irrigation this summer, but make sure you water deeply. The roots of native plants can reach down into the soil in excess of ten feet; some go as deep as 30 or 40 feet. Established plants can go long periods during the summer without any water.

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