June 2012 Gardening Calendar
This column is provided to readers each month. Watch for Gardening In South Texas by Calvin Finch every week in the Wilson County News.
Hot and dry or mild with normal rainfall -- the meteorologist say it is a toss-up, it could be either. Wash your car, do your rain dance, or whatever else you need to do to encourage rain.
On the lawn, water once per week if we do not receive rain. If you have some spots that seem to stay dry no matter how long you run the sprinkler, give it some extra water by hand watering and call your irrigation contractor to test your system to make sure the distribution is even. You can waste hundreds of gallons of water if you try to irrigate enough to give every spot adequate water when the system is distributing water unevenly.
If you have perennial, shrub, vegetable, or flower gardens that you are trying to water with sprinkler irrigation, convert them to drip irrigation.
Apply the second dose of pre-emergent herbicides to prevent sandburs if you put down the first application in March. Individual plants can be spot sprayed with Image or popped out with your shovel or weed tool.
In the flower garden, it is not too late to plant zinnias, cosmos, moss roses or purslane in the sun. Plant begonias, pentas, caladiums or coleus in the shade.
If you have trouble with birds pecking at ripening tomatoes, harvest them as soon as any color change occurs. They will finish ripening in the kitchen.
When the onions flop over they are ready to be harvested. Pull them up and let them sit on the soil for two to three days before you move them to storage. The normal storage method is in mesh bags hung in the air-conditioned storage room. I have had good luck by just sitting them on a picnic table in the shade.
The potato-tops should be dead by now. Harvest the tubers and use them for “new potatoes.” Texas grown potatoes do not store very long, so use them up.
Harvest black-eyed, purple-hull and other southern peas before the seeds reach full size and use them like green beans.
Peaches are ready to harvest when the background color changes from green to yellow. Every extra day they stay on the tree is more chance for insect and fungus damage.
It is always a good idea to paint pruning wounds on live oak or red oak trees but there is less damage of oak wilt infection if pruning is done in the hottest part of the summer beginning in the second half of June.
We can plant container grown plants 12 months of the year but you increase the risk of an unsuccessful transplanting experience more in the summer. Water in new plants well and mulch over the root system. Plants that are three years old or less are most vulnerable to drought. Make a point to give them a deep soak every month in the summer unless it rains. Water at the base to insure that the roots in the root-ball do not dry out.
Firebush, Poinciana, duranta, “Gold Star” esperanza, ceniza, and thyrallis transplant well now and may bloom the first part of summer. Thyrallis, ceniza, and esperanza are deer-proof in most neighborhoods.
If you want a water reduction project for the summer, replace lawn grass with a flagstone or brick without mortar patio or path. They look very attractive, protect tree roots, and reduce landscape water needs.
Keep your hummingbird feeder rinsed and filled over the summer. Use one part sugar in four parts of water by volume. Every month use a bottlebrush to clean up the feeder. You will enjoy the hummingbirds. The young of the year should be visiting this month.
Calvin R. Finch, PhD is a SAWS Director and Horticulturist.