June 2015 Gardening Calendar
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It was a great winter and spring as far as weather. There have been moderate temperatures and above average moisture. We now need to wish for some heavy rains to fill the aquifer over the summer.
In the vegetable garden, the tomato harvest should begin for the large-fruited selections and continue for the cherry tomatoes. It is not too late to plant pepper and eggplant transplants. Okra and southern peas can still be planted by seed early in the month.
The last of the onions should mature in June. The tops will flop over when they are done growing. Store them in mesh bags in an air conditioned room, if you have the space. If not, a picnic table in the shade works nearly as well.
This is the best time to prune out the spent floricanes in your blackberry patch. This will make room for the new canes that will bear next spring’s fruit.
The peaches that mature in June are larger than the May varieties. The freestones also begin to be available. You can recognize a peach as being ready to harvest when the background color changes from green to gold or yellow. Maintain your insecticide and fungicide spray program until harvest time. Check the pesticide labels to see how much time must be allowed between the last spray and harvest.
If you are growing blueberries in containers, the birds usually wait until the fruit colors before they raid the bushes. Cover the plants early in the month with bird netting before the fruit turns blue.
In the flower garden, plant zinnias or cosmos for cut flowers. Vincas, moss roses and purslane are good bedding and container plants for full sun. Deer do not eat vinca and may not eat zinnias.
For the shade, use begonias, caladiums, penta, and coleus for color. Penta and begonias are excellent container plants. Penta is the best choice to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Begonias and vinca have the best drought tolerance, but none of the summer annuals are xeriscape plants. For perennial color, it is time to plant Goldstar esperanza, poinciana, duranta, firebush and thyrallis. Thyrallis and esperanza are deer proof. All of the hot-weather perennials on this list do best in full sun. They are excellent xeriscape plants.
The lawn should be growing at its best this month. If you did not fertilize in May, consider using a slow-release lawn fertilizer such as 19-5-9 early this month. It is also time to apply a soil insecticide for grubs if the pests were a problem in the lawn last year.
Visit the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) website to learn about all the incentives and information that SAWS has to improve your landscapes water use efficiency. It is well worth the time.
The roses should continue to provide blooms through June. Remove spent blooms to encourage more blooms. It is also important to continue the spray program on your hybrid tea roses. The tough modern roses and old-fashioned roses should continue to perform well without a spray program.
Hummingbird young of the season will begin showing up at your sugar water feeders and blooms. Rinse out the feeder and refill it with one part sugar and four parts water by volume every week. American goldfinches have left for their northern breeding grounds, but our resident lesser goldfinches will be feeding on sunflower seeds growing in the garden. They will also come on the patio after basil seeds. Put thistle seed in a tube feeder and hang it from the eaves to bring them in close.
Calvin Finch Ph.D. is a horticulturist.
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