June 2013 To-Do List: Mid-Atlantic

Susan Wells

WeedStopWeed season is well underway in June, and it is best to control them before they get well established.  Dig weeds when the soil is moist to help remove the entire root system if you can.  Many weeds will re-grow from the tiniest bits of root left behind, especially dandelions.  If not opposed to chemicals, apply liquid weed control to lawns.  Be cautious of drift to perennials, shrubs and trees.  In flower garden beds, paint some of the leaves of unwanted plants with weed-killer, don’t spray.  Don’t use chemicals in the vegetable garden; use mulch instead.

Annuals

•    For less stress on the plants, transplant annuals, perennials, and shrubs in the cool part of the day and ahead of a stretch of cooler weather.

•    Help new plantings, container gardens, and transplants by watering deeply after planting and often for several days afterward.

•    Sow seeds of nasturtiums and zinnias directly in the ground.

Perennials

•    Divide and transplant spring-flowering perennials that have finished blooming.

•    Clip off the dead flowers from your coreopsis, garden phlox, dianthus, feverfew, daisies, and yarrow to encourage re-bloom.

•    Pinch back mums and asters to make them bushy and increase their late summer and fall blooming.

•    Divide Dutch iris after they finish blooming. Remove the flower stalks and cut the fans of leaves down to about six inches.

Vegetables

•    Peppers and eggplants should be staked as the fruit begins to set to keep from them toppling as fruit ripens.

•    Most tomato plants will need stakes or cages, and it is best to install them while the plants are still small. Rebar, a steel bar made for reinforcing concrete, makes a very sturdy stake.

•    Onions don’t do well with competition from weeds so keep your onion bed well weeded, but be sure not to disturb the onions’ shallow roots in the process. Give onions a dose of a low-nitrogen soluble fertilizer such as fish emulsion when the tops are about 6 inches tall and again just as they begin to bulb up.

•    Mid June is time to start your seedlings of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage for the fall garden.

•    Gardens need an inch of water a week from rain or from you. Check your rain gauge. When you water, soak deeply in the root zone.

•    When potato stems reach 6 inches in length, cover all but the top 2 inches with soil, shredded leaves, or weed-free straw.

•    Select heat-resistant varieties of salad greens and sow small amounts every 10 days. Plant on the shady side of a tomato row or of pole beans, not in the full sun.

•    Discontinue cutting asparagus when the spears become thin. After a thorough weeding, apply 12-12-12 fertilizer at 2 pounds per 100 square feet, water well, and apply a new layer of mulch.

•    As soon as cucumbers and squash start to vine it is time to start spraying for cucumber beetles and squash vine bores. Or you can wait until near the end of June to plant cucurbits to skip the borer season.,

•    The more we pick, the more the veggies will produce. Snip or snap off sugar and garden peas as the pods fill. Remove summer squashes while they are still small, tender and tasty.

Trees/Shrubs

•    Prune spring flowering shrubs, such as lilacs and azaleas now.

•    Mulch around woody plants after cleaning away weeds and grass, but don’t pile thick mulch against trunks or rodents and insects will use it as cover as they eat the bark.

•    Take softwood cuttings of Buddleia, Weigela, and Rose-of-Sharon, among other shrubs, to propagate more plants inexpensively.

Lawn/Turf

•    Train your lawn to grow deep roots; mow often, at a high setting. Water deeply once a week, not more.

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