To-Do List: Hawaii

R. L. Rhodes
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June marks the beginning of summer, which brings families out of doors for luaus, beach parties, hikes and just plain relaxation. If you planted a vegetable garden, it should be well under way by June. Your lawn doesn’t even need fertilizer this time of year. Aside from a few low-maintenance tasks around your yard, June should be a time to enjoy your friends, ohana and nature.

  • Fertilize vegetables. Vegetable gardens will benefit from a monthly feeding of a balanced plant food in June. However, give tomatoes a lower nitrogen formula, sometimes called a “blossom booster” plant food, to encourage more fruit. Choose a plant food designed for veggies or mix up a batch of fish emulsion and apply your fertilizer according to package label instructions.
  • Mulch gardens and landscape beds. Because the weather in June is often drier than Hawaii’s rainy winter, all of your plants will appreciate a layer of mulch to conserve soil moisture and keep the soil nice and cool. Choose packaged mulch or organic compost and spread a thick layer around the base of your vegetables, fruit trees, ornamentals and other plants. Mulch will help prevent weeds and will also give your plants some nutrients as it breaks down.
  • Clean up the garden and yard. Prune dead and yellowing palm fronds, tree branches, low-hanging fruit and all plants whose rampant growth is overtaking the areas where they grow. Also rake up fallen leaves and dropped fruit to prevent fruit flies, slugs and other bothersome critters.
  • Start a compost pile. June is prime time for starting a compost pile or adding to an existing one. Chop up your cuttings a bit to add fresh, green, nitrogen-rich organic matter to the compost pile. Also add dried brown leaves and other plant parts to give your compost the carbon it needs. Stack alternating layers of green and brown material in a commercial composter bin or on the ground. Water the pile and turn it occasionally, or when you add new materials. If you wish, you can cover your compost pile with a tarp. In about three months, you can use the decomposed materials as mulch and natural fertilizer.
  • Keep up with lawn care. Although you needn’t fertilize lawns in June or other summer months, be sure to keep your lawn well watered if rains do not occur. It’s best to water your lawn deeply once or twice a week rather than watering it a little bit every day. Mow on a regular basis, but not too short if you want to keep your lawn looking green and healthy. Pull weeds and control insect pests before they get out of control.

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