– Continue planting warm-season crops like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Shorter-season tomatoes need only 55 to 65 days to grow, flower and fruit.
– Keep lettuce and spinach harvested. Cool-season plants will soon begin to bolt (go to seed) and lose their flavor and texture.
– Plant basil seeds now and keep the bed or container evenly moist during germination. Continue to plant seeds every three weeks during the summer to use for pesto, salads and sandwiches. Pinch off flowers to maintain the best flavor. Be sure to harvest the leaves all summer, especially younger leaves. Pinching right above a set of leaves will make the plant bushier.
– Remove and compost disease-free pea vines, lettuce, spinach and other cool-season crops. Seed the open area with more crops such as beans, basil or cover crops.
– Keep plants deadheaded (remove the spent flowers) unless you’re saving seed heads to feed birds, or allowing rose hips to add color in fall.
– Divide spring-blooming perennials and replant in other parts of the garden or share with others. Divide in the cool of the morning or evening and water well after planting.
– Pinch back chrysanthemums weekly until the Fourth of July to keep the plant from blooming too early.
– Fertilize roses every two to four weeks with a balanced fertilizer or specially formulated rose food.
– Cut off spent flowers of both annuals and perennials all season for continued bloom.
– Iris plants generally need dividing every three to four years and can be done anytime after they are finished flowering, by August at the latest. Discard diseased segments and cut leaves down to 6 inches. Spread the roots and place the top third of the rhizome (rootstalk) above the soil surface
– Keep containers watered in hot weather (sometimes twice a day), and fertilize with a liquid fertilizer every other evening (we use Tiger Bloom on our flowering baskets).
– Thin tree fruits this month for larger and sweeter fruit and to reduce limb damage. Apples: thin to 6-8 inches between fruit; peaches, 6-10 inches; apricots and plums 2-4 inches. (Cherries generally don’t need thinning.) Thin by hand or use a pole.
– Protect ripening June-bearing strawberries from birds and squirrels with protective 1/4- to-1/2-inch mesh netting. Stake well to prevent birds from getting underneath and injuring themselves.
– Tomato blossoms may be drying up or not forming fruit because of temperatures in the 90s, and blossom-set sprays will not work at higher temperatures. Use a shade cloth or wait out the hot spell for blossoms to form fruit.
– A sticky substance on leaves or pavement or ants climbing trees is a sign of aphids. Hose them of and then use Neem oil or an insecticidal soap.
– Watch for signs of spider mites on ornamental evergreens such as spruce and arborvitae. As with aphids, hose off plants to reduce populations and the use Neem oil or a soap based organic pesticide.
– You might see flea-beetle damage on lower leaves of tomatoes, especially younger plants. The leaves will have small shot holes or pits. Many vegetables can outgrow the damage, but if you need to take action try neem, pyrethrins or spinosad.
– By late June, potato and tomato psyllids may have arrived. The best defense is recognizing and catching them when they move in for the summer. Psyllid eggs laid on leaves (either side) are small and yellow. The green nymphs feed on leaves and secrete waxy beads known as “psyllid sugar.” Your plants look like they’ve been showered with sugar and will eventually turn purplish in color. Scout for eggs on a daily basis and squish them. Insecticidal soaps and sulfur dust may be helpful for the eggs, but to control the adult population use neem, pyrethrins or spinosad (hit both sides of leaves).
– Powdery mildew affects ornamentals, trees, roses and vegetables. It will look like your plants have been sprinkled with white talcum powder. Control powdery mildew with Neem oil or an organic fungicide.
– The Mexican bean beetle (it looks like a lady bug on steroids) and the Colorado potato beetle feed on leaf backs, leaving them skeletonized (chewed, thinned leaves). Scout your plants daily and pick off adults and squish larvae or eggs. Scout for eggs on a daily basis and squish them. Insecticidal soaps and sulfur dust may be helpful for the eggs, but to control the adult population use Neem, pyrethrins or spinosad (hit both sides of leaves).
Grasshoppers are here!!!
This year is going to be bad. With the lack of winter weather we had, we are going to have a HUGE population of grasshoppers. We had them in February and now the next batch is hatching out. Time to use the only OMRI, biological (and extremely effective) insecticide, Nosema locustae.
Here at New Castle Gardens we try to source as locally as possible. We usually carry Nolo Bait (from M & R Durango). Sadly, they suffered a devastating fire (thankfully no one was harmed) and we have had to source from out of state. Please keep them in your thoughts for a quick rebuild. We currently have Semaspore in stock, but anticipate shortages of it. Get your Nosema while we have it in stock.