June Garden Tips

Like fresh tomatoes but have little space? ‘Patio’ tomatoes grow in a 24-inch pot but give mouth-watering fruit!

A half whiskey barrel makes an excellent container for a cherry tomato and three basil plants. Adorn cocktail toast with cheese, a tomato slice and a basil leaf for a mouthful of instant bruchetta.

Use garden herbs often in your kitchen. The plants grow best when leaves and branches are harvested regularly.

The best time to harvest most herbs is just before flowering, when the leaves contain the maximum essential oils. Cut herbs early on a sunny day.

Attract beneficial insects, such as lady bugs, to the vegetable garden by planting dill, fennel, verbena and zinnia nearby. Use wheat straw mulch to attract predatory beetles.

Big green caterpillars on parsley and fennel are the precursors to beautiful swallowtail butterflies. Try not to kill them if you can help it.

Plant some sweet corn. ‘Silver Queen’ and ‘Truckers’ Favorite’ are excellent for a backyard garden but ‘Kandy Korn’ and ‘Seneca Sweet’ are also delicious.

Plan a pick-your-own food excursion with your kids. Click here for nearby pick-your-own farm markets.

Pick okra and squash regularly. Just one fully ripe fruit halts blooming on the entire plant.

Once herbs are growing nicely, stop fertilizing. They develop better taste when slightly stressed.

Mulch your vegetable garden. Try using three sheets of newspaper to cover the ground around each plant, then cover the paper with straw or leaves.
Otherwise, pine straw or wheat straw by itself works fine.

Water your cucumbers regularly to prevent them from having a bitter taste.

Keep those fresh vegetables coming! Time for another planting of corn, squash and beans.

Fertilize tomatoes regularly. The plants should grow vigorously in order to make flowers and fruit. Extra produce? Donate it to Plant a Row for the Hungry.

Fertilize fruit and pecan trees with 10-10-10, at a rate of one pound per one hundred square feet of ground beneath the tree. Repeat in Sept.

Examine peach and cherry trees for cracked bark and oozing gum. Borers are not usually the cause. Planting too deep and low pH soil are more common afflictions.

Control fire ants in a vegetable garden or compost pile by sprinkling fire ant bait around the perimeter of the garden or bin. Or use organic poisons containing spinosad or citrus oil.

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