Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Potager in June


Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June. ~ Al Bernstein
 
Well, as with most years here on the island, June is wet and cool, after a lovely month of May. Not sure where Al Bernstein lived when he wrote this quote, but likely not in the PNW ; )
 
Delilah eating peas...
 
The positive to this weather is that you peas will love it, the greens, lettuce's, radishes, and cool weather crop will continue to thrive and not go to seed, so keep planting and enjoying!
 
 
 The negative is, of course, that this would be the time to plant warm weather crops and is much too cool for them to thrive.


 
Once the weather warms and the rains subside, this is the time to plant these guys from seed (or transplants) ...
 
Veggies
- corn
- beans, all kinds
- cucumbers
- squashes
- zucchini
- pumpkins
- tomatoes, peppers and eggplants can finally go outside
- continue planting beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, lettuce, chard, scallions and spinach

Keep in mind when planting the new lettuces, spinach, radishes, etc.. this month, that they tend to bolt in the heat. Plant them in shade, or in an area where you can create shade for them either with plants, trellises, or shade cloth.
 
Flowers from seed
- zinnias
- sunflowers
- cosmos
- nasturtiums
 
Herbs
- dill
- basil
- oregano
- thyme
- sage

Soil Tests
Is not too late to do a soil test, if you think that your soil is lacking in nutrients. Many have said to me that they are just going to throw in all kinds of stuff, manure, compost, whatever, without bothering with the test. This may be a huge waste of money as you may not be adding the right items to deal with the problem.
Two years ago I thought that pH was my issue, however, luckily enough, did a soil test before adding lime... I found that my pH was ideal, my K (potassium) was fabulous, but I had little to no nitrogen or phosphorus in my soil. It would have made no difference, or not a positive one anyway, if I had followed my instincts to add more Sea Soil and lime.
The soil tests literally take no time at all and are super easy to do, cost peanuts.... and give you a whole whack of information that you really do need to grow a fabulous garden.

Other
- Snap off the tulip, alllium, daffodil stems from finished plants in order to put the strenght back into the bulbs. Leave the foliage be until it has yellowed, cutting it down towards the end of the month.

- Watch for aphids, whitefly and tent caterpillars this spring.
With the caterpillars, is best to remove the tent, cutting it out, and then burning or squishing the caterpillars. Aphids can be controlled with a strong jet of water, insecticidal soap sprays, or ladybugs. However, with ladybugs, they may go to your neighbours yard before finishing the job at your house, so is not always an economical option ; ) Whitefly is harder to deal with, but staying vigilant and spraying with insecticidal soap whenever sighted. should do the trick.

- Pinch out your tomato suckers each week.

- Feed your potted veggies each week, or at half strength each time you water.

- Feed baskets, planters, grow bags, of annuals once a week, or again at half strength each watering.

I have yet to find a really effective organic fertiliser for my hanging baskets and other potted plants.
Therefore, my rule of thumb is now, if I do not eat it, is okay to use a 20-20-20 or 10-15-10 type feed.
However if it is an edible flower, a herb, or veggie, I only use organic feeds, sometimes alfalfa tea, sometimes manure tea, compost tea, alfalfa pellets, or liquefied fish or seaweed as a foliar spray.