Tuesday, 3 June 2014

June Ramblings

The month of May was pretty fabulous all in all this year.. lots of sun, some rain, gardens are thriving... and so here we are in the month of June, already!

Baby limes on the Bearrs lime!

June is the month of sunshine and strawberries, of peas and gardens planted, sitting back to water, pinch, and enjoy...

Honeoye June-bearing strawberries

What to plant this month...
This is it, this is the big month, the time to plant out all your warm weather crops.
However, please keep in mind that the weather can be pretty iffy so if we get some cool weather, wet weather, etc... please cover your warm weather crops!
Also, harden off your plants by gradually accustoming them to the outdoor conditions... if you were to simply buy them and plunk them out into the garden on a 24 C sunny day, you would likely find yourself with a real bad case of sunburn!  

From Seed
- cucumbers
- zucchini's 
- pumpkins
- beans
- squash
- cabbage
- basil!
From transplants
- tomatoes
- peppers
- cucumbers
- zucchini's and other squashes
- eggplants 
- cabbage
- basil!

You can also still sow another batch of ..
- beets, carrots,  shallots, onions, and more peas.

Start now for your fall/winter garden
- leeks
- Brussels sprouts
- Broccoli
- Onions

Cool weather crops like lettuce, spinach, radishes, Chinese greens, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.. will bolt (go to seed) in the heat of the summer. Wait till late summer with it's cooler, shorter days to sow the seeds for those.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden bed in a shady area that stays nice and cool, you can still get away with growing these guys throughout the summer, or create your own shady area by planting tall heat loving veggies out front.

In The Potager.... 

The potatoes are doing super well!
The seed potatoes were planted out in late April this year, into trenches about 6 to 8 inches deep and covered with 4 inches of soil.
They were just recently hilled up, meaning that I covered the green potato tops with about 6 inches of soil, leaving just the top 2 inches or so of greenery above the soil level.
This week , I will hill them up one more time as they are growing so fast and so well. That will be it for hilling and fussing this year. Then we simply water once a week throughout the summer, waiting for flowering and harvest ... though I will likely harvest some of the new baby potatoes to enjoy for the  mid-summers festivities on June 21st.
Onions and the rest of the allium family 

These Tropeana Tonda onion transplants/seedlings were sizing up nicely in the 6 packs! I had not had time during greenhouse season to plant them up, so these guys simply  had to wait..Seems that they were just fine with that ; ) They are now in the ground and will be harvested in late summer...

When planting onions from transplants... plant in a trench to the top of the bulb, water in, cut off the tops so that they are only about 1 inch tall. This is something I generally do in April!

 Garlic bed #2

The garlic beds have grown really well, with no assistance from me whatsoever since planting time last October. I have not watered, I have not fed, but I have put up a small fence to keep the dogs from dancing in the bed. Ruby Tuesday especially seemed to think that was great fun....
I wanted to see how well the soil performed on it's own, without any other amendments, as we built the beds last fall and filled them with a somewhat pricey premium garden blend. 
The beds will be amended with organic matter in late summer, however, before being planted up with garlic again this autumn. 

     Garlic scapes - so scrumptious1
Garlic scapes, the curly tops, will begin to form this month. Cut them off when they are fresh, tender and new, as this helps the garlic bulbs to size/bulk up. Enjoy the trimmings in salads, stir-fries, sauteed with olive oil and sea salt, or add anywhere that you would use garlic, for they are scrumptious! Do not let them get too old and woody though.

Strawberries (in front of bed), carrots and shallots.

These are the June-bearing strawberries so they are covered in berries even though I just planted them a month or so ago. Each year, both the plants and the berries will get bigger and better.

Cover the berries with netting to keep birds from eating all the fruit before you do!

I have succession planted carrots, about 2 weeks apart, throughout the beds, so we will enjoy many assorted varieties...
This year I am growing Cosmic Purple, Atomic Red, Sunshine Mix (yellow and orange), Midas Touch (huge!), and Parisian Market (the wee round ones), as well as, the stand-byes that I plant annually and so adore... Half-long Danvers, Chantenay, and Scarlet Nantes.

What can I say about the shallots? They look great.... can be harvested now for greens and young immature, yummy, sweet shallots... or leave till later, cure and enjoy for months.

Wall-o-water tomato trial...

I have been testing the Wall-O-Water this year to see how the tomato fares and to decide whether I think that the device is worth the time and money investment.
This one has tripled in size, is lush and green, has flowers on it, and is now a few inches taller than the cloche.  Remember how puny it was a few weeks back? 
Therefore, I definitely think that the wall-o-water has helped to keep this tomato toasty and warm and is worth purchasing!  

Wall--o-water tomato at planting time.

I also planted another tomato beside this one for comparisons sake, to see how it would fare.. As we have had a lovely May this year, I think the difference would have been more drastic in a cooler year. However, this year, the other tomato is happy enough, has no yellowing or purple-ing foliage, which is a great sign and it is also flowering. It is not quite as tall or lush as the protected one, but is a happy enough tomato plant. In  a cooler year it would have been stunted, purple in colour and would have  pouted for several months before starting to produce.

The comparison plant... is doing well, though not as tall or bushy

 I have tomatoes in the greenhouse... on three of the cherry varieties...
Riesentraube, Acadian Cherry and Farthest North.
 Lettuce and Sweet Allysum

A great companion planting combination is lettuce with Sweet Allysum. The Allysum brings in the good bugs that eat the bad bugs and also works as a carpet that keeps weeds at bay between the rows.. The bonus is that it looks and smells super pretty, too.

My peas had to wait this year till the beds were built, so got them in a bit later than usual. However, they are coming along, have started to flower, and so there will soon be peas! Yay!

Here is a teaser photo of part of the back yard potager area...

We are still setting up the back area with irrigation for both the potager, the greenhouse, and the orchard-to-be. Therefore, I'm not really taking any photos of the potager in it's entirety yet, as it still much too ugly while this job is in progress ; )
All in good time, as they say... though I am very impatient to see it done!

Bits and Bobs

Plums are simply loaded this year! What a great year we are gong to have!

The alliums are blooming... my absolute favourite spring blooms...
Deer and bunny proof, gorgeous, hardy, come back year after year.
A. christophii and A. shubertii

Blue Girl Hybrid Tea at the greenhouse this year. 
Stunning, as always.

Roses... they will bloom their hearts out this month..
To help keep up their energies, scratch some bonemeal and some alfalfa or blood meal around each one.

Water your hanging baskets well each day, watering till the water drips through the bottom.
If they have dried out in between waterings, you will need to re-hydrate them in order to enable to take up water again. This means you should either take the basket down and plunge it into a bucket of water for an hours or so ... or alternatelywater with wand till dripping, come back 5 or 10 minutes later and do it again, wait 5 or 10 minutes and repeat!

Fertilise baskets with a water soluble feed every second week, even if you used a slow release granular feed at planting time. Regular watering, feeding, deadheading and pinching will keep your baskets and planters happy, lush and blooming all summer long.

Blueberries are my personal favourite berry and fruit.
These Chandler Blueberries have the largest flowers that I have ever seen! All the blueberries are flowering and fruiting already in their one gallon pots, sitting out in the nursery!

Blueberries are self-fertile but produce more fruit and thrive better if they have friends of another variety to keep them company.Therefore, if you are planting 2 or 3 blueberry bushes on the property, choose several different varieties instead of just one kind.

Planting blueberries ... you will need really acidic soil, a 4.5 to a 5.5 pH. To organically achieve this you will want to add lots of pine needles, composted bark, coffee grounds, compost and all kinds of organic material like leaf mould, shredded leaves, grass clippings... You can also start by adding a bale of peat moss, but keep in mind that peat moss, though organic and acidic, is not considered a renewable resource. If possible, prepare your soil up to a year in advance so that it has time to change the pH of the soil! 

Chandler - I have not yet tasted this one but from the size of the blossoms, I would say that the berries are going to be huge! Is a late fruiting variety that is very hardy and prolific.
Chippewa - This berry is a bit on the smaller side but is super sweet. Is my most favourite, must have blueberry variety. Most articles say it has a larger berry, so perhaps it depends on which berry one compares to? Is smaller than a Duke, but otherwise a good size. 
Duke - A large berried, great, reliable blueberry here on the island. A mid season fruiting berry, very large berries and a great producer.
Polaris - A shorter shrub, only about 4 feet tall, used to be the one often recommended for patio pots before the dwarf patio blueberries entered the scene. Tasty and super hardy.
Blue Crop - A really reliable and heavy producer, good and hardy, often the one grown by market growers.Very high yields and is fruiting already while sitting in the nursery in a one gallon pot!

The dwarf patio blueberries only grow from 1 to 2 feet tall and wide, making them perfect for pots and planters or smaller yardscapes. Peach Sorbet, Top Hat, and Jelly Bean.

The Fourth Of July - a stunning, colourful, delicious, climbing rose

Happy gardening!

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