Saturday, 4 June 2016

June Garden Ramblings

So here we are at the start of another month and the end of the spring 2016 season at the greenhouse.

Folks are often surprised to hear that I close for the summer, but it has always been thus. By the end of May or early June, most folks pretty much have their gardens in. Therefore, as a kitchen gardening greenhouse, it seems like a pretty reasonable time to shut down...

Plus, I must admit, by this time I am pretty much pooped right out, too ; ) 

So... Tis gardening season for me now ...

Heirloom Blue Podded Peas

 What is going on in the garden right now? 

While May was unseasonably hot and dry, June began with grey skies and the occasional drizzles. This certainly makes it easier to keep seeds moist till they germinate.

Germinating carrot seeds

Carrot seeds can take  a really long time to germinate.. anywhere from 7 to 21 days and must be kept moist the entire time or you risk losing them all. Therefore, using burlap sacks or sheets helps to keep your seeds moist while conditions are windy or hot with no rain in sight.

Place the burlap over the seeds after you have sown and watered them in. Water through the sack daily, soaking everything. Start lifting the sack after about 7 days to check for new growth, remove when you see tiny little seedlings as in the above picture.

Use this trick to start any seeds you like, though check on them earlier than you would carrots, as most will germinate in 3 to 7 days.

Green Globe Artichokes 

The artichokes have over wintered just fine and are putting on chokes like crazy already! They sure did love this mild winter that we had, as I must have a dozen of them already!

Water them once or twice a week, really well, side dress with manure or compost if you feel that they need to be fed. Do not worry about the bottom leaves yellowing, they are the oldest leaves and it is just natural die back. Remove and toss into the compost bin.

Bolting lettuce mix

Some of your spring sown veggies will bolt this month. This is also a natural process. Cool weather crops do not like the heat, they are sown in cool temps, they enjoy the cooler temps, and they go to seed when the hot weather hits. The cool weather crops are things like lettuce, greens, radishes, spinach, and sometimes broccoli and kale, too.

Simply remove these guys, toss them into your compost bin and plant hot weather crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, beans, etc.. in their stead.

Heirloom Blue Podded Peas

Remember that the more you harvest, they more they produce. This applies to pretty much everything, but right now am thinking mostly about peas and sweet peas. If you don't pick them often and regularly, they will quickly start to die off.

When they start to turn yellow and no longer produce, remove the vines and replace with not weather loving pole or bush beans.


Keep checking your garlic! Now that the scapes have formed, keep an eye on the bottom leaves. When 3 of them have turned yellow or brown, is time to start thinking about pulling them.

You can brush around the bulb a little bit, see if they are okay, not splitting and decide whether to pull them or leave them another few days. When four leaves have turned brown, I start to get nervous and generally lift my garlic.

Softneck garlic - Is probably ready to be lifted now! Check your bottom leaves and do not wait too long or your garlic bulbs will have split and so will not cure or keep!

More about garlic to come in a week or two...  

Tomatoes all went into the potager this year

I generally grow the majority of my tomatoes in the greenhouse and hoop house, with only about a dozen plants out in the garden beds.

However, last year proved to be much too hot for tomatoes in my super hot, south facing greenhouse. To keep the flowers from going sterile in the heat, I had to keep the fan going (a lot) and was constantly soaking the greenhouse down to keep it cool. Not a fan of wasting resources like water and power.

Therefore, this year they are all going into the garden instead, while the greenhouse holds the heat loving peppers and eggplants ; )

If you are using a greenhouse for tomatoes this summer, invest in shade cloth, or grow tall plants on the south/west side to help keep it cooler.

Roses are happy and blooming away this year... but sadly both powdery mildew and black spot started really early, too.

Powdery mildew is easily treated on smooth leafed plants like roses. Mix one part skim milk with 9 parts water, spray on affected foliage, repeat once or twice. The mildew will be choked out by the milk and turns dark as it dies.

Oddly enough, this is also the one time that you can spray down your foliage with water. I know, I know.. how crazy is that?! If you are just starting to get mildew on your roses, spraying the buds and foliage with a good strong jet or spray of water will wash off the spores just as they are beginning to form. Do this in the morning, never ever in the evening!

Black spot is not so easily treated. Remove any spotted foliage and clean up debris around the shrub. Ensure that you have good air flow, water in mornings only, at ground level. There is a product out by Safer's that is said to prevent new spots from forming, but you have to remove the old diseased foliage first. It is not a cure, but a preventative.

So... what to plant this month?

Chances are, you already have most of your garden in. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squashes, all the heat lovers can go outside, into the garden or pots this month.

What can you plant from seed now? Just about everything!

- Beans
- Beets
- Broccoli
- Cabbage
- Carrots
- Cucumbers
- Kohlrabi
- Parsnips
- Pumpkins
- Squash - all kinds

You can also succession sow lettuce and cilantro, which quickly bolt in the heat, so keep new ones coming by seeding every two weeks.

Plums - going to be a bumper crop this year! 

Happy Growing! 

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