JOBS THIS MONTH
- Continue to amend your garden soil with compost when you are putting in new plants.
- Adding those nutrients to the soil will give a great boost to new plants and loosen the soil so the roots can grow healthy and strong.
- Healthy roots will mean stronger, more beautiful plants that can combat any insect, diseases and pest damage that may occur.
- Start removing all spent flowers to encourage more blooms.
- Newly seeded plants need to be accustomed to the outdoors or hardened off
- Gradually put the seedlings outside for longer periods of time per day in a shaded area since the hot sun can dry the plants
- They need to be able to withstand the cooler nighttime temperatures as well.
- Keep an eye on these plants until they recover completely. Watering when needed is essential.
- Remember, any unused seeds need to be placed in an airtight container and stored in a cool, dry spot.
- Pull or hoe weeds out of your garden beds and vegetable gardens.
- Make sure you get the entire root if possible.
- Be diligent about weeding to keep weeds under control.
- Mulching between plants will also keep weeds controlled.
- Turn the compost pile and start adding material (cut in smaller pieces) from your garden cleanup and appropriate kitchen scraps.
- No meat or dairy products.
- Use that great compost in your garden whenever you can.
- If you are planting new Peonies, remove the blooms the 1st year to help the plant set strong roots.
- Cut the buds off to ensure no blooms.
- Leave as much foliage as possible to strengthen the entire plant.
- Don’t fret over ants; just blow or brush them off.
- Aphids, slugs, diseases, weeds and animals are starting to become problems in the garden so be watchful for those signs in your garden.
- Use environmentally friendly controls whenever possible. If problems are caught early or preventive methods are used before the problems develop the entire plant won’t be affected.
- Slug control with collars or bait will get slugs in their tiny stage and easier to control.
- A bottle of Tabasco sauce mixed in a gallon of water and sprayed on plants usually keeps rabbits away.
- Insecticidal soaps on the foliage can keep away many aphids or mites.
- Make sure all the vine supports are sturdy and repaired.
- Some groundcover can be trimmed and renovated now.
PLANTING IN THE GARDEN
- Any planting needs to start with good soil. Amend soil prior to planting.
- You should be planting in earnest in your garden beds and vegetable garden.
- Remember the ultimate height and width of plants when you are planting.
- Give plants the needed space for growth.
- Make sure shorter plants are in front so they get the needed sunshine.
- Make sure all plants are watered prior to transplanting so the root system can transition better.
- The planting hole needs to be twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball of the plant.
- Shake as much of the artificial soil mix off the plant as possible and mix that soil with the garden soil.
- Set the plant at the depth it was growing, spread the roots and fill the hole. Pat down gently into the soil.
- Water in to soak and then water again to soak.
- Mulching is a good idea, so the plant doesn’t dry out in the summer heat.
- Remember new plants need to get used to weather, heat and soil, so water every day (within reason) until they are established.
- Watering in the morning is best so all the water goes to the plant and not back into the atmosphere in the heat of the day.
- Annuals need a liquid mix consisting of water and 20:20:20 fertilizer (one cupful per plant) applied to newly transplanted plants to give them a good start.
- Thereafter a monthly fertilizer mix (10:10:10) will be needed on annuals throughout the growing season.
- Newly planted perennials and biennials will need an application of a 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 fertilizer mix or time release fertilizer.
- Established perennials and biennials are fertilized in the spring and usually only once a season.
- Established plants should have had a spring fertilizer application of a 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 fertilizer mix (providing 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet). This application should be sufficient for perennials and biennials for the entire season.
- Soak in new plants immediately. Water early in the morning so the plants soak up their moisture needs before the heat of the day.
- Keep a watchful eye on newly planted plants, especially annuals which need more water than others.
- Established perennials and biennials need infrequent watering.
- If a drought occurs and the plants wilt, apply 1 inch of water early in the day so the plants dry before the temperatures drop and get the full benefit of the water.
- Continue to cut off faded blooms to allow the energy to go back into the bulb for next season instead of into seed developing.
- Protect the foliage of the bulb as this is where the bulb gets its energy for next season.
- Braiding of bulb leaves will create a pocket for water to collect and rot the plant and bulb. Instead hide the old leaves with other emerging perennials (such as daylilies or hosta).
- Cut back leaves if necessary when they are completely yellow.
- Fertilize after the blooms fade.
- Mix the fertilizer with the soil at the base of the bulb (not on the leaves or you’ll kill the leaves so no energy is developed for next year’s bulb)
- Clean, divide and dust with fungicide for planting this month.
- If you haven’t already tried summer bulbs now would be a great time to try them out to expand your plantings or fill in where something is missing.
- You should already have cleaned up the beds, rototilled and added amendments to the soil as needed. If not: do it now!
Garden Ornaments or Supports
- Clean and repair any garden ornaments or supports that you are putting back into your vegetable garden.
Cool Season Crops
- Continue to harvest all spring crops, but once the heat of summer begins it is time to remove and make room for more summer crops.
- In late June, stop harvesting asparagus and fertilize (helps next year’s crop). The asparagus foliage is a great backdrop during the remainder of the season.
- Check to see which vegetables can be direct sowed and plant according to directions.
- Harvest strawberries as they mature. By July 4th, strawberry season is done.
- Summer season crops should be in ground and starting to mature. By the end of the month you could be planting a 2nd crop of beans, sweet corn and late cucumbers.
- Early June is the time to sow seeds for Halloween pumpkins.
- Leave enough room for their massive expansion, unless you are growing bush types.
- If you have trellised the pumpkin vine, plan for the future support of the maturing pumpkin. Sometimes rags tied at the corners can create a parachute or cradle for the maturing pumpkins.
- Self-blanching types blanch on their own.
- All others need to be blanched by tying the leaves over the developing heads.
- Harvest about 7-12 days later.
- “Determinate” tomatoes are bush types that send up a flush of tomatoes all at once and then are finished.
- “Indeterminate” tomatoes are a vine type that will continue to produce fruit on the new growth until the end of the season.
- When choosing tomatoes to plant, choose types that bear fruit early, midseason and late so you will have a continual crop through the season.
- Remember tomatoes will bear lots of sweet fruit if planted in the sun.
- Give tomatoes moderately fertile soil.
- Too much nitrogen will give you lots of green leaves, but very few tomatoes.
- Mulching conserves water and controls weeds.
- Hoe out any weeds and apply a 2-3-inch layer of mulch around plants.
- Apply monthly a complete fertilizer (10:10:10) using one pound per 100 sq. ft. of garden.
- Keep all fertilizer off plants to avoid burning.
- Water in immediately– fertilizers does won’t work without watering.
- Water mixed fertilizers do just as well.
- Monitor for insects, diseases, and animals.
- Control methods for soil borne and transplant diseases should be implemented. Use environmentally friendly controls whenever possible.
- Do not overwater as many diseases can develop.
- Animal damage is hard to control, and many methods are available. Fencing may be the most reliable control.
- Your summer garden has barely gotten underway, but now is the time to start sowing the seeds of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli in your garden.
- Also start planning what other fall crops you will be planting.
- Before planting any rose prepare the site for planting by adding organic matter.
- When planting dig each hole twice the diameter of the container and deep enough that the buds of the plant can be set at the soil line.
- Carefully knock plants out of the container (or if bare root separate from packaging) and set in hole. Backfill halfway with soil (should be that great organic soil mix) and fill the holes with water.
- Replace the remaining soil into the hole and soak the area with water.
- Any extra soil from hole can be left as a ring around the planting hole to hold water.
- Mulching is a great way to conserve water and even moisture on the roses.
- Roses need about 1 inch of water per week. Usually, there is enough rain at this time of year. Do not water unless the soil is dry.
- Water at soil level if possible since soil borne diseases are prevalent with overhead watering or from water splashing on the leaves.
- Fertilize roses after the first flush of flowers with water soluble (Peters or RapidGro or other rose fertilizer) following directions for mixing on the package, and apply 1-2 cupfuls per plant. OR use granular 10:10:10 (or something similar) using 1 handful spread evenly around each rose.
- WATER in to soak and wash off fertilizer spilled on plants.
- Monitor roses every few days for insect and disease problems.
- Use a baking soda spray as preventive for mildew and black spot.
- Roses are at their peak; now is the time to evaluate roses for next year.
- New lawns or renovation can be completed if there is sufficient water available to keep it wet during the summer.
- The disadvantage is the weed seeds of crabgrass and foxtail germinate now, so weeds may be a future problem.
- Sodding will eliminate these problems with weed seeds.
- Lawn renovations or new installations are best done in the fall.
- New, renovated or sodded lawns need light, daily watering.
- Don’t overwater or you will bring on other disease problems.
- Grasses don’t need water until they begin to wilt (when footprints don’t spring back after you walk on the lawn).
- If wilted, apply 1 inch of water per occasion and don’t water again until it wilts.
- Automatic sprinklers often do more harm than good because they run on the sprinkler schedule not the grass’ schedule. In some years watering is unnecessary most of the season.
Hot Weather Watering
- During hot weather give the grass whatever it needs to survive
- Do not force it to grow— Don’t fertilize.
- If there are basic problems such as layering, thatch buildup, compacted soil or poor drainage, nurse it through and plan to correct the problems in cooler weather (possibly fall).
- Give your lawn a break in the heat: cool season grass can stand the droughts; it will come back.
- After 3 weeks of drought and if water is not under restriction, apply ¼ inch of water to rehydrate the crown.
- Watering in this way will not turn the grass green, but it will keep it from dying completely.
- When rains return, the grass will come back.
- Do not fertilize cool season grasses in hot weather; wait until fall.
- During hot weather, weed grasses will develop unfailingly because they are drought resistant.
- Using chemicals to eliminate weeds during droughts will damage the desirable grasses as well.
- Stay firm and follow the drought watering method until cool weather returns.
- Cool season grasses start flowering now. Proper mowing will cut these heads off as they develop and is important for healthy lawns.
- Grass dictates how often to mow. The more fertilizer, water and vigor the more often you will mow.
- Mow often enough that NO MORE THAN 1/3rd to ½ of the length of the grass blade is removed at a time.
- (2 ½ inches tall is usually best).
- When mowing during droughts, mow at the highest level.
- The grass leaves shade the ground, reduce evaporation and stress on the roots.
- Check all lawn mower equipment and make repairs.
- Make sure oil levels are correct.
- Check all mower blades for sharpness after mowing.
- Dull blades will tear the grass and show a ragged cut, but sharper blades will get you a clean cut.
- Monitor insects and diseases
- Spring is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. With the availability of container grown plants, the planting season is longer. There still may be time before the heat of the summer begins.
- Research each tree, shrub or fruit tree for its needs and care.
- Plant properly and you will have wonderful, healthy trees and shrubs for years to come.
- Prune spring flowering shrubs (lilac, forsythia, viburnum) immediately after they bloom.
- Prune fall flowering shrubs after flowering in the fall or winter.
- Cut out dead branches as needed.
- Hedges that have completed their first flush of growth can be sheared now.
- Do not cut off all the new leaves. Shape the shrub so they are wider at the bottom and narrower at the top.
- Bottom branches that don’t receive enough light will fall off and you now have a bare base to your plant.
- Take a look at the shape of your tree and you will see what nature intended it to look like.
- Pruning out or opening up old trees will enhance plants under its canopy generally help the overall health of a mature tree.
- Unless you know what you’re doing, using a certified Arborist is the best method to open up the canopy.
- Monitor for problems and correct and treat immediately.
- It is a waste of an expensive tree or shrub if you don’t.
Take a trip to the many Gardens that Illinois and Wisconsin have to offer.
The City of Chicago and Chicago Botanic Garden has many wonderful gardens you can get ideas for plants or design.
Join the Illinois Dunesland Garden Club for great ideas and advice.
Take advantage of Garden Tours in your area for more ideas.
- Look over last year’s journal for helpful hints or jobs that need to be done now or in the future.
- If you haven’t started a garden journal now is a good time to start recording:
- what your garden looks like,
- what is planted,
- what jobs need to be done or
- other garden ideas you might have for the future.
- Record the dates and names of all plants and care needs.
- Especially note any seed information as this information for next year will suggest the correct sowing date
- You may decide direct sowing could be best.
- Keeping records is tiresome, but there are some wonderful tips that arise from keeping records of bulbs, plants, annuals, trees, shrubs, and other plants in your garden.
- You can note successes and failures,
- what to plant,
- what to avoid (numerous non-successes in the past).
- Sometimes you don’t recognize an emerging plant, but your records can tell you what plants are planted in which beds and you can generally determine what it is.