Q. I’ve weeded, I’ve planted, and I’ve watered. As summer approaches, what do I need to accomplish in my garden in June? - Gloria Fiscalini, Cambria
A. For many gardeners, the most difficult gardening chores are finished and the rewards are yet to come. You will see the benefits of your spring efforts. Leaves are green, the vegetables are growing, and summer flowers begin to spread their petals.
Are you missing anything? Does your garden have some sweet-smelling blossoms like heliotrope, jasmine, or tuberose? Are there splashes of vivid color from bougainvillea or trumpet vines? There’s still time to add a few blasts of color to lift your spirits when “June gloom” hangs heavy.
Plant a few six-packs of Celosia (woolflower or cockscomb), dianthus, lobelia, marigold, petunia, verbena or zinnia, to brighten your summer beds. Try a new variety of an old standby. Remember, part of the fascination of gardening is the element of surprise.
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In the warm interior, sow beans and cucumber, and set out basil, oregano, parsley, and other potted herbs. Pinch back herbs as they grow, especially basil. You’ll have robust plants and it will keep them from going to seed. Along the coast, it’s not too late to plant corn, snow peas, and green beans.
Your June garden may be getting thirsty. Reset your automatic watering system so that the soil remains moist a few inches below the surface. Feed actively growing plants. Thin fruit as it forms to increase size and health.
Withhold food and water from native plants such as Manzanitas, oaks and California buckeyes as they are going into summer dormancy. Some native plants may need to be watered once this month, but water deeply with a slow drip, so that they will keep developing deep roots that are essential in protecting them in times of drought.
Conserve water and suppress weeds with mulch. Remember to keep mulch away from the trunks and stems of plants.
Now, stop and smell the roses. Begin harvesting early vegetables. Enjoy the abundance of summer and the beauty you’ve created.