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"The dreaded To Do list for the month of June," from the Whistling Gardener

f ever there was a year to apply mulch to our soils this would be it. The Everett area rainfall is about four inches below normal which is the equivalent of a month’s worth of water that would normally be in our soils for plants to draw from and it just ain’t there.
The Whistling Gardener shares his “To Do” list for the month of June. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

This weekly column is being reproduced with the permission of Steve Smith, The Whistling Gardener, and owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville.

WATERING: If ever there was a year to apply mulch to our soils this would be it. The Everett area rainfall is about four inches below normal which is the equivalent of a month’s worth of water that would normally be in our soils for plants to draw from and it just ain’t there.

This year especially it is so important to water efficiently and to do all we can to conserve that moisture. Watch for my advice on how to get the most out of the end of your hose next week.

VEGGIES: June is really the proper time to plant our warm season crops like corn, beans, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. I prefer to do my tomatoes and peppers in 15 gallon black nursery pots. They are cheap but the best part is that the soil gets much warmer so the plants grow faster. If you are using new top soil I recommend you double the rate of organic fertilizer the first season.

LAWNS: Mine is still dead but that is a different story. By now yours should be looking fabulous but fear not, in our mild maritime climate June is an excellent time to do just about anything to the lawn. Trust me, this is exactly what I will be doing this month unless I want to sleep in the dog house the rest of the summer.

ROSES: The roses are just coming into bloom and once they are finished it is important to prune them back and fertilize again. If you didn’t apply a fungicide and insecticide then you are probably enjoying a nice infestation of black spot and aphids. In my opinion growing hybrid tea roses requires the timely application of some chemicals, either natural or synthetic, to control bugs and diseases.

If you don’t want to deal with these issues then try the landscape roses like Floral Carpet, Drift or Oso Easy that are mostly disease free.

PERENNIALS: Perennials are such an essential component in creating an interesting and ever-changing garden but you need to remember that most perennials only bloom for five to six weeks so it is imperative that you combine early, mid and late bloomers to provide continuous non-stop color and interest.

June is the beginning of the summer bloomers so buy a few this month and a few more next month and you will have a nice succession of color in your border. With proper planning you can have a perennial border that blooms eight to ten months a year. Don’t forget the compost and fertilizer when you plant perennials (I know, I sound like a broken record).

ANNUALS: Now that you have planted all your summer annuals remember that these little guys are heavy feeders and to get the most out of them you should be feeding on a regular basis. The more you feed the bigger and more colorful they will be.

WEED CONTROL: Clean up the weeds, spread a generous helping of organic fertilizer and cover it with a one inch layer of compost. Your beds will look tidy, and what few weeds come up will be very easy to remove and the plants will be fed for the growing season. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

PLANTING: June is a great month to keep planting anything and everything. Fruits, veggies, flowers, shrubs and trees will all transplant well this month as long as you water deeply at the time of planting.

PRUNING: Well, what can I say? There is always something to prune in the garden because stuff grows. Start by deadheading the rhodies and cleaning up the spring bloomers and then analyze the rest of the garden and see what needs editing. Just make sure you get the spouse’s approval or you might be sleeping in the dog house too.

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached online at info@sunnysidenursery.net.

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