Garden Monthly Update: June 2016

Garden News

June, as expected, began the slow down for garden production. The last few green zebra and Roma tomatoes were harvested. The bell peppers did come through in the first half of the month with nice large red bell peppers. The chili pepper plants finished up their spring harvest and started setting new leaves and new peppers in June. The okra plants have started to produce, they really like the hot weather. The basil, as always, is doing great and required pruning/drying several times during the month to keep it from flowering. The oregano and tarragon are still doing great and providing plenty of growth for fresh and dried herbs. The eggplant also likes the hot weather and  continues to produce. I have lots of tomato plants started from seeds of the plants that were finished in May. I will thin and relocate as needed for July and hope to get another season in this year of tomatoes. The cucumber plants are doing really well, but no cucumbers for harvest yet. The cantaloupe plants were thinned and the few remaining are starting to flower. The grape vine suffered from grape skeletonize moth/caterpillars that were brought under control with hand picking, and Diatomaceous earth (DE). Fortunately, it was caught in time and only some leaves were damaged. Several bunches of grapes were harvested. I have a lot of volunteer bell pepper plants that are doing great, so hopeful for another season of bell peppers this year. The sunflowers planted in May are starting to flower and the self-seeded cosmos are continuing to bloom. The self-seeded marigolds have popped up in June and are starting to get some growth going into July.

 

June Harvest picture - swiss chard, romaine lettuce, eggplant, chili peppers.

 

Planting guide updates include - Grow and harvest culinary herbs. A new sheet has been added in response to this months question from Adeline.

 

Highlights

Quite a few nice large red bell peppers harvested in the first half of the month.

 

 The okra is doing great and started producing.

 

A dozen bell pepper transplanted volunteers are doing great.

 

The purple cabbage plants are surviving and have some slow growth.

 

Many self seeded black krim heirloom tomato plants emerged and the transplants are doing well.

 

One swiss chard plant is still surviving w/some shade, though growth is very slow.

Lolights

The onions never came to fruition, and had to be pulled.

 

The grape vine infestation of skeletonize caterpillars caused a bit of leave damage before brought under control.

 

The cantaloupe plants have been a bit slow to get going.

"Hot" Topic

Keep them cool - Continue to provide shade for peppers, tomatoes and other sensitive plants. Always provide some shade to new transplants during this time of the year. Move potted plants to areas that get early morning sun and afternoon shade. You can also insulate potted plants by placing the pot into a larger pot and filling in the gap with peat moss, sphagnum, packing peanuts, straw or newspaper. Outdoor summer pots should not be smaller than 5 gallons, anything smaller will heat up too quickly and cook the roots..

Tip of the Month

Fertilize - Every 2 weeks during the hot months with a good organic fertilizer like liquid seaweed, fish emulsion, worm tea are a few. Mix with water as directed and apply to soil or spray on leaves. Regular application of liquid seaweed will reduce heat stress.

July Do List

  • Provide shade for vulnerable plants. Shade cloth with 50% reduction is recommended

  • Water deciduous fruit trees on 7 to 10 day deep-water cycle for the summer. Resulting fruit will be larger.

  • Keep plants moist. Wilted leaves in the morning are a sign of moisture stress. Late afternoon wilting may be heat stress. Outdoor potted plants may need to be watered 2 times per day.

  • As your melons come in, place a board beneath them. This will keep them off the moist soil and prevent insects from attacking them.

  • Solarize vegetable plots. Water the area to be solarized deeply and slowly, then cover with clear plastic, anchoring the edges to contain the moisture. Don't use black plastic. Leave for four weeks. The heat beneath the plastic will be intense, upward 140-150 degrees, cooking many of your gardening problems and weed seeds.

Prune

1. Dead or damaged limbs.

2. Remove old flower heads to promote new flower production.

Fertilize

1. Apply Texas greensand to help with iron deficiency.

2. Organic ground or foliar spray the garden plants every 2 weeks.

Pest Control

1. Drench fire ant mounds with citrus pulp.

Spray spider mites with garlic-pepper tea or liquid seaweed.

July Don't List

  • Hold off pruning sun or salt damaged foliage until September or October. The dead foliage will protect the plant from further damage.

  • Do not prune citrus during the summer.

  • Don't shade corn, squash, melons, black-eyed peas, okra, or grapes.

  • Don't add fertilizer to dry soil. If you apply dry fertilizer on dry soil and water it in, the fertilizer is carried toward the roots as a concentrated solution and will burn them. Always water first, then apply fertilizers to moist soils, and then continue with the rest of the water.

July Planting

• Vegetables:

• Seeds - Beans (pinto, snap), Corn, Armenian & standard Cucumber, Pumpkin, Summer Squash

• Transplants - Pepper, Tomato

 

• Herbs: none until September

• Flowers: Cosmos, Hollyhock, Portulaca, Sunflower, Vinca, Zinnia.

• Fruit: Cantaloupe

 

Recipe of the Month

- Caribbean Baked Chicken with Mango - This is one of our favorite easy chicken dishes and mango's are available in great numbers right now at a good price.

New! Best Advice

Tomatoes!

Try growing black krim heirloom tomatoes. I have found this type to be quite hardy and can be great producers. The best producers have been grown in the ground not a pot and as an indeterminate, require caging and shade for any exposed tomatoes when daytime temperatures rise as the fruit sets and ripens. Also they will need frost protection if you are growing them through the winter. I have 5 plants that I am currently growing for a possible 2nd tomato season this year. All of them are volunteers that sprouted up in June after I pulled the spring season plant post harvesting. For best results in the spring, plant your tomatoes in January and make sure they have frost protection. This year my best producer was a black krim volunteer that popped up in October 2015 in the middle of my carrots. The carrots protected it through the cold months and then when warmer weather came and the carrots were harvested, the tomato plant took off and produced about 40 lbs. of heirloom tomatoes.

Favorites

Garden Books: Extreme Gardening by Dave Owens and Desert Gardening for Beginners by Cathy Cromell, Linda Guy and Lucy Bradley.

Web Sites:

 

Questions/Answers

 

Q: When and how often should you harvest/prune cilantro and what is the best method?

 

A: Cilantro is considered a short lived herb, but you can extend its life span with regular harvesting. The rule of thumb is to harvest the top 1/3 of the plant, leaving the bottom 2/3 with some stem leaves (otherwise the plant can not feed itself). I use garden scissors to harvest herbs, but make sure to use clean sharp shears or scissors. You will need to harvest the cilantro about once per week to help stave off bolting.

Storing - If you are unable to use all the fresh cilantro you harvested, there are a few ways to store it. To keep fresh for about 1 week, you wash it in at least a 1:10 white vinegar/water, then ensure it is dried completely before storing it in a vegetable bag in the produce drawer of your refrigerator, or I have found that placing herbs in a vase after harvesting and replacing with cool water daily and trimming the stem every couple days, can keep it handy and fresh for a week. Freezing is another method of storage, though I have not had the best results for this method.

Collecting the seeds - Once bolting occurs, you will not be able to stop this process and the leaves will loose some flavor. However, the great thing about cilantro is that the seeds it produces are known as coriander spice, which is used in many recipes. Or save the seeds in a cool dry place and you can plant them for your next season of cilantro.

Planting the seeds collected - The “seeds” are actually two cilantro seeds encased in a husk. The husk is hard, round and is light brown or grey in color.

Gently crush the seed husk holding the two seeds together. Soak the cilantro seeds in water for 24 to 48 hours. Remove from the water and allow to dry before planting.

Conditions - Cilantro likes cool/moist soil, so when the soil temperature rises, the plant will react by bolting as this is its survival method to reproduce before the plant dies. So there are a few things that may help extend the cilantro season.

 

1. Succession planting - plant new seeds every week or two to have new plants ready when the older plants bolt.

2. Plant during cool weather - early spring, late summer and early fall.

3. Harvest frequently - this can help delay the bolting process

4. Mulch - keep the soil/roots as cool as possible. Once the soil temperature reaches 75 degrees, the plant will bolt.

Plant in the shade - Cilantro grows fine in shady conditions with indirect or little direct sun.

 

July Preview

Ideal time to plant added to planting guide

June Pictures

Link to Photos Here

 

Related Topics

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