Monday, June 18, 2012

June in the Garden

It is so hot outside, it's hard to think about many garden projects.  But I've been ignoring my planting beds and I can already see that I'm really going to pay for the neglect.   My plants may be melting in our heat but the weeds are thriving! 
To help your lawn withstand our summer heat, do not mow it too short: 2” for Bermuda grass and 4” for San Augustine varieties.  Never cut more than one-third of the blade.   Do not bag your grass clippings.  Clippings should be left on the lawn to work their way back into the soil.  They contain nutrients that will produce a beautiful, green lawn.   A lawn needs about one inch of water each week.  It is best for your grass to receive the inch in just one or two waterings.  If you see some brown patched in your lawn, give the grass a good tug.  If it pulls up you may have grubs eating the grass roots.   Me, I like to squish them, but your nursery professional can guide you in their treatment.   
Frangipani - loves the heat and is propogated from stem cuttings

Afternoon shade may help tomato plants continue to produce.  Varieties with large fruits tend to split in high temperatures.   Squash and beans are probably done producing.  Remove your spent vegetable crops.   Most can be added to your compost pile or bin.  Avoid putting in anything that is diseased.  If you have beds that are empty, you can spread heavy plastic sheets.  The heat generated will kill weed seeds and make gardening next fall much more enjoyable.  For the best results, be sure to leave the sheeting on for 4 to 6 weeks.  If you don’t have weed issues, add one or two inches of organic material to your planting beds. 
Bougainvillea - another heat lover
I'm seeing aphids on our crotons and jatropha.   Coleus, copper plants, and firebush also ten to be susceptible to whitefly and aphid invasions. Regularly check for whitefly and aphids.  My first treatment for aphis is to simply spray the plant and physically remove the aphids.  Spray daily for about a week and they may just give up.   Next step is to spray with soapy water (or insecticidal soap).  The soap will suffocate the insect.  Make sure to spray under the leaves, where bugs love to hide. 

To encourage compact bushes with many blooms, pinch your poinsettias and chrysanthemums every four leaves. 
Even though it is hot, you can take cuttings from spring blooming shrubs right now.  Last week I took lots of cuttings from my father's gardenia.  Cut past the green wood, just below a node.  Remove all but the last set of leaves.  I'm trying to root some of them in water and some in potting mix.  I've got mine inside where they get some indirect light.   Hopefully, I'll have little gardenia shrubs to share in a few months. 


Flowers:  ruellia, gerbera daisy, dusty miller, gazania, vinca, night and day purslane, iceplant, snapdragon, zinnia, moss rose, coleus, celosia.

Bulbs:  caladium (in the shade)

Vegetables:   Peppers (from bedding plants - it's probably too hot for many seeds to sprout)

Herbs:       mint, rosemary, rue, oregano, hierba buena.   Mints are aggressive growers. If you want to keep it contained, considered planting it in a pot. 

Trees:  This is the area to have a little patience.  Unless you don't have a choice, wait until October to plant trees.

Palms:  Palms love, love, LOVE this heat!   You can plant any of them right now.  Ones that do great in deep south Texas are: Texas sabal palm, Chinese fan palm, Mediterranean fan palm, Washingtonia fan palms, Pindo palms, Queen palms (or Cocus plumosa), and Phoenix roebellini.


Ruth said...

I also live in a hot area, but I hope to be getting vegetables through October. I expect it to slow down a bit over July and august.

Mary Beth said...

Ruth, Do you have any tricks to keep the plants producing in triple digit weather? Okra and southern peas are about all that we get in July and August - by then we are looking forward to our fall and winter garden