You are here

Gardeners Checklist: Here Is What to Do on the Week of June 10

Gardeners Checklist: Here Is What to Do on the Week of June 10

By Ron Kujawski

* Hill potatoes a second time. Gardeners with a lot of potato plants can hill by simply raking or hoeing soil up and around the plants. Those with a few short rows of potatoes can hill by placing straw around their potato plants. The added cost of using straw mulch is compensated by reduced need for weeding and watering. Also, studies have shown that fewer potato beetles occur on potato plants mulched with straw. That alone is worth the price of a bale of straw.

* Think fall! Huh? Yes, I’m aware that it’s not even summer yet. However, this is the time to plan and sow seed for certain fall harvested crops. These include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and rutabaga.

* Cut off the scapes from garlic plants. Scapes look like flower stalks and typically appear on garlic plants at this time of year. If removed before the stems get tough, they can be used in stir fry and other dishes. There is no harm to garlic plants if the scapes are not removed but many growers believe that the bulbs of garlic will be larger if scapes are cut off.

* Do not transfer pesticides to other containers. Keep pesticides in their original containers with the labels intact. Also, never reuse an empty pesticide container.

* Check patio pots, window boxes and other plant containers daily. Soil in containers tends to dry more quickly than garden soil. Container-grown plants may have to be watered every day, and on very hot and breezy days, twice a day. Apply water until it runs out the bottom of the container. Because of the frequent watering, plant nutrients are leached out. Therefore, make regular applications of water-soluble fertilizer as directed on the product label. Infrequent applications can be made by using a slow-release fertilizer.

* Plant climbing hydrangea against stone walls or other coarse structures that need the softening effect provided by vines. Climbing hydrangea is a great vine for this area. It is hardy and free of any serious pest problems. Climbing hydrangeas are now in bloom. 

* Sprinkle salt on slugs as a quick fix method of killing these plant devouring marauders. Don’t use too much salt and don’t let the salt get on any plants. Anyone for a slug sauté? As an alternative to salt, make a solution consisting of 1 cup of coffee in 9 cups of water. Spray this solution on the offending slugs and snails.

* Don’t get too concerned if you see gobs of froth or spittle on herbaceous plants. The spittle is produced by an insect called a spittlebug (that sounds a little better than a loogiebug). The nymph stage of this insect sucks sap from its host plant. The nymph uses some of the sap to produce the frothy spittle that covers the insect and protects it from drying and from predators. 

* Plant summer cover crops in the vegetable garden. A cover crop is a plant that…uh…well, covers the ground. Most gardeners are aware of the advantages of planting a winter cover crop, such winter rye, in late summer. However, cover crops can also be used in summer not only to fill in vacant areas of the garden but also between rows of corn. Buckwheat, sorghum-Sudan grass, and berseem clover are good summer cover crops.

Ron Kujawski began gardening at an early age on his family's onion farm in upstate New York. Although now retired, he spent most of his career teaching at the UMass Extension Service. He serves on Berkshire Botanical Garden’s Horticulture Advisory Committee. His book, Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook, is available here.

Help Our Garden Grow!

Your donation helps us to educate and inspire visitors of all ages on the art and science of gardening and the preservation of our environment.

All Donations are 100% tax deductible.