Seasonal Tips for Gardening Zones June-July 2002

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ILLUSTRATION: DIANE A. RADER
Timely gardening tips for where you live.

Learn about current June and July seasonal tips for gardening zones in the U.S.

New England/Maritime Canada Gardening

June is time to eat big salads. Gather early summer flowers
like violets, yarrow and red clover to dry for teas and for
tincturing. Harvest culinary and medicinal herbs like lemon
balm, mint, French tarragon, summer savory and basil before
they go to seed. Eat lots of fresh vegetables and soak up
the summer heat. The ground has finally warmed enough to
safely set out tender pepper, melon and squash seedlings,
as well as any gourd seedlings. Plant green beans, summer
lettuces, more oriental greens, broccoli raab and
late-season brassicas. Late carrots can be planted now that
the first hatch of carrot fly has passed. The empty
greenhouse is a great place to start perennials for fall
transplanting. July brings the first tender
broccoli — so green, so buttery — and those early
tomatoes: It’s starting to feel like heaven. Fall plantings
of shell peas must be in the ground before July 10 to get a
good crop. Soak the peas for three to four hours before
planting and keep well watered. Choose your coolest
location for best results. Open ground can be cover-cropped
with buckwheat, oats or any crop that meets your
soil-fertility and weed-control needs.

Mid-Atlantic Gardening

As the June heat sets in, plant successions of corn, beans,
cucumbers and summer squash every week. Lettuce lovers, to
keep the salads coning try planting some “Sweet Valentine”
and “Slobolt” in a fertile place with afternoon shade.
Peas, brassicas, cucumbers and summer squash should be
harvested every other day, not every third. Plant late
potatoes. Weed any time you can. Mulch the rest of the
time. In early July, try running chickens in your old
brassicas for two weeks to control harlequin bugs. Harvest
potatoes when the tops die down. Midmonth, stop planting
sweet corn and start your fall brassicas, lettuce, Chinese
greens, leeks and green onions in flats. To know if your
tomatoes are truly ripe, take a big bite of one. If the
juice drips from your elbows before you swallow, it’s ripe.
If you get a ripe tomato by the beginning of July, you did
well.

Southern Interior Gardening

Summer is upon us, and like many gardeners you’re
undoubtedly proudly reviewing your growing efforts on a
daily basis. Don’t become complacent — find ways to
keep the beautiful and tasty treats going into the fall.
Plant a second crop of tomatoes in June to keep these
summer favorites available into the cooler months. Start
cool-season veggies like cabbage, collards, carrots and
cauliflower in July for a fantastic fall harvest. These
months are also a great time to pay some attention to your
favorite herbs. Harvest or pinch back the buds to encourage
some new growth. The flavor of some herbs will change if
they are allowed to flower. To dry herbs, simply tie small
bundles with rubber bands and hang in an airy spot until
leaves are crisp. (Finish in warm oven if weather is
humid.)

Gulf Coast Gardening

As heat-sensitive vegetables stop producing, consider
devoting some space to a green-manure cover crop. Southern
peas work especially well, since they add soil nitrogen,
suppress nematodes and still deliver a crop. Disease and
insect problems are at their peak when the heat is most
intense. Watch for problems and control them before they
spread: Remember the adage about the best safeguard being
the gardener’s shadow. Pets such as aphids and white flies
can be controlled with a soap and oil solution of 2 1/2
tablespoons liquid dish soap and 2 1/2 tablespoons
vegetable oil to 1 gallon of water. Remember to test on a
small patch first for plant sensitivity and avoid spraying
during the heat of the day. By mid June it is time to start
seed for fall bell pepper and tomato transplants. Plant
palm trees now. In late July, start brassicas for the fall
garden.

Central/Midwest Gardening

Diligence pays off! You would be surprised at how
effectively hand-removal of pest insects and sick
vegetation prevents damaging infestations. Other defensive
measures include mulching to avoid soilborne diseases
spread by water splash, spacing plants for good air
circulation and watering early in the day — overnight
moisture provides a breeding ground for pests.

Weed regularly through July. Plant successive crops of
warm-season vegetables through early June, then switch to
cool-weather crops in July for a fall garden. Remember to
seed or plant some flowers. These will encourage bees and
other beneficials to visit, plus they’re beautiful to have
in your garden.

North Central and Rockies Gardening

June means warm-season vegetables, including green beans,
corn, cucumber, pepper, squash and tomato. The production
of warm-season vegetables in climates where temperatures
can dip below freezing at any time requires constant
vigilance. If the plants freeze, they die. This requirement
has been relaxed somewhat with the advent of new protection
technologies. Spun-fiber row covers, insulating tipis and
automatically opening cold frames offer gardeners freedom
from having to stay close enough to their gardens to
prepare for unexpected cold weather, without the commitment
and expense of erecting a greenhouse. These products also
help hasten the harvest, especially in areas where cool
nighttime temperatures slow plant growth. Early July is
time to start many cool-season fall crops including kale.
In harsh, high-altitude gardens, kale is one of the most
dependable sources for vitamins and minerals. Frost
improves its rich flavor, and the tasty leaves can be
harvested fresh and green under winter snow.

Pacific Northwest Gardening

Warm-weather plants are in and established. Now is the
perfect time to take a break from weeding and start the
winter garden. In June and July? Yes, we are fortunate to
be able to reap a bounty of food all winter in this region,
but the key is starting seeds in summer. By choosing
varieties with different days-to-maturity ratings, you can
even harvest food in the fall, winter and early spring, all
from one seeding. (Just remember to add extra time to those
numbers to compensate for shorter days and slower growth in
the fall.) As a bonus, insects tend to leave winter gardens
alone, and there’s no need to water once the rain starts.
Those are points to ponder in summer’s heat and drought.
Most cool-weather crops are suitable, but check regional
seed catalogs for specific winter-garden varieties and
growing instructions.

Southwest Gardening

This time of year brings to mind the old song “Summertime”
(when the living is easy). Sweet corn, green beans and
peppers are starting to ripen. Mulch does double duty by
reducing weeding and conserving water — always a
consideration in this arid area. Sow a second crop of the
quick-maturing vegetables that love summer heat and a late
crop of sweet basil to put away as pesto for fall and
winter. The kids might like to try planting peanuts, which
need a lot of heat to grow. Luffa sponges are fun to plant
now, too, and by autumn you will have sponges that will
make your skin tingle!


Our thanks to the following for their contributions to the
Almanac: Roberta Bailey, FEDCO Seeds,
Waterville, Maine; Cricket Rakita, Southern
Exposure Seed Exchange
, Mineral, Virginia;
Connie DamByl, William Dam Seeds, Dundas,
Ontario; Matt Barthel, Seed Savers
Exchange
, Decorah, Iowa; Bill McDorman,
Seeds Trust/High Altitude Gardens,
Hailey, Idaho;
Josh Kirschenbaum, Territorial Seed
Company
, Cottage Grove, Oregon; Rose
Marie Nichols McGee, Nichols Garden Nursery
,
Albany, Oregon; Craig and Sue Dremann, Redwood City
Seed Co.
, Redwood City, California; Dean
Lollis, Park Seed Co.
, Greenwood, South Carolina.