Planting in June can still lead to success

What a difference a year makes. Last year we were dealing with a drought, worrying about water rationing, talking about installing drip irrigation systems and discussing the importance of mulching all your flowerbeds and container gardens. This year we have been blessed with more than average rain, have not had to do much watering on our plantings and thankfully our water reservoirs have mostly filled up and it doesn’t appear we will need to worry about water rationing. Now that we are getting hotter, it is still a very good idea to mulch your flowerbeds and container gardens with a bark, straw, hull or other natural mulch to reduce watering, keep your soil temperature cooler and to help control weeds. In the future it will improve your soil when mixed with the soil and as it decomposes. It is still a good idea to start thinking about designing and installing a drip irrigation system to reduce your water use and get the water most efficiently to your plants root zone. But at least it is not urgent this year so you can take your time to study and do it right as we all work to embrace sustainable gardening practices and do our best to be responsible stewards of our water and other resources.

Many folks have told me it has been so wet that they haven’t planted all they hoped to or that it has rained on some key weekends when they planned to work in the garden. Others have told me or E-mailed that they don’t think they can be successful planting once June or summertime arrives. That is wrong. You can still plant most all container grown plants and enjoy good success as long as you remember to water your plants regularly.  This is even truer this year than normal since we have enjoyed more moisture and more moderate temperatures. You can still plant most all annuals or color plants and you will still have five months of growth and color before our first freeze in November. You can plant most all perennials, shrubs, trees, vines, and you can still get a nice crop of tomatoes, peppers or many other warm season vegetables or herbs planted in June. The later you wait to plant the larger plant size you may want to start with to make an impact in your yard.

Most all nurseries and garden centers now offer larger size plants as the season progresses including many colorful annuals in 4”, 6” or even 1 or 2 gallon size containers so you can get your lantanas, marigolds, petunias, zinnias dianthus, pentas, geraniums or hundreds of other plants in various sizes depending on your patience. Most garden centers also offer a nice selection of pre-planted container gardens and hanging baskets that will make an immediate impact on your porch or patio.

Remember more rainfall leaches your fertilizer while stimulating more plant growth and may call for you to fertilize your flowerbed a little more this season with a good well balanced water soluble or slow release fertilizer. Remember to “dead-head” or pick off the bloomed out flowers on your roses, geraniums and other flowers to stimulate more new flowering instead of the energy going to seed formation. 

Be on the lookout for insect or disease problems and take samples of any problems you don’t recognize to your local nursery or garden center to help diagnose the problem and prescribe proper treatment. You and your family will enjoy planting live plant material, watching it grow and flower. It not only beautifies your home or business but it can provide real personal satisfaction and food for your soul while providing a good physical workout so get outside and plant something and enjoy your yard and garden.

Many men enjoy plants, so if your Dad, Father, Papa or whatever you call those special men in your life likes inside or outdoor gardening, select something he needs or wants. A fruit or shade tree, rose bush, crepe myrtle or other flowering or evergreen shrub, flowers, vegetables, herbs or a plant for his office or home would all be appropriate. A bird feeder, sprayer, fertilizer, garden gloves or a sack or two of mulch might hit the spot. A gift certificate from his or your favorite garden center or nursery is always welcome.

I was very blessed with a wonderful Dad and two special grandfathers I admired. Even if you don’t buy them a gift, plan to go see or call those Dads in your life and thank them for all they mean to you.  Happy Gardening and Happy Fathers Day.

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