Finally, we get a sense that summer is upon us! Enjoy the warm weather and longer days, but remember to put on sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Here's a rundown of the monthly calendar.
Early- to mid-June
- Flowering annuals can be planted in containers and in the garden all month. Be water-wise with your selection of flowers; maybe this is the year to cut back on the quantity of annuals you plant.
- Check containers daily, watering when necessary. One way to conserve water in hanging containers is to take them down and group them together on the ground. Whether you use a watering can or hose, you'll save water and even benefit the ground beneath the containers.
- Plant seeds of nasturtium, marigold, zinnia, hyacinth bean vine and cardinal flower vine directly in the soil. Herbs such as basil, chives and parsley, to name a few, also can be grown from seed.
- Mulch 2-3 inches to retain moisture and reduce weeds. Stay on top of weeds before they get out of hand.
- Transplants of tomatoes, cucumber, summer squash and pepper can be planted. Plant tomatoes deep. Remove the lower leaves and bury two-thirds of the plant so it has a better root system. New roots will grow along the buried stem and you'll have a stronger plant.
- Directly sow seeds of corn, lima beans, cantaloupe, pumpkin, watermelon and zucchini.
- Laying out soaker hoses that slowly seep water around plants is an inexpensive and low-cost way to water the garden. Used properly, watering with a soaker hose fits the guidelines set up by Colorado Springs Utilities.
- Lawn: If you haven't fertilized, this is the time to do it.
As recommended in the May calendar, mow as often as necessary to maintain grass at a height of 2 to 3 inches. Leave grass clippings on the lawn.
- Learn how effectively your lawn is holding water. If you have clay soil, assess soil moisture by using a 6-inch screwdriver to probe the soil. If it inserts easily, watering is often not required. This is not a valid procedure for sandy soil.
Mid- to late-June
- Start a photographic garden journal. As seedlings grow, take pictures every few days. It's fun to record and review how quickly plants grow and it's a good lesson.
- Regular garden maintenance begins as June progresses. Deadhead perennials to encourage more blooms. Setting attractive pails or baskets around and in the garden makes handy places to dispose of the results of quick deadheading.
- Check young vegetables daily to ensure they are watered properly. Colorado Springs Utilities guidelines allow for hand watering any time.
- Harvest asparagus spears until they thin out. Leave some of the spears to grow into tall, fernlike plants that rejuvenate the roots for the following year.
- Rhubarb stalks have the best flavor when harvested in cool weather.
- Control the spread of raspberry plants by monitoring and cutting back sucker growth.
- As the weather heats up, check the effectiveness of your irrigation system. For Kentucky bluegrass lawns, apply a total of ?-inch to 1 inch of water on designated watering days. Whatever system you use, check its effectiveness by placing stable, shallow containers (tuna fish or soup cans, etc.) around the lawn and run the irrigation system for the usual time. Then measure the amount of water in the container to learn how long it takes to get the correct amount of water on your lawn.
To do this test correctly, it's important to know what kind of soil you have. Clay soil will hold moisture longer than sandy soil. If you are unsure of your soil type, soil tests are available at CSU Extension office, 305 S. Union Blvd. Office hours are 9 a.m. to noon weekdays.
When you have questions, CSU Extension has research-based answers. Get answers to your horticultural questions by calling the Master Gardener Volunteer Help Desk at 520-7684 or emailing CSUmg2@elpasoco.com. Master Gardeners are available 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.