What to do in your garden in June

PLANTING

Culinary herbs. Set out seedlings of basil, chervil, chives,lemon grass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage,savory, tarragon, and thyme.

Shade plants. The soil near north- and east-facing walls isnow warm enough to get plants off to a good start. For color,consider abutilon, begonias, Brunfelsia, clivia, fuchsias, hydrangea, and Japaneseanemone. For plants grown mostly for their foliage, considervariegated varieties of aucuba, glechoma, lamium, and pittosporum.Or plant 'Amber Waves' heuchera, a golden-leafed coral bells thatthrives in shade. Use it to light up a dark corner of yourgarden.

Summer produce. Set out seedlings of cucumbers, eggplant,melons, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. Sow seeds of beans, corn,cucumbers, okra, pumpkins, and summer and winter squash. In thehigh desert ( Sunset climate zone 11), sow seeds of corn, cucumbers,melons, and squash. A good mail-order source for unusual varietiesof these vegetables is Baker CreekHeirloom Seeds (417/924-8917).

Summer vines. Plant a quick-growing annual from seed, suchas moonflower, morning glory, scarlet runner bean, or Spanish flag.For more unusual kinds, order from Seed SaversExchange (563/382-5990), which carries a white cypress vine and'Sunrise Serenade' morning glory, a ruby red double-floweredvariety.

MAINTENANCE

Feed plants. Roses, warm-season lawns, annual flowers andvegetables, and just about everything else that's actively growingwill benefit from fertilizing now. Don't forget that houseplantsneed occasional feeding as well.

Stake tomatoes. For easy picking and to prevent fruit rot,support tomato plants with a cage, trellis, or stakes. As plantsgrow, tie vines loosely to supports.

Start bromeliads from offshoots. Bromeliads usually producepups during the summer. When these offshoots reach one-third tohalf the size of the mother plant, you can cut them off at the baseto start new plants. Place the pup in shade for a day or two untilits base forms a callus, then repot it in a fast-draining mediumsuch as orchid mix.

Treat iron deficiencies. If leaves of citrus, gardenias, andother susceptible plants are yellow with green veins, they lackiron. To treat, apply chelated iron as a soil drench or foliarspray.

PESTS AND DISEASES

Blossom-end rot. If dark brown sunken areas develop on thebottom of tomatoes, suspect inadequate calcium uptake, usuallycaused by uneven watering. To prevent this disease, irrigate plantsthoroughly and consistently; mulch well. Also avoid high-nitrogenfertilizers. If the disease persists, try spraying foliage withseaweed extract to supply some calcium directly to the leaves.

Fruit-eating birds. The surest way to protect your crop isto enclose trees with broad-mesh netting several weeks before fruitmatures.

Powdery mildew. Combat this fungus that plagues roses,cucumbers, melons, and squash during "June Gloom" by hosing offfoliage in the morning to remove spores.

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