Somehow I missed May which went by in a blur, while I was attending weddings, graduations and bar mitzvahs. Yet my garden survived. I was too busy to notice my artichokes were ripe until it was too late, so I decided to let them flower. Aren’t they glorious, and they’re not done yet! The second one is about to bloom…
Since I planted back in April, I have been harvesting a steady crop of lettuces. There are a few ways to harvest lettuce (and kale and chards). You can cut the entire plant off at the base, remove the roots and replant. Sometimes, a plant will regrow if you leave a few inches but I’m often too impatient to wait. You can also just pull up the whole plant by the roots. Or you can remove just the outer leaves and allow the plant to keep growing, which it does from the center (so don’t remove those leaves). Eventually though, it will bolt (flower or go to seed) and you then need to harvest or cut back the whole plant. I started my lettuces out in nice rows but by now it’s quite the hodgepodge, since I replant as I go, but I think it looks pretty that way. I always have seedlings and mature plants going along together so something is always ready for my salad bowl .
My tomato plants are mostly doing well and I have harvested a few tomatoes. The Green Zebra and Black Krim were first. This time of year, I remove all the yellowing leaves near the base of the plan!t and any others that look yellow, spotted or diseased. If you have any plants that really look sick, just pull them out and replace them with healthy seedlings. It’s not too late . I just did that last week with one of my plants. Tomatoes love to be buried deep and will put out more roots if you pile soil amendment around them.
My new experiment is with companion gardening. I have had terrible luck growing basil. They seem to be eaten to the ground by the next morning after planting. So I planted them among my tomato plants and they have so far lasted almost a week. Apparently tomatoes repel the critters that like basil. Keeping my fingers crossed.
I have been harvesting blueberries about a half cup at a time, just enough to eat for breakfast or add to a salad, but they are delicious!
My zucchini is just starting to grow up the trellis and I have a few harvestable fruits. Hmmm, recipes starting to swirl through my head…Send me your best ideas!
Sugar snap peas are making their way up the teepee but not producing yet.
My non GMO corn is two or three feet tall. I have never grown corn before, I’m excited about my tiny crop!
My main problem, though has been critters. It’s wild animal kingdom here! Most recently, it’s gophers. If you have ever found mounds like these that my dog, Lola, is checking out in my lawn, you know what I mean! This time of year their babies are learning the new routes underground, so there is lots of activity and they leave giant earth mounds in their wake. About 10 or 15 years ago I became obsessed with the gophers and went “Caddyshack”. I have vivid memories of trying to smoke them out and running around blocking all the exits as smoke kept finding new areas to escape, as my small boys watched, noses pressed to the window. “Mommy’s gone crazy!” The gophers were too smart for that though and just went to lower ground to wait it out. Over the years, however, I have just learned to co-exist with my subterranean ‘friends’. I try to keep them off my lawn and out of my vegetable garden and pretty much let them roam to their hearts content around the rest of the property. I have tried all kinds of home remedies, hot red pepper, hair clippings, windmills and several others to no avail. The product that I am having the best luck on my lawn with is Repellex, which is a repellant not a poison, made with castor oil, cinnamon oil, garlic oil and white pepper. They don’t like the smell or taste and they stay away. It is non-toxic and biodegradable but wears off in about a month or so, so you have to reapply.
The main task though is WEEDING! Do it now while the soil is still soft or it becomes back breaking work. The second task is to mulch or amend the soil, especially in California with our drought conditions. Mulching provides nutrients and helps retain moisture in the soil.
I am only a weekend
warrior gardener, so check out the links below for some expert gardening tips.
What To Do In the Garden in June – About.com Regional guide for ornamentals, vegetables, fruit trees, trees and shrubs and pest control.
Calendar of Gardening Tasks for June – The Garden Helper Tips on flowers, shrubs, vegetables and lawn care (even house plants).
How to Plant a Vegetable Garden in June – eHow For those that haven’t planted yet. It’s not too late if you do it right!