The first thing you should do in June, is commit to writing a garden blog. Seriously. I am WAY more on top of my gardening game this year than I ever have been at this point, and it's because of my one hundred thousand (or actually eight) readers. With these results, I should start a blog about house cleaning so that my residence stops smelling like a comforting mix of sauteed garlic and feet - or feet sauteed in garlic.
Oh, but who cares. There's plenty of time to clean in the winter months. For now, I can't help but be outside. Here's what I'm doing, and if you're gardening in New Jersey, you might be doing the same...
My nemesis is the squash vine borer. The adults lay eggs at the soil line of the plant, and the babies hatch and burrow into the stem, weakening and eventually killing the plant. Although I always get a squash or zucchini harvest, it's never as much as it should be due to early death. This year I surrounded all my squash plants (and pretty much the whole garden) with marigolds, which is said to repel most pests. I also planted all my squash and cucumber plants in paper towel cardboard tubes, which is another organic approach. I'm also going to keep an eye out for the eggs, which should be appearing soon.
Another tragedy of mine is powdery mildew on the cucumber plants which clobbers them really early too. This requires a home made spray or fungicide which must be applied weekly as a preventative. Will I do it? Who knows. In case I do, here is the homemade spray recipe: 1 tsp. baking soda to 1 quart of water. Milk-based spray is another suggested organic preventative, but I find it VERY unlikely that I will make up a fresh batch weekly, and God forbid I make up the spray and accidentally leave it in the hot garage. Yikes!
Those are just two of my many problems. Hopefully I will find the time to blog about my troubles along the way, providing you with information and entertainment while I do!
These California master gardeners compiled a pros and cons list of every type of heirloom tomato trellis system out there. It's good info to help hone in on exactly what you need.
If you happen to have wooden palettes lying around, you can follow the example of Heather at Green Eggs & Goats to make these cute squash and determinate tomato supports.
You can also get really wacky and plant pole beans at the base of your corn or sunflowers to give them a truly natural trellis. If you try this, plant your support a few weeks before the beans. One year I planted Yard-long asparagus beans at the base of my corn, and it broke out into a vegetable cage match where the beans wrestled the corn to the ground and into submission. I learned my lesson, and this year I'm waiting until the sunflowers are about 6 inches high before I plant the beans near them. No more MMA on my watch!
Finally, Pinterest abounds with all sorts of pictures and ideas for plant cages. I'm going to try a variety of options for my heirloom tomatoes this year, and will do an evaluation in August to see which method is the most supportive and has the best production.
It's not just about the food though. June also shows off my lavender, perfume rose, and overwintered chamomile crop, all of which have have edible and medicinal uses.
As usual, writing this blog post just highlights for me all the stuff that is NOT currently done in my garden, so off I go. I hope to start sharing more information about the medicinal uses of some of my favorite flowers and herbs, so let's see how much I can get done before school lets out. I'm sure I can do all that in one week!
Thanks for reading!
I am Laura; lover of plants, fan of words, drinker of wine, practitioner of yoga, planner of schemes, and conductor of the family crazy train, Check here for gardening fun, harvest recipes, yoga philosophy, and whatever else I love to write about.