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Get it Growing: Set your June gardening calendar
• Class Act seminars
From 10 a.m.-11 a.m. on Saturdays at the Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden, 2711 Woodcock Road, Sequim:
June 7 — “Fruit tree care” by Bruce Pape, expert panel
June 21 — “Strawberries” by Jeannette Stehr-Green
• Brown Bag seminars
At noon on second and fourth Thursday at the Clallam County Courthouse’s commissioners meeting room, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles:
June 12 — “Berry Basics” by Jeanette Stehr-Green
June 26 — “Planting Now for Fall and Winter Harvest” David Rambin
• Friday Walks in the Garden
Noon-1 p.m., second Friday of each month (May through October) at the Fifth Street Community Garden, 328 E. Fifth St., Port Angeles.
These educational walks feature topics related to vegetable gardening, herbs and other food crops, tailored to what is happening in the garden that month. Dates: June 13, July 11, Aug. 8, Sept. 12, Oct. 10.
Begin summer watering using drip irrigation, if possible. Otherwise, water early in the day to minimize evaporation and allow leaves to dry before nightfall. Water deeply but infrequently, to encourage roots to go deeper. To conserve moisture, add two to three inches of mulch to your garden beds and around trees and shrubs. Containers and hanging baskets may need water daily. Patrol for slugs and aphids. Encourage birds in garden for help with insect control. Remember, if you kill a beneficial insect, you inherit its work. Enjoy June colors and scents.
Plant annuals. Deadhead faded flowers. Stake plants that get top-heavy. Trim back perennials after blooming. Remove foliage from spring-flowering bulbs after it has died back. Divide spring-flowering bulbs and replant or store until fall.
Continue to plant dahlias, begonias and gladioli. Deadhead roses and fertilize. Check roses for mildew and black spot; remove and discard affected leaves; do not compost diseased plant parts. Pinch back chrysanthemums about ½-inch when new growth reaches six inches for bushier plants and more blossoms; do not pinch them back after the Fourth of July. Plant fall-blooming perennials and bulbs such as Star of Bethlehem, asters, chrysanthemums, autumn crocus and hardy cyclamen.
It is best to plant shrubs in early spring or fall. If you plant now, take care to provide sufficient water throughout the summer.
Fertilize young trees with slow-release fertilizer and water regularly and deeply. Prune Japanese maples, removing dead branches and thinning lightly. Watch for tent caterpillars; strip or prune out and destroy nests and caterpillars as soon as noticed. Wait until fall to plant trees.
Thin fruit (see sidebar). Watch for signs of brown rot, scab and powdery mildew and spray with a fungicide according to the product label.
Watch for gray mold on strawberries; immediately remove and discard affected berries and leaves. Fertilize blueberries bushes with 1-2 oz ammonium sulfate (once this month) or 1 Tbsp of fish emulsion diluted in 1 cup water (twice this month). Berries need one inch of water each week.
Transplant herbs and warm-season vegetable starts including basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and corn. Place basil and tomatoes in the warmest spot with full sun exposure; cover when night temperatures fall below 50 degrees.
Avoid diseases by spacing tomatoes properly and support plants using stakes, cages or trellises for good air circulation. Sow lettuces, spinach, kale, chard and cabbage.
Replant replacement crops when early lettuce, mustard greens, bok choy and spinach mature. Control weeds with frequent cultivation. Provide an inch of water a week as rains taper off. Stop harvesting asparagus when spears become smaller than a pencil; fertilize and allow tops to grow. Harvest no more than half of rhubarb stalks so remaining leaves can sustain the crown. Stop harvesting when plant begins to produce slender stalks. Watch for leaf miners on beets, chard and spinach and remove and discard infested leaves. Handpick and discard caterpillars found on leaves.
If not letting your lawn go dormant over the summer, water deeply at least twice a month and fertilize once during the last half of the month. Keep irrigation systems on manual, not timed, application. Mow often enough to remove only one-third of grass blade length. Continue “grass cycling,” leaving clippings on lawn. Aerating in early summer can damage new growth.
If you have plant questions, ask a Master Gardener at a plant clinic:
• Thursdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Clallam County Courthouse, Port Angeles
• Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Woodcock Garden, Sequim
Timely “thinning” of fruit in your home orchard improves the size and quality of the fruit and increases your chances of good production the following year. It also reduces limb breakage and disease.
Apples, pears, apricots, peaches, plums and persimmons all benefit from thinning. Cherry and nut trees are not thinned.
The earlier you thin the larger the remaining fruit will grow, but it is good to wait until after the natural fruit drop that occurs in June.
To thin your fruit trees:
• Remove all damaged fruit.
• Thin (twist off) fruit when it is about the size of a marble, about 30 to 40 days after full bloom.
• Thin to one fruit per cluster or spur leaving the largest fruit.
• Thin apples, pears, and plums when about the size of a marble. Apricots and plums should be thinned to 2- to 4-inches apart on a branch; peaches, three to five inches apart; persimmons, six inches apart; and apples and pears to 1-2 fruits per cluster spaced six to eight inches apart on the branch.
Kamera Muralt and Bill Wrobel are WSU-certified Clallam County Master Gardeners.