Get It Growing: Set your June fruit, vegetable gardening calendar

Take a walk

From 10-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, join Clallam County Master Gardeners for a walk at the Fifth Street Community Garden in Port Angeles across from the Port Angeles City Hall. These educational events focus on gardening techniques, vegetables that do well in our climate and seasonal berry and vegetable gardening chores. Walks occur rain or shine. For more information, call 360-565-2679.

Summer officially arrives on June 21. Thank goodness for the long daylight hours; so many things need to be done in the fruit and vegetable garden this month.

General tips

June often brings drier weather; irrigate your garden when the soil is dry to the touch 2 inches below the surface. Water deeply but infrequently to encourage roots to grow deep into the soil which will protect against future dry spells. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation work best because they focus water at the base of plants and deliver it slowly.

Hand pull or hoe weeds when they are small. If you are unable to remove the weeds themselves, at least remove their flowers before they go to seed to prevent further spread. Mulches and directed watering (that is applying water only where your desirable plants are) also will help to control weeds.

Patrol for insects and other pests and consult local Master Gardeners for ways to control them. Diagnostic Plant Clinics are held on Mondays from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Clallam County Courthouse in Port Angeles and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Master Gardener Woodcock Demonstration Garden in Sequim.

Vegetable garden

Direct sow lettuces, spinach, kale, chard and cabbages into the garden. As the weather warms, focus on bolt-resistant varieties and avoid stressing plants (by providing adequate water and nutrients) to prevent them from going to seed.

Transplant cold sensitive plants (such as basil, tomato, cucumber and squash starts) before the end of the month. Harden off starts by moving them outside for an increasing number of hours each day over seven to 10 days before planting them in the ground. Cover cold-sensitive plants if temperatures are forecast to fall below 50 degrees.

Stop harvesting asparagus when spears become smaller than a pencil; fertilize and allow tops to grow. They will produce fern-like lacy, green foliage that is 4- to 6-feet high.

Harvest rhubarb when stems are 12-18 inches long. Be sure to leave at least half of the stalks on the plants to ensure healthy future harvests.

Look for signs of leafminers on beets, chard and spinach; leafminers are insect larvae that feed on tissue between the upper and lower surfaces of leaves, creating easily recognizable tunnels (mines). Remove and discard infested leaves; do not compost.

Fruit trees

For the health of the tree and to encourage larger fruit, thin apples, pears and plums when they are the size of a large marble (about 40-60 days after bloom). Thin apples and pears to one to two fruits per cluster every 6 to 8 inches on a branch and plums to one fruit every 2-4 inches.

Watch for signs of brown rot, scab and powdery mildew on fruit trees (such as spotted, discolored or deformed leaves, blossoms or fruit). Spray with a fungicide registered for the specific disease.

Berries

Harvest strawberries every few days, being careful to remove all ripe berries. Watch for gray mold which typically begins as brownish, water-soaked spots on fruit and leaves that produce gray fungal growth as they progress. Remove and discard affected berries and leaves immediately.

Fertilize blueberries with ammonium sulfate once this month (amount depends on age of plant) or 1 tablespoon of fish emulsion diluted in 1 cup of water per plant, twice this month.

Make sure all berries get up to 2 inches of water weekly. Cover plants with net to protect against critters.

Note: This calendar is for guidance only. Growing conditions can vary from garden to garden and from spot to spot within the same garden. Please adjust your gardening activities to fit with local conditions.

Happy gardening!

Jeanette Stehr-Green is a WSU-certified Clallam County Master Gardener.

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