The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Starting tomato plants from seed to prepare for a late autumn harvest –

You can start seed this week for late summer tomato plants to prepare the way for the late, late, autumn tomatoes that can be picked green before frost in ripen for Thanksgiving and perhaps Christmas. Warm June days and nights will produce plants ready for the garden by mid July. Good tomato seed varieties for the late summer garden are Rutgers, Homestead, Marylobe and Better Boy. Start by buying the seed and a bag of seed starting medium. Fill three or four, the number according to how many varieties you plan to use. Fill the number of flowerpots, small size, you plan to use with the medium. Empty medium into a small pail and mix with proper amount of water to moisten the medium and reserve enough of moist medium to cover seed. After filling pots with medium leave half inch at top of pots. Label each pot with the tomato variety. Sprinkle each packet of seed in a labeled pot and cover seed with the reserved medium and pat down with the palm of your hand. Water with an empty Windex spray bottle filled with water. Spray with water lightly every evening. Allow them plenty of sunlight. In about a week to 10 days they should have developed to true leaves. They are now ready to be transplanted to individual plastic pots. Continue to water daily. In about two or three weeks they will be ready to transplant in the garden or you can even transplant to larger pots for later transplanting to the garden.

Keep setting out a few tomato plants every week – The warm temperatures of June are here and soil is warmer at night which makes the ideal environment for them to thrive. Continue to set out several tomato plants for as long as you can find them to provide for tomatoes all summer long. For extra success plant as many different varieties as you can possibly find.

Garden magic in a bar of soap – When you go to the garden plot for harvesting, weeding, or planting or getting contact with soil in any activity, before going to the garden area, scrape your fingernails on a bar of soap to get soap under your nails. After your garden tasks and making contact with the soil, the soap will wash out from your nails leaving the soil in the garden where it belongs in your nails will feel better.

Keep all annuals and hanging baskets watered daily – The early days of June are warming up containers and baskets of summer annuals and quickly dry the medium in the pots. Water them every evening until water trickles through the hole in the bottom of the pots.

Plant a rose or two of light green beans – Those green beans that you plant in the warm June soil this week will provide a harvest in about 65 to 70 days. You can choose from many bush types including the top crop, contender, Derby, strike, Kentucky wonder, and blue lake. A pound will plant a 50 foot row or two 4 x 8‘ raised beds.

Keep a sharp eye out for an invasion of Japanese beetles – hopefully, this will not be an epidemic year for them.

Just a few of them on a rosebush or grape vine are too many. Grapevines and roses seem to be favorite targets but they will destroy leaves of green beans, lima beans, eggplants and tender leaves on fruit trees. If they seem to be uncontrollable, spray with the mist of liquid sevin. Destroy beetles in traps by dipping the traps in a plastic bucket of boiling hot water. Drain water from traps onto a paved driveway to avoid killing vegetation or grass. Pour dead beetles on the lawn for birds.

Keep deadheading spent rose blooms to promote new blooms- As rose blooms speak out and drop petals, pull them or clip them to promote other blooms to form. This process will pave the way for blooms throughout much of the summer. Water rose bushes every week when we don’t get much rain or thunderstorm. Fertilize every 10 days with miracle grow liquid rose fertilizer or a pedal type rose plant food. Check for Japanese beetles and leaf mites and spray if necessary.

Depending on the guns of the summer — Nothing electrifies and regenerates the garden plot like a thunderstorm of the non-severe type. The kind that causes leaves to turn up there petticoats in anticipation of an abundant soaking. My North Hampton County grandma always said they do this to ask God for rain from heaven. When we experience a garden dry spell, this is always what we need to do!

The Panda Fern responds well to the sunshine of June — It is been outside for a month and responds well to the warmth of June. It has spread over its container as it does every year. We allow this to occur but in late autumn, we trim it back before bringing it into the sunny living room to spend the winter months.

The Almanac for the month of June — June is the month of summer‘s arrival in the first day of summer will be on Thursday, June 21, 2018. The moon reaches its last quarter on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. There will be a new month on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Flag Day will be on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Father’s Day will be on Sunday, June 17, 2018. The moon reaches its first quarter on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. There will be a full moon on Thursday, June 28, 2018. And this moon will be named “Full Strawberry Moon”

Basking in the light of a strawberry moon – The full moon of June will be known as the full strawberry moon. As it rises after sunset its pink’ish in color as it rises on the eastern horizon. It is said that the strawberry moon sees everything and tells nothing. Keep an eye on it as it travels across the summer sky on a warm June night.

Ray Baird