Celebrate The Solstice With A Full Day Of Gardening
Tuesday June 21, 2022 is this year’s summer solstice, which marks the longest day of the year. The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) or stitium (stopped). Close to the Arctic Circle we would find 24 hours of sunlight with which to garden. We can sneak in about 14 hours of gardening on June 20, so take advantage of the long daylight hours.
Bringing warmer temperatures and extra sunlight the summer solstice also brings flowers blossoming, harvest in the vegetable garden and weeds. Keep on top of your bolting plants.
Given all the work we have done in our gardens since fall, when June rolls around we are ready for a change in gardening schedule. We now sneak out in the cool of the morning, take cover in the mid day and return in the early evening hours to our gardens.
What to plant in June
The beginning of June is a great time to plant another round of annuals from seed. You can still directly sow into your garden a new crop of zinnias (Zinnia spp. and cvs.), sunflowers (Helianthus annuus), or even basil. Almost all the cucurbits (which include squash and melon) can be direct-seeded now to help ensure a longer cropping cycle. As older plants slow production or develop insect problems, you can replant and get a second crop.
With the beginning of the rains in mid-June, the viveros will have dahlias, all types of begonias, impatiens and verbenas. Also rudbeckia and flor amarilla. It’s a good time to put in ferns. Maiden hair ferns are quite sensitive so be careful with pesticides. Stag horns should be kept moist and out of direct sun. All types of lilies will be blooming now. It’s a very busy time in the garden. Some flower seeds to plant in June are cosmos, marigolds, sunflowers and zinnias. Disbud dahlias for larger blooms. Stake tall plants before the rains begin. They will grow quickly. Plant beans, beets, peppers, okra, sweet corn and tomatoes. If your garden is small, plant tomatoes and peppers in pots. They will be fine. Just remember to water them frequently, as the soil in pots dries out faster. If you have not been spraying for pests, now is a good time to start. Many Mexican gardeners swear by a mixture of shaved Lirio soap, dissolved in water with a pack of El Faro cigarettes, as an effective spray for most insects, especially white fly. Strain the mixture before putting it through your sprayer.
Weeds are growing faster now. Keep up with them. Don’t forget to plant some herbs. Divide and replant iris. Keep deadheading regularly.
Lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme do fine in hot sun and poor but well-drained soil with minimal fertilizer. On the other hand, basil, chives, coriander (cilantro) and parsley prefer richer soil with more frequent watering.
Choose transplants that aren’t root bound. Confined roots can’t spread out fast enough to absorb enough moisture and nutrients to survive summer heat now that the weather and soil are already hot, so they wilt frequently or die.
When replanting areas where you’ve just grown vegetables, follow heavy-feeding leafy vegetables like spinach and cabbage with nitrogen-replenishing legumes such as peas, beans, and soybeans. Don’t fertilize the soil again before succession plantings of beans or carrots. Excess nitrogen results in forked and hairy carrots and lush bean plants with fewer bean pods. Add some compost before setting out spinach, kale, and lettuce, since you do want lush foliage in these crops.
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