June has brought us some cooler weather. After our warm dry weather in May, June has set back the gardens a bit. If you think your plants are just sitting there and not growing, you are not alone. We really needed the rainfall last week after a long dry spell. This cooler weather has been a good time to add new plants to the garden so keep on planting while its here.
I am hearing reports of leaf curl on tomato. This is often seen on the older leaves and is the plants response to the cold. The plants will recover once it warms up again. Plants like basil and peppers are not liking the cooler nights. You may have some yellowing on your plants until it warms up.
Pests have also started appearing in the garden. Leaf miner has been spotted on columbine, swiss chard, spinach and beets. Pick off affected leaves that have the telltale brown blotches and dispose of them in the trash or freeze them and compost them. The leaf miner is inside the leaf so is hard to control. Cover your new seedlings with a floating row cover to keep the fly from laying her eggs on your plants.
Aphids have returned and must be knocked off plants with a strong jet of water from the hose.Because aphids give birth to live females every three days they can quickly get out of control. Sometimes its best to remove a stem of aphids and dispose of them in the trash.
There are also signs of powdery mildew in the rose garden. You will find that roses that are planted up next to a wall or under an overhang are more susceptible. Give your roses plenty of air circulation to prevent mildew problems. Choose rose varieties that are less prone to this fungal disease.
Harvest season has just begun with garlic scapes being seen at all the farmers markets. Cut your scapes from hardneck garlic before they curl twice. I like my stems picked while still tender. I fry them up with rice, make them into hummus or freeze them for later use. Once you have harvested your scapes it’s time to stop watering your garlic plants. Garlic will be ready to harvest when two-thirds of the leaves have turned yellow. Here in the lower mainland, garlic is harvested in the first two weeks of July.
Think about what you will plant after your garlic has been harvested. I will be planting beans this year and they will add nitrogen back to the soil. Remember the garlic was in the ground for nine months so the soil will be depleted of nutrients. Add some organic amendments before planting your next crop.
Remember to enjoy your garden now. Some plants are fleeting and bloom for such a short time. As we leave the Rhododendrons behind the roses begin their fabulous show along with other spring perennials. Annual flowers steal the show during the hot months of July and August when the gardens can often look tired. Now is the time to pick up extra colour on sale at most garden centres. Adding a container of colour to a bare spot in the garden brings it back to life.
This year we have added many new plants to the garden and we are trialling a few 2019 plants from Proven Winners. The new plants will be available in the spring of 2019 at most garden centres. The one I am most excited about is Thunbergia Tangerine Slice A-Peel. Just look at its colour, it’s gorgeous! Its available in garden centres this season.
As I wrote this post there is a big change in the weather this week with temperatures going from 13C to close to 30C. Expect plants that have been sitting to start growing quickly this week. Keep your gardens watered and stay hydrated. I harvested a bunch of cool season crops today as this heat will have them bolting. It just shows you that you never know what mother nature will bring from month to month.