Jan’s online garden hints

Jan’s June Tips

-Entice butterflies to stay in your garden by adding a stone where they can bask in the sun and a pan filled with moist sand where they can sip water.  Include nectar sources such as blazing star, butterfly bush and lantana.  Plant extra dill, parsley or fennel for swallowtail larvae to munch, and butterfly or swamp milkweed for monarch larvae.


-Dump standing water from buckets, plant saucers, reservoirs in self-watering pots, toys, and any other places where mosquitoes might breed.  Where you can’t dump the water, add a Mosquito Dunk.

-After a rain, delay working in the garden until the foliage dries so you won’t spread fungus disease.

-If flower buds turn brown and dry up before blossoms open, pick off and destroy infested buds and any fading flowers.  Spray the plant with insecticidal soap to control tiny insects called thrips, the likely culprit.

-When their flowers fade, shear baby’s breath and perennial salvia to encourage the plants to bloom again.  Also cut back spent bloom stalks of delphiniums.

-Control slugs and snails without harming pets or the environment; use Sluggo or other product that contains iron phosphate.

-If hosta leaves scorch in the sun, cut off damaged leaves and plan to move the plants to a shady spot in spring or fall.

-Help garden phlox stay healthy by pulling out crowded shoots.

-Plant seeds of biennials such as standing cypress and Canterbury bells for a beautiful show next summer.

-Keep clematis roots cool by mulching the soil, or plant annuals to shade the roots.

-Shear tall chrysanthemums back a few inches to produce full plants with more blooms.

-Place tropical water lilies and bog plants in the water garden as soon as the water temperature rises to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Fertilize water lilies by pushing one lily fertilizer tablet deep into the soil in each pot once per month, beginning now.  Deprive algae of needed sunlight by adding a few drops of one of the nontoxic products that tint the water blue.

-Discourage tiny pests such as aphids or spider mites with a strong jet of water from the garden hose.

-Dig and divide crowded daffodils, tulips or other spring-blooming bulbs while their dying foliage is still visible.  Or use golf tees to mark the location of the bulbs so you can find them to divide in the fall.

-Dig and divide crowded magic lilies (“naked ladies”) after their foliage fades.

-If potting soil in containers dries out and the soil pulls away from the sides, set the pot in a tub of water until the soil absorbs enough water that you can push it back into place.  Avoid adding fertilizer when the soil is dry.

-Don’t despair if small-to-moderate-sized hail damages your garden.  Plants are often amazingly resilient, sprouting new leaves and looking much better within a few weeks.

Vegetables, fruits and herbs:

-Mulch the vegetable garden to conserve soil moisture, control weeds, and help prevent problems such as green potatoes, blossom-end rot of tomatoes, green-shouldered carrots and rough beets.

-Tuck wayward tomato vines back into their cages.  Remove any lower branches that have spotted foliage.

-Stop harvesting asparagus this month to help plants regain vigor for next year’s crop.

-Plant seeds of heat-tolerant lettuces such as Buttercrunch and the Batavian varieties now for midsummer harvest.  If you can’t keep up with the harvest of your spring-planted lettuces, shear back the plants to 2 or 3 inches to encourage those plants to produce fresh new leaves instead of seed stalks.

-When cauliflower heads begin to form, use clothespins to clip the leaves together.  Harvest as soon as the curds are fully developed.  Harvest broccoli heads when well developed but firm, before any of the tiny yellow flowers open.

-Plant Brussels sprouts, radicchio and broccoli seeds for a fall crop. For a continuous harvest of bush beans, make a second planting of bean seeds.

-Pinch off garlic flower buds as soon as they begin to form at the top of the plants.

-Harvest new potatoes any time after the plants flower.

-When the weather is dry enough to water the garden, remember to water the compost pile, too.

-If weeds are clogging paths, smother the weeds with sections of damp newspapers topped with a layer of mulch.

-Pull any seed stalks that develop on rhubarb plants.

-Don’t panic at the normal “June drop” from apple trees, but do pick up and compost the dropped fruit.

-Fight gray mold in the strawberry patch by removing any rotten or moldy berries. If ants are making holes in the berries, pour boiling water over the ant hill.  Protect ripening berries from birds.

-As soon as blackberry and black or purple raspberry canes are 3 feet tall, pinch a few inches off each growing tip.

-Check fruit and nut trees for signs of fall webworms; prune out any of the silky webs now, while they’re still small.

-To enjoy fantastic fragrance and easy-to-pick flavoring for your iced tea, plant lemon verbena in a pot placed in a sunny spot on your patio or deck.

Trees, shrubs and lawn:

-If you have an automatic sprinkler for the lawn, adjust it so it doesn’t kill your trees and shrubs by keeping the ground around them too wet.

-Help your bluegrass survive the heat by raising the height of the mower’s cutting blade to 3 inches.

-Don’t bother spraying a honeylocust tree if the leaves are deformed.  The damaged leaves, caused by the feeding of plant bugs, will soon be replaced by new foliage.

-If ash or sycamore leaves brown and drop, rake up the fallen leaves to control anthracnose, a fungus disease.

-Remove any lilac shoots that are drooped and blackened, making your cuts several inches below any sign of disease.

Control bagworms on junipers and other evergreens by handpicking bags anytime before the eggs hatch, usually about the time Japanese tree lilacs begin to bloom.  Spray newly hatched bagworms with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt for short).


-Remove any suckers growing from the ground around crabapple or other trees.

-Spread bark chips or other mulch around trees to prevent “mower blight,” the number one threat to trees.

-When rains fail, water this year’s new trees and shrubs once a week.

-If a weed tree sprouts so close to the trunk of a prized specimen that you can’t dig it out or spray it, cut the top off the unwanted sapling. Invert a large tin can over the remaining stub, leaving the can in place for several months