Algoplus Garden Blog

Happy Summer Solstice! Garden Tips for June

The longest day of the year and first day of summer lands on June 21 this year, also known as the summer solstice - Which means the warmest season is almost upon us! The weather is heating up and your garden is booming with growth, flowers and fruit! June is often our favorite time in the garden.

While I have a deep-seated love of gardening, I also want it to be as easy as possible during this busy month in the garden. Here are some tips to get the most out of your time in the and help those plants grow a little better.

Work in the garden early in the day to beat the heat of the afternoon.

Continue to fertilize flowering plants and garden vegetables to encourage blooms, growth and fruit production.

Dead head annuals. Walk through your yard at least once a week and cut off dead, faded flowers to encourage new blossoms.

Mow grass in the evening, when the ground is dry to avoid dew.

Soaker hoses save time, prevent weeds, and conserve water by delivering water directly to the plants roots with a slow, steady drip. Water your vegetable garden deeply, but infrequently. Check out our drip irrigation kits here.

Save steamed or boiled vegetable water from the kitchen: This water is filled with nutrients that will feed growing plants!

You may begin harvesting in the southern portion of the United States

Pick vegetables and fruit like strawberries frequently to encourage new flowers and subsequent fruit and vegetables.

Remove unproductive plants as they stop producing.

Animal repellents

Use organic commercial repellents if at all possible to protect your family, the environment and your garden. For rodents - be sure to secure any open food sources such as a compost bin. To deter rodents (and rabbits) naturally, soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place in areas of activity.

Daily plant inspections for prevention of pests problems

If using organic methods (it's safer for your garden, your family, natural wildlife and the environment) of insect control, it is absolutely essential to be vigilant.

Prevention is your best friend! A healthy garden is the best defense.

Discourage insects from coming in the first place:

- keep debris and clutter out of the garden to minimize insect habitats

- remove dead plants right away

- have healthy soil - mix in organic matter before planting
- disinfect tools

- keep plant leaves dry by avoiding irrigation in the evening (or use drip irrigation)

- mix different types of plants in the garden deters plant specific insects - See complimentary plants

- add  or attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, nematodes, and praying mantis.

Egg shells are a great garden addition! Baked, or boiled, crushed egg shells can be added to the soil to deter small animals (cats, rabbits, etc.) from the gardens, prevents cutworms and once they absorb into the soil, make a great calcium fertilizer for the plants! Tomatoes and peppers especially love the addition of calcium.

Slugs and snails: There's a few ways to deal with these guys. You can pick them off directly from plants, patios and anywhere else they may be roaming and drop them in a warm soapy bath or move to a far away location. Too squeamish? If your plants are in containers or raised beds, wrap copper tape around edge to deter them from even entering. Or, you can put a deep container in the garden and fill it with beer. They will be attracted to the beer, fall in and drown.

Also have earwigs and other soft-bodied garden pests in addition to slugs and snails? Take them all out by sprinkling diatomaceous earth over plants and around edges of garden beds.

Mites, aphids, mealybugs: Mix 2 tbsp. dish soap and a few drops canola oil into spray bottle of warm water. Spray any aphids as soon as possible covering the bottoms of the leaves thoroughly, they reproduce into large colonies very quickly!

Grubs: Milky spore granules spread on the soil causes the grubs to contract a disease that ultimately kills them. Only effects grubs, other insects, including beneficial insects, remain unharmed. One treatment can last up to 40 years!

Mites and other insects: 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (or cayenne pepper) with a few drops of Ivory soap in a quart of water. Let it stand overnight, mix it up again and pour in a spray bottle. Spray leaves and insects, shaking the mixture frequently.

Caution: Insecticidal sprays, whether natural, homemade and/or organic that kill harmful insects will also kill beneficial insects. Use these homemade remedies selectively, applying in the morning or evening to prevent burn and only spraying the infected plants.

Paper mulch or newspaper

Lay the paper between plants and through walkways with a layer of straw or mulch to eliminate weeds and improve water retention.  This can be done well after planting if needed.

Late planting this year?

Fear not! There are still plenty of beautiful midsummer plants to brighten your gardens:
Flowers: Marigolds, Sunflowers, Impatients
Herbs: Basil, parsley, chives, sage and thyme
Vegetables: corn, eggplant, squash, zucchini, peas, carrots and bell peppers.  Beans may also be a great choice just check your planting zone first.

Fungal diseases

Fungus thrives in cool, moist conditions. Some plants such as roses and tomatoes tend to be more susceptible to fungus than other plants during wet weather. Prevention is key! Good sanitation in the vegetable garden and flower beds prevents the spread of fungus.  Be sure plants have adequate space when first planting, avoid walking in the gardens when leaves are wet to keep from unintentionally picking up and spreading disease, and pinch any affected leaves and toss leaves in the garbage (not compost bin).

If left untreated, fungus can spread not just all over a single plant but also to other plants nearby. Using a commercial fungicide or a homemade fungicide will prevent or tame a disease that has already begun.

Homemade Fungicide Recipe:

1 -2 tablespoons neem oil*
1 heaping tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pure castile or dish soap (biodegradable with no phosphates)
1 gallon water

Directions: Combine ingredients into a large sprayer and mix/shake well. Spray the affected plants thoroughly, being sure to coat the top and bottom of the leaves. Shake spray bottle periodically before and during application. Reapply weekly.

*If you need to get started right away and don't have neem oil on hand, add an extra 1/2 tablespoon of baking sodaand 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil to the water. 

Anytime you use a homemade fungicide, you should always test it out on a small leaf of the plant first to make sure that it will not harm the plant.

Northern regions

Take a peek at the planting season for fall and winter crops mid-June to prepare for your fall and winter gardens. You may be able to start these indoors during the summer so they are ready for transplant when the time comes.

Lawn Maintenance

Use the 3" setting on lawnmowers to encourage deep root growth. this will prevent weeds by shading the seeds and will also hold up to better foot traffic! Continuing fertilizing with ALGOplus All Purpose liquid fertilizer once per month.

These tips are general recommendations for USDA Hardiness Zones 4-10.

Be sure to check North America's USDA plant hardiness zones map for your specific zone when planning your gardening and selecting plants.