In the Garden
Answer: Victory Garden
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Visit the UC Agricultural and Natural Resources website for more information on veggie gardening and other gardening projects and issues that you may want to address in your self-isolation.
- Tomato Basics
- Early Tomatoes
- Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Heirloom Tomatoes
- Plant the Right Tomato
- Growing Tomatoes with Less Water
- Grafted Tomatoes
- Tomato Tales
Food Garden Tips
June Food Garden Tasks and Tips
For what to grow this month, click here.
- Summer officially arrives on June 20. This month’s full moon occurs on June 5th and is called a Strawberry Moon as it signaled the Algonquin tribes that it was time to gather wild strawberries
- Despite the heat, the recent periods of rain have encouraged weeds to sprout and grow, so, weed and weed some more. Add more mulch (to 3-4” deep) as necessary, to suppress weeds and to retain moisture. Keep mulch away from plant stems and tree trunks.
- As the weather warms up, the evapotranspiration (ET) rate increases which affects the amount of moisture your food garden needs. ON AVERAGE, during the summer your garden needs 1 inch of water per square foot per week. How much is 1 inch of water in a square foot? About 2/3 gallon (0.623 gallon to be more exact). Here is some advice on using water efficiently—we can’t afford to waste water with our hot, dry summers:
o Rely on compost to feed your soil. That and mulch will retain soil moisture.
o Water daily if possible—adjust the weekly water needs to a daily figure if not watering daily. In general, vegetables perform better when there is even moisture in the soil in the Sonoma County hot, dry summer.
o Water only the active root zone. For most veggies, this is 6 to 12 inches deep; in deep soil in an open field or in double-dug beds, this may be 18-inches deep; for many fruit trees, this is 2 to 3 feet deep.
o Use a drip system, which is the most efficient application of water. Keep it in good repair. This requires regularly checking for leaks and plugged-up emitters.
o For 1/2 gallon emitters spaced 1’ apart, running the system for 11 minutes per day achieves the recommended 0.623 gallons/week.
o In a system with multiple dripper runs, consider installing an on/off valve at the head of each long dripper line; this allows you to easily cut off water to plants like tomatoes once they start producing, or to alliums when they get close to harvest.
o Irrigate in the early morning or the cool of the evening—not mid-day when evaporation rates are at their highest. If your soil has a high clay component, split your irrigation time and water early morning and late evening for maximum efficiency.
o Water only when needed. If the ET rate drops below average, you can decrease irrigation. Check the moisture in your soil regularly, monitor your plants’ appearance, and adjust your irrigation accordingly. Actual watering schedules will depend on soil type, container vs. in-ground, plant age (leaf/plant size), mulch, exposure and especially temperature.
- Stake tomatoes (and use soft ties), or use cages if it was not done at the time of planting. Removing most of the shoots that grow in the crotches between the stem and the leave will keep the plant more open, but is a matter of choice. Do train the plants to your trellis or support as they grow, but, don’t handle the plants in the morning when they are wet from dew—disease can spread and you can bruise the plant. The stems will bend more easily in the afternoon.
- Tomatillos are only slightly self-fertile and you need at least two plants for a good crop.
- As you finish your transition from a spring to summer garden, choose early vegetable varieties with shorter “days to maturity” that have high yields, and/or that are “drought-tolerant” or “drought-resistant” to efficiently use water. Note that “heat-resistant” refers to air temperature and does not mean that the variety performs well with less water.
- When apple, pear, peach and nectarine trees have formed small fruit, thin them to about 4 to 6 inches apart—about the space between your thumb and pinky finger. Less fruit requires less water, and the fruit will grow bigger.
- During the spring bloom period, fertilize citrus. Typically, mature trees use up to 3 lbs of urea or 20-30 lbs of animal manure per year (reduce for smaller trees); split the application into three parts, applied during April, June and August.
- Remember to look at your planting calendar, annotated with days to maturity, so that you harvest your crops at their peak of flavor.
- Use yellow sticky tape to control whiteflies or apply insecticidal soap to the undersides of leaves. Larger pests such as hornworms and squash bugs can be handpicked and dropped into a container of soapy water or cut worms in half with garden shears.
- Click here for ongoing monthly tasks.