Garden, Plant, Cook!

Monday, May 14, 2018

June Planting Tips, Around the Garden, and Thinking Ahead to July and August

Dear Folks, 

Getting into the hot part of our year in the desert garden, some new to gardening here may think there is nothing to grow or would be growing.  Not so, fellow gardeners.

--If you live in USDA Zone 9b and above this information is also helpful as it is not just about temperature, it is about daylight hours and the plants that love the warm long summer days.

If you sowed or transplanted your basil last month, it should be growing lushly, maybe even needing pinching for bigger leaves* and -- good news -- Basil LOVES THE HEAT!  As long as your soil is healthy, the plant(s) are in full sun and breezy areas and you water wisely (deep) your basil will reward you with abundant growth all summer.  Likewise your tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant should be producing or near producing.

*Pinch back basil to increase energy into bigger leaves and USE those flowers and what you have pinched.  I added my Dark Opal and Sweet Italian Basil to a grain salad I made the other day when we had friends over for dinner on the patio.

Tomatoes will take a break producing fruit after the night time temps stay in the 80s, but keep that plant healthy and it will produce again in the fall when the temps drop back down.

Squash, Peppers, and Eggplant will produce all summer long.  Peppers like some afternoon shade.

Use your moisture meter to determine if you need to change the frequency of watering adjusting to the higher temperatures.  Did you know you can actually over water when the humidity starts ramping up in July?  Again use that meter.


Cucumber, Armenian
Luffa Gourd
Melons, Musk
Peas, Black Eyed
Peppers, Chiles
Potato, Sweet

USING existing plants you can under- seed with:  Basil, Chives, Shiso, and Epazote


Roselle, Jamaica Sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa) (not too late to direct sow seeds)

    June through August in the Desert Southwest is the equivalent of winter in North Dakota — you maintain what you have planted, taking special care of young or sensitive plants.

   With the exception of August when the heavy pre-fall seed “sowing” begins, it is a good idea to hold off on any major transplanting until the fall when the temperatures drop back to prime planting weather (below 90 daytime).
    Our Flower Mulching technique can be used to protect young plants by canopying the soil around them, placing the flowering plants very close to the base of the young plants.
    Heavy watering requirements may result in yellowing of leaves due to iron deficiency, especially of fruit trees (Chlorosis).  Apply Ironite or Green Sand before next watering to correct.
    Sowing corn for fall harvest, plant ONLY one variety at a time, so you can save some dried corn after harvest for re-sowing (2 varieties will cross).  You can sow corn twice a year.

    Begin looking into what you will be sowing mid to late July and Early August for fall growth.  If you want winter squash or pumpkin you need to count backwards from Halloween or Thanksgiving 90-120 days for sowing.  Also you can seed in winter herbs such as Cilantro, Chervil, Dill and Parsley in August and the seeds will germinate when the soil begins cooling.  You need to make sure the sown area stays moist.  Light Leaf cover helps.

In The Garden Now

Lots of fun things growing in the garden now.

Cantaloupe - I was a bit later than I wanted to be getting my seeds in the ground. Got some heirloom Petit Melon from a friend, but because I was late, I purchased an organic cantaloupe plant and after hardening it off, popped it into the ground near the emerging seeds.  Using one of my chicken wire hats to keep the critters off while they get going.

I have a baby cucumber and a baby crook necked squash coming on.

Many of the plants I started early were negatively impacted by the up/down weather. Some plants which should have really taken off earlier were delayed and some which should have been harvested already were also delayed by the increased heat. 

Global weirding at work! 

One plant I was really happy to see up is my Turmeric.  This will be the second and a half year of growth.  Last fall I harvested some roots for use, so happy to have that available in my garden.

Peanuts are doing great!  I am delighted with this new attempt to grow them and decided on a large pot, as they require space to be able to bend their flower heads down into the soil and I needed to keep track of that action.

Flowering in the garden are my hollyhocks and my celery.  I will be catching the celery seed for use in the kitchen AND re-sowing next fall.

What is fun about the celery is the one flowering in the picture is my "kitchen trash recycle" where I replant the bottom of an organic celery bunch.  I am still waiting for my red celery to flower.  This past fall and winter excessive heat delayed my celery coming up (it reseeds itself), so I buy organic when I need it and replant the base.  The picture showing it in a chicken wire collar for protection from the birds (not sure why they like to dig it up but they do) transplanted in November after soaking in a dish for a couple of days.  Fun in the garden stuff! 

The plants which I am most concerned about are my garlic.  The excessively warm fall and winter have delayed and may have stunted the garlic.  I barely have a few scapes from the regular garlic while the elephant garlic which did not bloom last year and I left in the ground, did produce scapes last month, so I will harvest those.

These very small and below normal size scapes on the regular garlic are just coming on now.  They should have been growing more than a month ago and I should be harvesting my regular garlic right now.  I am going to wait until the plants begin dying back and then pull them and hope for the best.

Last years crop never matured and interestingly unlike the elephant garlic which re-grew in place, never came back up.

So to explain.

Garlic requires prolonged chill - not necessarily freezing - to produce a head of cloves.  A normal planting / growing season here in the desert is plant October 1st or no later than October 31st to have the longest time in the ground and harvest around mid-May.

With the mostly commonly grown varieties called hard-neck, after a nice winter of chilly to cold weather the plants come up, produce a scape in the spring (between March and April.  You wait until the scape top reaches the height of the leaves and cut it off as the base. Then a couple of weeks later the plant begins to yellow and die back.  You carefully harvest and hang to dry in a shaded area and in a couple of weeks when the exterior is papery you have garlic which can be stored and used as needed.  As I noted, hoping for the best.

So much of my gardens are just a delight and producing, so I am happy with what the gardens have and are giving us.

Planting at the best times, usually creates wonderful bounty year round here in the desert or USDA Zone 9b+ gardens.

For easy reference on when to plant, you can purchase my perpetual calendar with monthly sowing/planting tips and garden maintenance information - click on the link here, there is a preview you can check out.

Have a wonderful day in the garden!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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zack scott said...

Great info! I especially like the advice regarding what plants will be ready to be put in the garden in the upcoming month.
Thank you!

Catherine, The Herb Lady said...


You are welcome, and I'm happy you are finding the information helpful. Have a best day.