With the short spring, the rush of getting the flower beds cleaned, new annuals planted and the lawn mowed for the first time left us with little time to plan for the remainder of the summer. There are still lots of tasks that can and should be to be completed in June.
As the heat of summer sets in, the lawn should be mowed higher to prevent heat stress. The taller grass acts as shade for the root system and will retain moisture better preventing burn out. It also is best to leave the grass clippings on the lawn unless the grass has gotten so tall that the clippings will smother out the grass. In this case the clippings need to be bagged or raked and disposed of.
If you have mums and sedum in your yard now is the time to trim and shape them. When either of these plants bloom in the fall they have a tendency to flop over requiring you to stake them or tie them up. If you desire a more rounded or global look, the plants need to be trimmed into that shape now. You will be trimming back what look like buds on your sedum but they will quickly grow back with more buds than you trimmed. Some people prefer the larger blooms in the fall but most likely you will have to stake them to prevent flopping.
Now also is the time to trim back your hanging baskets and containers. Oftentimes you have purchased your basket at its peak. As the plants grow, the basket or container get a long leggy look. The plants need to be pruned back so that they will branch out and become fuller. Often you will be trimming off flowers at the end of the plant. This has to be done to get the full luscious basket you desire. Now also is the time to fertilize the basket or container according to fertilizer directions.
Last but not least now is the time to plant your cucumbers. Cucumbers planted at this time are less likely to suffer from cucumber wilt. If you have limited space, try one of the bush varieties that grow to 2 feet in diameter but produce abundant results.
It also is time to apply mulch. Mulch will retain moisture, inhibit weed growth and prevent disease such as tomato blight from attacking your plants. The spores for blight live in the soil so that watering and the rain will splatter the spores onto your tomatoes. Applying mulch very carefully around the plants will keep the spores in the ground and off the plant.
Enjoy your garden and the sense of accomplishment you deserve.
l For gardening questions call the Linn County Extension Hortline at (319) 447-0647 from 10 a.m. to noon weekdays.