Beautiful Gardens by Williams H. Johnson
June signals the start of the summer season. The latter days of May provided some exceptionally cool weather conditions. Even though our summers tend to be on the warm side, productive home gardeners still can gather colorful bouquets from the landscape and fresh vegetables from the garden. The productive landscape and garden will call for early summer care, and important and timely gardening chores.
June’s gardening calendar
includes the following:
PEACH TREE PRUNING: Two major challenges of successful home peach production are 1.) thinning the overabundance of fruits at the right time and in the right amount, and 2.) the seemingly unmerciful act of summer pruning of branches that look so healthy. Due to last winter’s exceptionally mild temperatures, most peach trees set a light crop of peaches this year. Even so, pruning must be done to help ensure a good fruit set next spring.
The annual summer pruning of peach trees is a critical management practice for producing easily harvested, heavy crops of high quality peaches. If left unpruned, peach trees will become too tall and tangled to comfortably and safely harvest, and yields will start to decline.
Summer pruning should be carried out soon after all fruits have been harvested. That time is fast approaching for most varieties. As crucial as this practice is, home peach growers are often unaware of the importance of summer pruning and how to perform this task.Whether you are a novice or wish to enhance your current skills on summer pruning of peach trees, take steps now to reserve a space to participate in a hands-on training on pruning peach trees. The training will be conducted at the Master Gardener Discovery Garden located in Carbide Park (4102 Main, La Marque) on Thursday, June 1, at 9:00 a.m.
VEGETABLE HARVEST: Harvest vegetables frequently to insure continual production. When not harvested on a frequent enough basis, many vegetables will reduce production of flowers and channel their energy into seed production in the maturing fruit already on plants.
BLACKBERRIES: Once blackberry plants have completed their current crop, they should be fertilized. The “stalks” (called fruticanes) that produced this year’s crop will soon die back and should be removed to reduced disease problems. A new set of green “stalks” (called primicanes) should be present and these will produce next year’s crop of blackberries.
SUMMER ANNUALS: It is not too late to plant colorful summer annuals during June and early summer, especially if transplants are used. Plant dependable summer annuals such as vinca, impatiens, salvia, and portulaca.
ONIONS: Onions will be ready to harvest after their necks soften and the leaves fall over. Stop watering when that happens. Pull the bulbs, and let them dry in a shady, airy location. Once the tops have dried, clip the roots and tops, leaving about 1 inch above the bulb. Onions which put up a flower stalk will have a hollow center and will not keep very long, so eat them first.
DISCOVERY GARDEN TOUR: The Master Gardeners will conduct a “Garden with the Masters” program on Thursday, June 1. A guided tour of vegetable beds, fruit orchard and Asian garden will start at 9:00 a.m.; gardeners are also welcome to causally tour the garden and orchard thereafter until 11:00 a.m.
Plumeria Seminar: Master Gardener Loretta Osteen will provide a presentation on Growing Plumeria in Gulf Coast Gardens. Her presentation will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2017, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Discussion topics will include proper care of plumeria over the summer and winter seasons in addition to different flower shapes, fragrances and colors of the different varieties of plumeria successfully grown in our growing area. Methods of propagation and ways to use the flowers will be discussed. A limited number of potted plumeria plants will also be available for seminar participants to take home. The seminar will be conducted at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office located in Carbide Park (4102-B Main St. in La Marque). Pre-register by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (281-309-5065).
GARDENIAS: Most gardenias have completed their flowering display by mid-June. Next year’s flower buds will be formed on this year’s new growth. Therefore, if you need to prune gardenia bushes for minor shaping, do so now to avoid reducing next spring’s flower display.
MASTER GARDENER NEWSLETTER ONLINE: The Galveston County Master Gardener newsletter is crammed full of useful information on Gulf Coast gardening ranging from commonly found insect pests in the garden to Master Gardeners listing their favorite landscape and vegetable plants.
After reading a hard copy of the Master Gardener newsletter, local gardeners typically inquire if it is available online. I am now pleased to report that the newsletter is available online and is accessible through the website address provided under my byline at the end of this column.
William Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Visit his website at aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.html.