Edible Walls' Blog

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The First Day of Summer - What to do for your garden this month

The First Day of Summer (Summer Solstice) 2013

This Friday, June 21st, is the longest day of the year and it presents the perfect opportunity to get out and garden! Here is a list of things to do for your garden in June.

Garden To-Do's for June include: 

Flower Bed Maintenance:  Deadhead, fertilize, and water those flower beds

Garden Design: If you live anywhere near Texas, like we do, June is a good month to do some indoor gardening work. Specifically, this is a good time to get out your pencil and graph paper and start planning. Consider planning a water-wise landscape this year. And remember, GROW NATIVE and GROW GREEN. 

Soil & Mulch: Mulch, mulch, mulch. I can't say enough about the benefits of mulching when it comes to conserving water and reducing your work load. Can you even mulch a vertical garden? Yes, the Wally Pockets have a big enough soil surface volume that mulching can be of great benefit.

Water: As of June 4, 2013, 95% of Texas is in some form of drought conditions, and our state reservoirs are only 67% full. Here in Austin we are in Stage 2 water restrictions, meaning we can only use Hose-End Sprinklers one day a week. However, us vertical gardeners use drip irrigation systems, which are exempt from the water restrictions due to their increased efficiency. To see instructions for building your own Automatic Drip Irrigation System for your vertical garden, click here. Drip irrigation systems are so targeted and precise that they will not only take less from our precious water stores but also reduce your monthly water bill. Win win.

 Plant Care: Heat stress can make plants more vulnerable to pests. Be ready with your favorite method for controlling pests. We are big fans of using natural pest predators for our gardens. This year we have seen a natural rise in the lady bug population due to last years crazy aphid outbreak. They are doing a nice job keeping pests at bay, but we have our old favorite Neem oil (organic pesticide derived from the neem tree of India) on stand by just in case.

 Tree, Shrub & Vine Care: Check yours for signs of drought stress, such as browning of leaf edges, leaf yellowing or wilting, and dropping foliage. Not all trees and shrubs will need supplemental watering, but even the most drought tolerant will need a little love in times of severe drought.

Lawns: Now is the time to raise that mower height to help your lawn withstand the coming heat. For Bermuda, shoot for 2 inches. This is a tough grass. For St. Augustine, 4 inches is good. And 6 inches for Buffalo grass will do it.  This month, keep your eye out for drought stress and chinch bug damage. If you see the signs, act fast.

Veggies, Herbs & Fruit: Summer produce is starting to roll in! Black-eyed peas, green beans, onions, peaches, peppers, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelons, cucumbers, eggplant, and more abound about this time of year. Our Vertical Veggie Gardens are throwing out Patio Tomatoes, Purple Beauty Bell Peppers, Little Finger Eggplant, and Bush Pickle Cucumbers left and right. Maintenance tasks for our gardens this month are: harvesting (that is the fun one), watering (we have automatic drip irrigation systems that do the watering for us, but we always monitor each plant to be sure it is getting enough - especially as the temps rise), and monitor pests.

 Birds & Butterflies: This is a great month for bird watchers! If you're not careful, you can watch them eat your winnings. Throw a bird net around your prized possessions and relax as you admire their beauty and quirky little bird behaviors.