Ann Wright: Garden tips for early summer |

Ann Wright: Garden tips for early summer

Root vegetable. Herbaceous plant and culinary herb, corriander. Healthy eating, nutrition.
photo by Scott M. Liddell |

Our over-the-winter rains have encouraged lots of new growth this spring.

As summer approaches, there are a number of activities to keep gardeners busy.

The Master Gardeners’ Western Nevada County Garden Guide offers gardening tips for June:

Plant successive crops of basil, cilantro or other plants for use during the summer and into the fall.

For ornamentals, plant summer color such as scabiosa, ageratum, coreopsis, dahlia, gaillardia, impatiens, marigolds, penstemon, portulaca and others. Sunflowers are also available in many different sizes and will add color and variety to the garden bed.

Encourage blooms on roses – On hybrid tea roses and grandifloras, cut ¼” above the topmost leaf with five leaflets, remove faded flowers and feed plants with a complete fertilizer. Complete fertilizer is one that contains all three of the plant’s major nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N, P and K). Look carefully at labels for directions on use of commercial fertilizers.

For home compost, turn the pile as temperatures heat up. Consider the “big four”: browns, greens, air and water. Browns (carbons) are things like chopped, woody prunings, dry leaves, newspaper, or torn up cardboard. Alfalfa pellets, aged manure, used tea bags, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps are good sources of nitrogen (greens) for the pile. Keep the pile moist and turn to add air. The Master Gardener website is a good source for information about composting ( ).

Remove spent bulb foliage after it has turned yellow; mark locations of bulbs to be divided in fall.

When fruit reaches the size of marbles, thin apples, Asian pears, nectarines and peaches for good fruit development.

Check sprinkler systems and repair leaks. Conserve water as summer becomes more hot and dry. Deep water young trees once a week in June.

Remove fire hazards by mowing grassy areas and clearing brush from around the house. Cut branches back to at least 15 to 20 feet from the house.

Remember that a thick layer of mulch around vegetable and ornamentals will help conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Mulch should be at least 3 inches deep and 3 to 4 inches away from the trunk or base of the plant.

Aphids can generally be controlled via natural enemies such as lady bugs. A sharp spray of water will help wash aphids away. Slugs and caterpillars can be hand picked. Consult the UC Davis IPM (Integrated Pest Management) website for more detail on garden pests. The website is

The Nevada County Master Gardeners are available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon in the Hotline office at the Veteran’s Building, 255 S. Auburn St. in Grass Valley.

The Hotline number is 530-273-0919. Call us or come visit with your questions about home gardening.

Or join us at the Grower’s Market at the North Star House on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

The next Master Gardeners Workshop, another in the Foothill Gardening Series, “How to Grow Cool Season Vegetables in Fall, Winter and Early Spring,” will be presented July 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Demonstration Garden, NID complex at 1036 W. Main St. in Grass Valley.

Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener.

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