With June just around the corner, it’s time to prep the lawn and garden for the grueling Texas summer! Not sure where to begin? Complements of the Natural Gardener, the “organic gardening headquarters” of Southwest Austin, you’ve come to just the right place!
JUNE GARDENING TIPS
1. Plant vegetable seeds. Chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, okra, black-eyed peas, salsify, New Zealand spinach, Malabar spinach, summer squash, winter squash, tomatillo. EARLY JUNE: Lima beans, beets.
2. Plant vegetable plants. Okra, peppers, tomatoes.
3. Prepare your pumpkin patch. The 4th of July is the time to plant pumpkin seeds if you want jack-o-lanterns by Halloween! Reserve an 8 foot by 8 foot area for each pumpkin patch.
4. Plant herbs. Artemesias (mugwort, southernwood, wormwood), basil, bay, catnip, chives, comfrey, epazote, lamb’s ear, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, Mexican mint marigold, mints, oregano, pennyroyal, rosemary, sage, winter savory, tansy, thyme, yarrow.
5. Plant annual flower/ornamental seeds. Amaranthus (including love-lies-bleeding and Joseph’s coat), aster, balsam, castor bean, celosias (including cockscomb), cleome, cosmos, cypress vine, feverfew, four o’ clocks, heliotrope, impatiens, marigold, moonflower, morning glory, nasturtium, nicotiana, periwinkle, salvia, torenia (wishbone flower), vinca, zinnia. EARLY JUNE: Sunflower, tithonia (Mexican sunflower).
6. Plant annual flower/ornamental plants. Amaranthus, balsam, wax begonia, blue daze, celosias (including cockscomb), coleus, copperleaf, cosmos, marigold, Mexican heather, penta, periwinkle, portulaca, purslane, vinca, zinnia.
7. Plant perennial plants. Beebalm (Monarda didyma), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), copper canyon daisy, cupheas (including bat-faced and cigar plant), coreopsis, daisies (including ox-eye and shasta), daylily, echinacea (purple coneflower), eupatoriums (including Gregg’s mistflower), gayfeather (Liatris), goldenrod, ornamental grasses, lamb’s ears, lantana, plumbago, red hot poker (Kniphofia), ruellias, salvias, santolina, sedum.
8. Plant ground covers and borders.
9. Fertilize established trees, shrubs, lawn, and plants. Use an organic fertilizer like the Lady Bug brand 8-2-4 or Garden Pep Cottonseed Meal.
10. Continue spraying entire landscape with seaweed solution in the morning or evening. This is especially helpful in preparing plants for the heat of the summer, and in urging tomatoes and other plants to bloom and set fruit.
11. Apply Medina Soil Activator or Lady Bug Terra Tonic to soil. Applying one of these products two to four times a year does wonders to improve soil texture, stimulate microbes, and remove salts from the soil. Terra Tonic has the additional benefit of adding humates to the soil, feeding microbes with molasses, and adding hormones and micronutrients with seaweed.
12. Water sparingly. Water more deeply and less frequently.
13. Mulch all bare soil areas. Use at least three inches wherever possible to get the full benefits of holding in moisture and keeping out weeds.
14. Fertilize the lawn a second time with an organic fertilizer. This mid-season fertilization is especially important if the lawn has recently been converted to an organic maintenance program. Lady Bug brand 8-2-4 is an ideal lawn fertilizer.
15. Check all plants for signs of pest or disease problems. Identify the problem correctly before treating, and treat with the least toxic solution to that specific problem.
16. Remove poorly adapted plants which have consistent disease and/or pest problems.
17. Keep an eye on your lawn for chinch bug damage. The damage usually shows up in full sun areas (in hot, dry weather) as yellowing, then browning, irregular patches. Check the green areas next to the browning or yellowing areas for the tiny insects.
18. Minimize grasshopper damage. Four routes of organic control are recommended. – First, as often as possible and over as wide an area as possible, spread Nolo Bait. It doesn’t harm any other critters except for everyday crickets. When properly applied, the grasshoppers eat the Nolo and get sick. Tomorrow’s grasshoppers cannibalize the sick ones, spreading the disease through the population. Because of the grasshoppers’ sheer numbers and mobility, Nolo Bait is most effective when used over larger areas.
– Second, there is a relatively new control called Kaolin clay. One to two cups of the powdered clay is mixed with a gallon of water with about a teaspoon of soap. This mixture should be sprayed onto all leaf surfaces. The object is to have a white film on the leaf that repels the grasshoppers. This may require more than one application, depending on the concentration of clay in the spray.
– Another spray-on recipe was given to the Natural Gardener by a customer. Mix one cup of diatomaceous earth with one gallon of water along with two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses. Spray this onto the plants. Diatomaceous earth looks like talcum powder, but to the insects it is like broken glass.
– The last route for control of grasshoppers is simply a physical barrier. Row cover is a white, lightweight, spun fabric that is often used as frost protection for tender plants in the winter, but is also used as an insect barrier.
19. Consider a fall facelift! Fall is THE best time to plant anything permanent here in Texas, such as trees, shrubs, and perennials. If you have ever thought about revamping your landscape, summer is the time to start designing. Do it yourself, or consider bringing in a reputable landscape designer who specializes in native plants and organic methods.
Thank you, Natural Gardener!
Check out the information section of their website for additional information. Or, take a trip to see them! “We’re a garden shop, nursery and teaching facility dedicated to promoting organic, time-tested gardening practices,” extols owner John Dromgoole. Have questions, or need supplies? His award-winning nursery is ten-time winner of Austin Chronicle’s “Best of Austin!”
Mon-Sat: 8 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
(Hours Change Seasonally)
8648 Old Bee Caves Road
Austin, Texas 78735
Directions to the Natural Gardener:
This gardening store is relatively close for residents of Legend Oaks, the Village at Western Oaks, Sendera, and Olympic Heights. For those in other parts of Austin, simply avoid visiting the Natural Gardener during rush hour traffic!
From South Austin:
Take Hwy 290/Hwy 71 into Oak Hill. When you reach the “Y”, take Hwy 71 West. Go about 1 mile to the traffic light at Fletcher. Turn right onto Fletcher and go about 1/4 mile until it dead ends into Old Bee Caves Road. Turn left onto Old Bee Caves Road and go 1/2 to 3/4 mile. The Natural Gardener is on the right.
From North Austin:
Heading south on MoPac, take the Southwest Parkway exit. Turn right onto Southwest Parkway. Check the odometer, go 4.5 miles. You will pass Travis Country West and turn left onto Travis Cook Road. Go about 1/2 mile until it dead ends into Old Bee Caves Road. The Natural Gardener is at that intersection on the right.
Austin REALTORS® at Regent Property Group support homegrown Austin businesses like the Natural Gardener. They also help homebuyers stay on top of the latest in Austin trends, from Tarrytown to Lake Travis. If you’re on the lookout for an Austin home for sale, just check out Austin Home Search!