Success in organic gardening requires getting out into the garden every day. Even if you are just there for your morning coffee or your dinner herbs, you will get a feel for the garden's health and be more likely to spot problems early, a must for organic methods. For more on this, see the opportunities section. With sparse rain this spring, pay special attention to watering this summer. Make sure to drench the soil near trees about once a month. Very slow overnight watering of established trees and shrub gets water deep into the soil and will insure long term tree vigor.
This is the prettiest time of summer for Rogue Valley gardens, so take your garden photos now. Fill in the empty spaces of your garden with annuals, potted plants or garden art. Even an ornamental stepping stone can fill the spot. Make sure to give birdseed feeders a thorough monthly cleaning to prevent disease in wild bird populations. A 10:1 water to bleach cleaning is recommended. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned daily or every other day. Ditto for bird baths. Deadhead flowers on perennial plants to prolong bloom. For the best display from cut flowers clip them with plenty of stem, just as they are opening. Cut again when you put in the arrangement and add cut-flower food or 2 tablespoons of both sugar and white vinegar to water. To prevent bacterial build-up, change the water and cut soggy bottoms off the stems every 24 to 48 hours.
Kitchen Garden and Orchard
For salad all summer, plant bolt-resistant lettuce under lattice, shade cloth or trees. If your garden is in the front yard, paint the lattice the color of your house trim and mount it tidily. Vegetables to plant by seed include beans, corn, scallions, basil, and okra. Put transplants in during cloudy spells or plant late in the day, then protect from the sun for a few days. Thin apple, pear and peach trees for larger fruit. Leave one or two apples and pears in each cluster and only one Asian pear per cluster. Peaches should be about 6 inches apart, plums 1 to 3 inches apart, and apricots 5 to 6 inches apart. This is healthier for the tree and will improve production next year.
Watering should provide about an inch of water per week. Provide extra watering during hot spells. Your lawn's requirements may differ based on amount of sun and soil composition. Watering in early morning (before sun-up for sprinkler systems) is best for lawns. Mow grass 2.5 inches high to decrease watering needs. Don't fertilize during hot weather.
North Mountain Park takes gardening seriously. They've got an array of gardening classes from "Feng Shui Your Garden," 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on June 2, "Introduction to Permaculture," 7 to 9 pm. on June 18, and monthly opportunities to study composting with Denny Morelli. And there's more. For more information about learning opportunities at the Nature Center, contact them at 488-6606 — www.northmountainpark.org Master Gardeners will offer a class on "Organic Pest Management" with gardening techniques that prevent the need for pesticides, along with healthy cultivation methods and the least toxic pest controls, 7 to 9 p.m. on June 16th. There's a $5 fee; free to Master Gardeners with badges. Class is held at the OSU Extension Center, 569 Hanley Rd., Central Point. Call 776-7371.
June garden calendar