Pacific Northwest

June, 2005
Regional Report

Mulch the Garden

Mulch roses, perennial flowers, and vegetables to reduce heat stress. I spread a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of organic mulch, such as compost, shredded cedar, or straw, around the base of plants. Mulches help conserve soil moisture, suppress weeds, and moderate soil temperatures, which makes for happy plants.

Stop Those Slugs

Continue to search out and destroy garden slugs in the evening and early morning when they are feeding on flowers and vegetables. These slimy marauders can quickly damage tender flowers and foliage. Hand-pick slugs and drop them into a pail of soapy water. Some gardeners I know slice them in half and throw them on the compost pile.

Begin Harvesting Vegetables

Now is the time to begin enjoying your bounty of vegetables. Harvest carrots, zucchini, beans, and peas while they're young and tender. Picking early in the season will encourage plants to produce even more fruits. Dig shallots and garlic when the tops brown, and allow them to dry in a warm, airy place, out of direct sunshine.

Prune Flowering Shrubs

This month provides the last opportunity to prune spring- and early summer-flowering shrubs, such as spirea and lilac. Pruning later than July can remove future flower buds and spoil next spring's display. Remove errant branches and reduce the height of tall shrubs if needed, and try to open up the centers of shrubs to admit more light and promote healthy air circulation.

Keep Composting

As you harvest vegetables and deadhead flowers, add the debris, as well as grass clippings, to the compost pile. Keep the pile turned to keep it aerated and cooking. If your compost pile is kept moist and monitored, it will produce great compost for use in the garden this fall.

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