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Playing in the dirt: Master Gardener tips for June can produce color, good eats


Sharon Carrigan



Ah, June -- the month for dads, grads and brides, not to mention the first day of summer. Oh, you thought summer had already started? Not so. Summer begins June 21. On June 22, you'll notice a reduction of daylight by about two minutes (LOL).  


No matter when summer begins, there is still plenty of time to play in the dirt. The Master Gardeners of Lowndes County have been. Check out some of their Columbus projects like the butterfly garden at the Riverwalk, or the front of the downtown post office. Lee Park is a great place to take the children. Thank the Master Gardeners for the neatly planted, blooming pots. Chefs and students at Mississippi University for Women's Culinary Arts Institute can appreciate the herb garden there, also started by Master Gardeners. If you would enjoy these kinds of activities, plan to join next year's Master Gardeners class in early 2018. 


Now, for some June tips.  






You can plant these things now: Crape myrtles and ground covers, especially in shade where turf is difficult to grow. Some possibilities are Liriope ajuga or jasmine. Plant caladiums in shade now. 


Annuals to plant now include ageratum, cockscomb, impatiens, marigolds, sunflowers, four o-clocks and periwinkle. 


Plant tomatoes now to insure fall harvest. Cherry tomatoes are some that are heat tolerant. 


Choose blooming daylilies for their color and plant now. Also, divide and replant iris now. Cut leaves back to 6 inches. Gladiolas planted now will provide lovely fall blooms. 


In the veggie garden, plant snap beans, limas, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, squash and the afore-mentioned tomatoes. 






If not already done, feed azaleas and camellias with an azalea-camellia product. Fertilize Bermuda and zoysia grass. Tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis need monthly 5-10-10 fertilizer. Annuals and perennials should be fed now. 






Prune oleander after blooming ends. Pinch dahlias and mums to insure compact growth. Deadhead faded flowers from annuals and perennials; cut zinnias to encourage continued blooms (they look great in the house). Remove blackberry canes after fruiting, and prune new canes to encourage side branching. Prune or cut out dead wood from trees and shrubs. 




Pest control 


Mow grass in the early morning to prevent the fungus brown spot from erupting. Pull zinnias with powdery mildew and replant. 


Now that you know what to do out there, let's go play in the dirt. 


Sharon Carrigan of Columbus shares periodic tips on behalf of the Master Gardeners of Lowndes County. To learn more, visit Search Master Gardener.



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