Hot and dry … a challenge for our gardens.
Sow seeds of cantaloupe, corn, green beans, summer squash, native melons, Armenian cucumber and okra.
Plant warm-season color annuals such as cosmos, hollyhock, marigold, salvia, sunflower, zinnia, gaillardia, gomphrena, coreopsis, vinca and gazania.
Water turf efficiently by soaking 8-10 inches deep to moisten the Bermuda grass root zone. Bedding plants will need water more often this month.
Transplant herbs such as basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Plant desert-adapted plants this month. The roots readily expand in the heated soil.
The first fig crop starts ripening this month. Fruit matures only on the tree, so keep birds away by covering with netting.
Feed cacti and succulents during the warm months. Apply a fertilizer formulated specifically for cacti and succulents every month. Apply fertilizer twice monthly to vegetables. Do not add to dry soil. Cut back on fertilizing roses to encourage plants to slow down for the summer.
Solarize garden bed to eradicate weeds by covering the bed with clear plastic to trap the sun’s energy and increase the soil temperature to more than 110 degrees to kill weed seeds and allow to sit fallow for two months. Apply pre-emergent to avoid weeds when the monsoons arrive.
Prune back mature bougainvillea, lantana and hibiscus to stimulate blooms. Cut back spring bloomers such as brittlebush, penstemon, and salvia. Prune young trees early in the summer to slow growth and correct structure.
Cover vegetables with 50-70 percent shade cloth to reduce temperatures, prevent sunscald and increase blossom set for better fruit production.
Cover citrus trunks to prevent sunburn damage. Drape plants with netting or shade cloth to protect from birds and insects.
TIP OF THE MONTH
Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is a deciduous shrub or small, multi-trunk tree. Dwarf varieties, which grow 3-6 feet, also are available. Clusters of crinkled flowers bloom through summer into fall. Colors include red, pink, yellow, maroon, rose, lavender and purple.
It often is chosen for its lack of maintenance and drought tolerance, and prized for its year-round visual interest of flowers, foliage and bark. Pruning and shaping when dormant is necessary to increase blossoms for the next year. Bronze leaves appear in the spring then turn green in the summer. Regular watering, preferably by a drip system, is important. Fertilize in the spring. Crape myrtle can take full sun, but also will grow in shade. HG
Pictured: Crape myrtle culivars