Gardening in June: What to plant and what's in season
Summer is the best time to be eating seasonally, there are so many varieties of fruit and veggies available during the warm months.
If you've been thinking about planting a garden so that you can grow your own organic produce and not have to make trips to the market as often, now is a great time to get planting.
In addition to providing a bounty of fresh produce, gardening is an easy way to reduce stress, enjoy some exercise and get your daily dose of sunshine to improve your mood and boost immunity.
You don't need a large space to have a garden, you can plant hanging herbs and veggies in an apartment or in pots on a balcony or sunny window. The most important components to ensure a healthy garden are 1) Make sure you use good quality soil 2) Make sure your plant gets the proper amount of light 3) Water as needed (if veggies are allowed to stress a bit the flavors are bolder) .
An easy way to boost the quality of the soil is to use compost. You can get a compost pail to keep in your kitchen (or drum to keep outside if you have the space), to it add fruit/veggie scraps, paper goods and cardboard that are untreated, eggshells and used coffee grounds to the pail and shake daily. Once the mixture looks like it has broken down and dried out a bit, you can add it to store bought soil as an enrichment.
You'll want to be sure that you purchase good quality seeds, my favorite seed supplier is Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. This is the first year that I have planted my entire garden from seed rather than seedlings, and they have all come up and look healthy. I prefer heirloom seeds to organic seeds because the heirlooms have been organic throughout their lineage. If you start the seeds in small biodegradable cups, once they sprout and get sturdy enough the cup can just be planted in the garden, but be sure to remove the bottom of the cup so that the plants roots can spread.
Maintenance of a garden is time consuming so plan on tending to it often. Aside from watering regularly you'll need pest control and fertilizer. There are many options for pest control, I prefer non-toxic, pet-friendly options so I use crushed eggshells or Sluggo for snails and slugs, and diatomaceous earth for small bugs and worms. The diatomaceous earth can just be dusted on to the leaves and it's actually safe for dogs and humans to eat (no that you'd want to). As with pest control, there are many options for fertilizing, my preferred method is spraying the plant with water and epsom salt once it begins to flower, this increases the yield, especially for tomatoes and peppers.
Now that you have the basics, it's just a matter of choosing your plants and learning about which plants are companions and which should not be planted near each other. There are lots of websites, as well as Pinterest, with detailed information about companion planting.
That's all there is to it! With warmer weather on the way, it's time to get planting and enjoy the fruits of your labor, literally ; )