June is another grand month for planting, more heat, fast growth. Plant in spots that have already finished; plant for succession, a continued harvest of your favorites! If you couldn’t take advantage of April or May, step up to it now! Seeds are good, transplants are faster if your summer palate is salivating! Hotties like corn, cucs, beans, jicama, melons, okra, peppers, pumpkins, New Zealand spinach, all squashes! I’ve planted corn in August and got great October corn! Plant tasty year-rounds – beets, carrots, chard, cilantro, radish, turnips. Tomatoes with basils now and next month. More tomatoes if you will be dehydrating for camping, winter stews, snacks. Try something new –maybe something you can’t get at the store!
Why are we discussing okra in June? Because it is time to plant okra seed for fall gardens. Depending on the variety, first pods are ready for harvest about 2 months after planting. If you plant in mid-June, you will not harvest until mid-August. If you wait until later, cool nights will decrease production. Of course, many gardeners have okra already growing that will continue to produce until frost. If these plants are too tall, they should now be cut back to a height of 4 feet so that re-branching and production will occur before cool weather arrives. If you are an okra lover, it’s double your pleasure because it is in the hibiscus/hollyhock family and makes breathtakingly lovely flowers! Okra is like little stars in a salad; you cut it in thin slices across the raw pod. Or cook it traditionally, steamed, in stew, jambalaya over rice, or deep fried. If you are driving through Mojave, there’s a restaurant on the main drag that fries it to perfection! Perhaps the most important thing to know is okra has to be harvested while small to medium, while tender. Otherwise, you end up with an unchewable tough monster. Big is not better, trust me.
Biodiversity really works! Mix it up, spread out your plantings. Solid blocks (except for corn for pollination) of one plant or overplanting same kind plants in leaf touching rows are particularly susceptible to pest and disease spread, gopher loss. Lose one, lose ‘em all. To further confuse pests, pop in some herbs, basil with tomatoes, marigolds, as an understory in the between spaces! Grow arugula and lettuces in the shade of your mighty corn!
Two on one trellis! Check out the good size dark cucumbers hanging, and the ‘hammock’ supported melons!