The second week of June is when the nights are typically warm enough to set out tomato plants, cucumber starts and other warm-season veggies such as squash, pumpkins, and peppers as well as sow seeds of beans directly into the ground.
Waiting until mid-June to plant a vegetable garden may seem late, but in Western Washington the cool and rainy weather of May can stunt the grown of crops planted too early. If your early-planted tomatoes have purple leaves and refuse to grow or your cucumbers turn yellow and their leaves curl, this could mean you jumped the gun. Reload with fresh seedlings and replant your heat-loving crops this month. There is still plenty of time for a bountiful harvest.
Q. How do I keep the slugs and snails from eating my hosta? Every spring the hosta unfolds and looks great but by summer the leaves look like lacework! — G., Sumner
A. Time to establish a slug-free zone in your garden and defend your turf with a combination of defensive and offensive maneuvers. The pet-safe slug baits such as Worry Free and Sluggo work well and should be applied in spring and summer.
To control those tiny baby slugs that hide in the crown of the hosta plant, mix up a spray of one-third ammonia and two-thirds water. A recycled Windex bottle works well because you can use the ammonia-and-water mix to wash windows as well as to kill slugs. I keep a bottle ready to go behind every large hosta plant.
Next you must spray the tiny bodies of the slugs directly with the ammonia spray, so pay attention to when the slugs are out in full force after a rain or early in the morning.
Handpicking large slugs at nightfall is the third prong of this full-throttle approach to happy hosta. Keep baiting and spraying and picking up slugs for a few weeks and your hosta will have time to produce fresh foliage.
One more tip: Hosta with thick-skinned leaves, usually with a gray-blue color, are more slug resistant than the pale yellow or green-and-white hosta.
Q. I am growing a new plant in my pots called Diamond Frost Euphorbia. It has small white blooms and it looks a lot like baby’s breath. The problem is, the leaves are turning yellow and it looks sad. I water every day, give it sun and fertilizer and it is in good potting soil. Any ideas? — P.T., Tacoma
A. The clue to this mystery is that you said you water every day. Euphorbia Diamond Frost is a wonderful annual plant from Proven Winners that does not like to be overwatered. My guess is you keep the soil too moist. Pot up this “unthirsty plant” with calibrachoa and Silver Falls Dichondra so you’ll have an entire pot of plants that like to be allowed to dry out a bit between watering. Good drainage is key for all container plants but the Euphorbia Diamond Frost will pout and turn yellow if you don’t allow the soil to dry a bit between watering.
Q. I have some lovely coleus plants on my porch that are starting to flower. A neighbor said I need to snip out the blooms or the coleus plants will die. True? — Anonymous
A. Not true. Removing the spiky flowers from your colorful coleus will help to keep the foliage colors more intense but allowing a coleus to flower will not cause death. Pinching out that bloom also keeps the coleus more compact but if you want tall and flowering coleus in your pots, just grow for it. It is your garden and there are no rules.
Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of several books. Reach her at binettigarden.com.