June means hot, dry weather, with occasional drops in temperature. Daytime temperatures average around 30°C during the day and 15°C at night. Expect nearly 14 hours of sunshine a day, but don’t expect rain: June is historically the third driest month of the year. Without adequate snowpack and precipitation this winter and spring, we are in for another drought year. We know how to keep our gardens healthy and growing with water efficient practices and low water use plants. We will continue to learn what practices and what plants are best suited to our new climate, our new water availability here in the arid west.
Planting: Your ornamental planting should be finished by the middle of the month. If you must plant ornamentals as the weather enters very hot days, choose water-tolerant plants. In gardens with low water consumption, it can be the many sages (Salvia), including native California sage, California fuchsia (Epilobium), sage hybrids and cultivars like “Hot Lips” and “Flame”, plus Yarrow (Achillea), Butterfly Bush (Buddleia), Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia), Bougainvillea, Rosemary, Yucca (Hesperaloe), Quail bush (Lentiformis), and Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea).
In the edible garden, you can still plant melon, winter squash and pumpkin, basil, corn and okra. Edible gardening is a high-maintenance project and is not water-efficient. But as long as we don’t waste or misuse water and maximize our harvest by controlling pests and diseases, we shouldn’t be afraid to keep our edible gardens and fruit orchards.