June is a pivotal time for Louisiana vegetable gardens. It’s the transition from spring to hot summer conditions. At this time many crops are fully in harvest or have been pulled out to make room for new crops.
LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Tom Koske says that heat setting tomato transplants can be set out this month and next. Some good choices in these include Sunmaster, Heat Wave II, Sunchaser, Sun Leaper, Equinox and Florida 91. Plant them 1-2 inches deeper than normal for better moisture.
For fall tomatoes, it's time to plant seed. Try the heat setting types or select Spitfire, Carnival or Solar Set. Choose a nematode-resistant variety if these pests had been in your garden recently (populations build stronger as the season progresses). Check seed catalogs for cultivar characteristics.
As the heat intensifies, fruit mature faster and are generally smaller. Where you can, harvest fruit a little earlier and allow ripening indoors or in the shade to avoid sunburn damage from high heat exposure.
For other crops, summer choices are slim. You can, however, fill your garden with productive okra, collards, Malabar spinach and southern peas. Many vine crops will do well now, such as cucumber, squash, pumpkins and melons. Plant some yard-long beans for a late-summer snap bean substitute.
Koske advises watering in the mornings as needed, mulching with compost to cool soils while conserving moisture and being prepared to control more and more insects as their populations increase with the advancing season.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com/
Source: Tom Koske (225) 578-2222, or firstname.lastname@example.org
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture