First Month of Summer (and Hurricane Season)
Summer begins on the summer solstice
(around June 22, the longest day of the year when the sun is furthest north) and ends
around September 24 (the autumnal equinox). But in Florida, summer practically
begins on June first and lasts weeks past the autumnal equinox. The reason for this
is our close proximity to the Tropic of Cancer (23° 27' latitude, the northern border of
the tropics) the point on earth where the sun appears the furthest north latitudinally. In our case, the sun seems to be almost directly overhead at noon.
June is also the first month of the official
Atlantic hurricane season. If
you did not prune your trees and palms in May, now is when you should do it.
Trim back dead or weak branches from trees and make sure that you have all the limbs and
fronds hauled off so that they do not become dangerous projectiles in the event that a
hurricane should approach. While Hurricanes have been rare in the month of June (the
busiest part of the season is August, September, and October), it is not too early to
prepare for one's approach. Before a hurricane arrives is the best time to
prepare your home and yard for one.
If a hurricane does
approach, be sure to bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, and garden
tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside. Secure buildings by closing
and boarding up windows. Be sure to remove outside antennas and anything else that
may have the potential to become a lethal projectile. Hurricanes are tropical
cyclones in which winds reach constant speeds of 74 miles per hour or more, and blow in a
large spiral around a relatively calm center -- the eye of the hurricane. Stated
simply, hurricanes are giant whirlwinds in which air moves in a large tightening spiral
around a center of extreme low pressure, reaching maximum velocity in a circular band
extending outward 20 or 30 miles from the rim of the eye. Hurricanes are nothing to
fool around with, if you have lived here for the last two years, you should
already KNOW that. Be prepared! If you need a reminder, check out the Wilma
This month, and all through summer, continue to
fertilize since Florida's sandy soils do not hold nutrients well and your plants may begin
to show signs of nutritional deficiencies. The heavy rains and consistent watering
help to leach away the foods plants need to do their best. Pay special attention to
plants which are heavy feeders such as palms and cycads. Insects are still on the
prowl and will be until the cool weather sets in. Be aware and you will be able to
end infestations of bad bugs before they begin. If you are still hoping to plant a
traditional vegetable, herb or annual garden this month these are your best bets:
Boniato, Calabaza, Chayote, Cherry Tomatos, Collards, Cowpeas, Dasheen, Okra,
Peanuts, Roselle, Seminole Pumpkin, New Zealand Spinach, Southern Peas, Squash, Sweet
Cassava, Sweet Potatoes, Yard-long Beans and Yautia.
Basil, Chives, Dill, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Sage and Thyme.
Begonias, Caladiums, Cat's Whiskers, Celosia, Coleus, Cosmos, Cockscomb, Dianthus,
Gaillardia, Ginger, Impatiens, Lantanas, Marigolds, Melapodium, Moon Vine,
Periwinkles, Porterweed, Portulaca, Purslane, Salvia, Strawflowers, Sunflowers, Torenia
Achimenes, African Iris, Caladiums, Cannas, Crinums, Daylilies, Eucharis Lily,
Gladioli, Gloriosa Lilies, Society Garlic and Zephyranthes (Rain Lilies).
Florida Home Grown;
Florida Gardening Month by Month