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Garden Gossip

June 2022

It’s Berry Picking Time

Our blackberry fields are now open for U-Pick. They are beautiful and plentiful. The blackberry fields will be open from 9-5 Tuesday through Saturday and 1-5 on Sunday. Closed on Monday.

The blueberry fields will be open about the middle of the month but please check our website or call the retail shop at 205-646-0069 before you come to pick blueberries.

Our French Guinea Hens have arrived and are causing quite a stir. Stop by and take a look a them. There are several different sizes as well as colors.

Planting Blueberries and Blackberries

Blackberries and blueberries can be planted most any time of year as long as you are able to keep them watered during the dry season.  As far as maintenance, at this time of year, there is nothing to be done with either of these plants until the harvest is finished.  Once finished picking, you may prune your blueberries to control the size and to raise the ‘skirt’, the lower branches that lie on the ground when full of fruit. It is a good idea to fertilize again to promote new growth for next year’s crop.

Blackberries will start putting up new primocanes; remove them as they appear so they do not interfere with picking. Once finished picking, remove all canes that fruited this year and start over trellising them by choosing two new canes and training them on your wires.  Fertilize at this time to promote new growth. Watch Dr. Powell’s blackberry pruning video on our website for a complete guide to pruning and trellising your berry plants.


You may now start to prune back the spring only flowering roses. They may be pruned hard at this time and then the rest of the year just prune to shape. Fertilize them when you are finished.

The repeat flowering roses can be deadheaded at this time and pruned for shape. It is also a good time to give them some fertilizer.

Spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia and azaleas should be pruned now also. Pruning later in the season will cut off next year’s flower buds. Prune arborvitaes, evergreen shrubs, juniper, yew, and hemlock for shape after their main spring growth is complete. Continue to mulch your planting beds with shredded pine park mulch to conserve water and prevent weeds. It is best to use pine straw on slopes since the pine bark may wash away.

Pepper Place

Petals is now back at Pepper Place Market. We have blueberries and blackberries as well as our homemade jams and jellies.

If you are looking for something to do on a Saturday morning why not go to Pepper Place Market. The market is located in downtown Birmingham at 1130 22nd Street South. It is open from 7:00 am until 12:00 noon. The have locally grown vegetables and flowers, eggs, cheese and artisan bread.

Check out Pepper Place on their website.

Stone Fruit

Continue to spray your plums and peaches for plum curculio about every 2 to 3 weeks with Mal-A-Cide (50% Malathion). You can also use Monterey Garden Insect Spray (0.5% Spinosad).

Spray peaches for fungal diseases. Your sprays should be about 2 to 3 weeks apart now. Suggested products are Hi Yield Captan Fungicide,Thiomyl, Dusting/Wettable sulfur. When using Thiomyl include Captan in the spray to reduce the possibility to developing resistant strains of brown rot.

Apples and Pears

If you were seeing corky spots on your apples last year try adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of calcium nitrate to all the sprays for your apples and pears. It should help solve this problem

Check your apples and pears for fire blight.  This bacterial disease causes the leaves and new shoots to turn brown or black and appear as if burned.  If you find any, cut out the branches about 4″ below the infected area, making sure to disinfect your clippers each time you make a cut.  Use a 10% clorox solution.  This reduces your chances of spreading the disease.

Vegetable Garden

Be on the look out for cabbage loopers and tomato horn worms.  They can ruin your crop in a very short time.  Use Dipel dust or Sevin to control these pests. 

Squash vine borers can be a problem on your squash plants. Check your plants daily for signs of yellowing and break off the affected pieces. A row cover can be effective but should be removed for pollination. If you are seeing a dark colored end on your fruit you may have blossom end rot. It is due to a calcium deficiency. It can be remedied by applying the appropriate amount of lime.

Pumpkins should be planted before July 4, to make sure they will be ready for Halloween.  Squash, okra, corn, beans and cucumbers can still be planted as well as tomatoes and peppers

Summer Annuals

The seeds for summer annuals are all here as well as the plants. The butterflies love zinnias and we have them in a rainbow of colors. Sunflowers are also a favorite of the birds and bees. The seeds are sold by the teaspoon or tablespoon depending on the size of the seed. Both make lovely cut flowers for your home or picnic table.


Don’t forget to plant a few herbs to go along with all those vegetables you will be harvesting from your garden. The selection is excellent. We have mint for you fruit salads and Mojitos and many different kinds of basil. Try some African Blue Basil the butterflies and bees love it. Rosemary and sage for grilling and lots of different lavender.