Solstice Garden

Gardening at the Solstice

Photo by Carol Topalian

We have arrived at the summer solstice, the time of year when daylight lasts the longest and the sun is as far north as she gets. Here are some ways to transition your plants from spring to summer growth.

In North America, the month following summer solstice (which in 2018 was June 21) is when plants transition from green growth to the stage in which they form flowers and fruits. During the first two weeks, you can give a last nitrogen boost (see below) to your plants to stilt them up tall. 

June is also a time of greater insect activity, so you might find bugs snacking on your plum leaves. By spraying weekly, you can discourage the critters from biting into your summer foliage.

Joshua’s Multi Function Foliar Boost for Summer Solstice

To a 750 ml spray bottle filled with water add:

1 teaspoon kelp meal (adds nitrogen for the final push of green growth)
1/2 teaspoon volcanic ash dust (lengthens nodes of branches)
5 drops peppermint oil (insect deterrent)

This easy blend can be given as a root drench and also as a foliar spray applied in the morning when the sun is up but too low to shine on the leaves. If you spray directly on the plants’ leaves, the boost to their metabolism hits them faster than when it comes in through the soil.

Want to learn more about foliar sprays? Check out Joshua’s article in Edible East Bay Spring 2016: here

Joshua Burman Thayer is a San Francisco Bay Area ecological and permaculture landscape designer and consultant specializing in dry-land landscape design. He can be reached at 510.332.2809,