As the summer solstice approaches this month, the days are the longest for the year. Plants thrive with all that sunlight, and you can tend to the garden until almost bedtime! In June, you should be able to finish up planting, do some maintenance, relax a little, and enjoy a harvest or two.
This list of garden chores in June is loosely based on Zone 5. Check this map for your zone.Adjust for your zone or micro-climate.
1. Plant Remaining Seeds
Make sure to plant the remainder of your tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cukes, and squashes early in the month.
2. Direct Seed New Plants
Every two weeks, direct seed cool weather vegetables (kale, chard, spinach, radishes, lettuces, carrots, beets) for a continuous supply.
Direct seed tender, warm weather plants such as sunflowers, green and dry beans, basil, and more cukes and squashes. Plant gladiola and dahlia bulbs every two weeks for a constant supply of cut flowers.
Once you are done planting, store your seed in jars in a cool place, even the fridge! Clean up your potting area too.
3. Pull Those Weeds
When planting and mulching are done, ruthlessly pull weeds to keep them from competing with your plantings. They will smother small plants in a hurry. Not sure what’s a weed? This website has a comprehensive list of weed identification sites.
4. Water New Plantings Twice a Day
Water all your new plantings twice a day to get them established and give them a strong start. Water container plantings every day, as well.
5. Harvest Your Garlic
Garlic scapes of hardneck varieties will appear later in the month. Eat them while they are slim and tender. Use them raw in salads or cook them in any dish where you’d use garlic. (You can even pickle them!)
6. Clip the Suckers of Indeterminate Tomatoes
Train one or two growing stems onto a trellis, cage, or stake.
7. Hill Up Your Potatoes to Increase Yield
You will also be keeping them out of the light that turns them green and poisonous.
8. Thin Fruit on Fruit Trees
Thin the fruit on your fruit trees to 4-6” apart. You will get less fruit, but it will be larger than if it was crowded on the branch.
9. Eat Your Strawberries
June bearing plants provide a single crop in June. Ever-bearing plants have a crop in June, and another in August that goes into fall. Plant both for berries all summer long! Read here about strawberry plant care.
10. Keep on Harvesting
Harvest greens, radishes, peas, and the first of the broccoli. Try a new dressing for your salad fixin’s. Eat snap peas right off the plant (great snack while you’re out there working!). Gently steam broccoli to retain maximum nutrients. Cut perennials herbs, and hang them to dry in a warm, bright spot (no sun!) with good ventilation.
11. Deadhead Early Flowering Shrubs, Perennials and Bulbs
The exceptions are shrubs that have berries that serve as decoration or bird food.
12. Fertilize Established Roses
Fertilize established roses with an organic 5-10-5 fertilizer. To plant new rose bushes, find a spot with at least 6 hours of sun and good air circulation. Well-drained soil should be slightly acidic with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Add lots of compost when planting, and water daily until you see fresh growth.
13. Mow the Lawn
Mow the lawn a couple times a week. Set the blades at least 3” high. Leave the cuttings to decompose and add nutrients to the soil.
14. Plan Your Mid-July Plantings for Fall
When you wrap up your June garden chores, start planning some mid-July vegetable plantings that will take you into fall. This is called succession planting. When one crop is done, fill in that space with another. You will increase your harvest and add nutrients to the soil. Win/win!