In the Garden – June

June is the month of salads greens, new potatoes, peas, strawberries and weeding. Lots of weeding. There’s more to do in the garden now and it will continue through July and August, but with lots of rewards. The end of May and beginning week of June are usually the days that frost-prone plants are set in the ground. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant and cucumbers will thrive in the warm weather. Extra monitoring of water levels is essential for this month. Seeds or plants, like corn, cucumbers, pumpkins and squash are put into the ground throughout the month as well. There’s still time to sow some cold loving seeds, even into the later part of the month. Most gardeners start to taper off beets, turnips and other spring vegetables. They can be sown again in late  August or September to thrive once the colder weather sets in.

Things to do in June:

  1. If it hasn’t been done already, June is a good time to mulch around plants. This will help retain moisture in the ground, suppress weeds and cut down on watering and weeding time. Mulching ahead of this time might leave plants damp and root rot can set in, but by June it will benefit the plants. Checking the moisture in the ground will help you determine when a good time is to mulch (if it is a dry year, you might consider May, though usually, with the extra watering that plants require in May it will not be necessary). Mulch can be well-rotted composts, leaves or straw. Sometimes you will find mulch advertised locally, or if you are fortunate to live near farms, an spoiled round bale is delightful.
  2. It’s pepper, tomato, cucumber, squash and eggplant time. Give plants extra water when planting out and either have some type of supports put in or at least have a plan for how you will support them. By the end of the month tomatoes will need support structures, as well as encouragement to use them. Some people put a layer of straw bedding underneath and don’t support them. It’s personal choice, though supported tomatoes will be cleaner and less prone to pests. If pepper or tomatoes plants are leggy, then you can dig a deeper hole to plant them in. It’s better to have your plants closer to the ground when they are getting established.
  3. From the start of the month corn can be planted, either by seed or by corn plants started indoors. Successive planting can occur from now on, just mark it on a calendar. If you have two or more varieties, check to see if they can be grown together. If not, then you’ll have to have about 250 feet between the two corn patches or about three weeks difference in sowing time. For most plants you can sow the amount you want, where you want and how close together is up to you, but corn is particular. It is easy to grow from seed, but to pollinate properly you will need to follow the instructions listed on the seed packet.
  4. Vegetables to plant by seed: beans, cucumbers, corn, squash and pumpkins. Lettuce, greens, kale, carrots, swiss chard, herbs can still be sown.
  5. The bigger your garden gets, the more you’ll want to incorporate flowers. June is a good time to scatter seeds like Cosmos and Zinnias. Flowers grown from tubers, like Dahlias, can be safely put in the ground in early June. Flowers can be started in May, but by June you’ll probably have some free space, either newly freed space or space that has not been planted. Marigolds are often used to ward off pests and other types of flowers attract garden benefiting bugs. Flowers also help the honey bee population, which helps the garden as well.

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