By June, all northern hemisphere gardens are in full throttle. Even the coldest zones have been planted and are ready for a bit of maintenance.
Warmer climates are still ahead of the game, shifting into a transition period northern gardeners don’t experience. But crops are still growing, and insects are still feasting and, despite the heat and humidity, this is not the time to rest.
Spring is a mad dash to get the garden cleaned and planted. Come June, it may be tempting to sit back and enjoy your garden, but now is the time to turn to the true aspects of gardening—tending to your plants and reaping the rewards. Keep in mind that you are not the only one who enjoys what you've planted. We're entering peak pest and problem season. So start (or refuel) your gardening engines and choose a few tasks from June's to-do gardening list.
A Task for All Hardiness Zones
- Work outside when it's less humid (early morning, late afternoon/evening).
- Keep new plants well watered.
- Check your mulch and reapply on bare spots before the weeds move in.
- Side dress with compost or manure or feed with fish emulsion, for mid-season pick-up.
- Check plant leaves for signs of nutrient deficiency.
- Give the compost a turn.
- Give your houseplants a summer vacation, by moving them outdoors.
- Make sure the birds have fresh water in birdbaths or shallow dishes in the garden.
- Keep up on deadheading for long season bloom.
- Pinch back tall-growing fall bloomers like asters, monarda, and helianthus to make them stockier and full of flower buds, and so they don't bloom too early.
- Stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb. Let them build up reserves for next season.
- Replace cool-season crops, like spinach, that have bolted from the heat.
- Succession plant summer greens, like kale, chard, and even lettuce.
- Get any remaining warm-season vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.) in the ground.
- Keep up on blanching your celery, cauliflower and tender greens.
- Plant a new batch of bush beans every couple of weeks.
- Keep tomato plants staked as they grow. Pinch out suckers.
- Put a couple of drops of mineral oil on corn silks within a week after they appear to prevent corn earworm.
- Be prepared for June Drop of fruit from fruit trees. They're just thinning out to a manageable crop size. Clean up any fallen fruit.
- Protect ripening berries with nets or row covers.
Trees and Shrubs
- If you want to prune or shear your evergreens, do so as soon as the new growth starts to turn a darker green.
- Once the wisteria finishes blooming, you can do a maintenance pruning to keep it in check.
- Summer is for insects. Be vigilant! Check both sides of leaves for eggs and nymphs.
- Keep watch for four-lined plant bug damage, especially on the mint family.
- Look up in trees for nests of bagworms.
- Japanese beetles—they're back!
USDA Hardiness Zones 7 and Above
- Make sure plants are getting enough water.
- Start new seeds of sun-loving crops, for the fall.
- Give plants a mid-season boost of fertilizer.
- Keep on top of harvesting.
- Begin to cut back on mowing.
Gulf Coast and Florida
- Prepare for hurricane season and keep dead limbs pruned.