Early in spring, we get our gardens growing. By June, our gardening moves from planting to tending. June gardening is about babying our gardens to keep them happy and make them look and produce their best.
- Deadhead and fertilize flowers. Once the flower blooms are finished, cut them off. This is good garden housekeeping, but also stimulates the plant to flower again. Some plants, such as poppies or iris, won’t bloom again, but other flowers such as zinnias, salvias, coreopsis and roses will continue to bloom for much of the season if their spent flowers are routinely removed. Feed your flowers a bit to keep up their energy level. You can cut back early spring-flowering plants like columbine just to neaten things up a bit.
- Pick and replant vegetables. Vegetables that thrive in cooler temperatures such as radishes, peas, spinach, and lettuces are harvested in June. Use that space to plant heat-loving crops such as beans, peppers, squash and melons.
- Water the lawn and garden. Temperatures will be rising at the same time that spring rainfall slows down. Water your garden deeply early in the morning, keeping the water off plant leaves as much as possible. This will help prevent diseases and encourage roots to grow deeply, which can help your plants survive if there is a drought. Most gardens need about an inch of water a week in the Mid-Atlantic area.
- Keep your eyes open for bug damage. By this time in the season, pesky pests like leafminers and bagworms could be munching on your flowers and shrubs. Grubs might be feasting on the roots of your grass. By the end of the month, Japanese beetles will begin to appear. If you don’t notice any damage on inspection, there is no reason to worry. If there is damage, find the source of the problem and carefully use the pesticide recommended for your specific problem. Always follow label directions closely. Explore organic pesticide options.
- Stay on top of weeds. Weeds aren’t only unattractive. They also steal water and nutrients from plants that you want. It’s easier to pull, or turn under, weeds when they are small. And weeding in June’s warmth is easier on the gardener. Pulling big weeds in the heat of August is not a picnic. Consider a second application of weed preventer to control late-season weeds. Add more mulch to areas where your mulch is thin or the ground is bare.
June is one of the best garden months. Early summer flowers are in their prime. The weather is sweet. Watching plants develop and become their loveliest is what keeps us in the garden. June is the time to pour your heart into your garden as you care for your green garden friends.