To-Do List: Northern Great Plains

R. L. Rhodes
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June in the North means long days, consistently warm temperatures (finally) and plenty to do in the garden. Here’s a list to get you started.

  • Finish planting your vegetable garden. In the North, many warm-season vegetables are best planted in June. It’s not too late to plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants or melons from transplants. Be sure to tease the roots of the transplants to spread them out as you plant them, and give them a diluted dose of liquid fertilizer to get them off to a good start. You can also plant beans, Chinese cabbage or kale from seeds. You’ll be amazed how quickly these plants grow in the warm soil.
  • Pinch, shear and deadhead your flowers. By now, many of your annual and perennial flowers should be growing well. To increase bloom later this summer, some perennials benefit from shearing or pinching. Shearing means to cut the plant down to half size to keep it from getting too tall. Late summer blooming plants that benefit from shearing include Russian sage and tall sedum, such as Autumn Joy sedum. Pinching involves taking out the center of a shoot to force more branches and to delay bloom. Pinch mums and asters to about six inches tall now for best bloom later. When you deadhead flowers, take off spent blooms to prevent plants from setting seed. Deadhead annual flowers, such as petunias, to keep them blooming all summer.
  • Continue monitoring for pests and disease. Not all bugs are bad – in fact, most of them are beneficial, but it pays to keep an eye-out for potential troublemakers. In your vegetable garden, now is the time to watch for cabbage worms. To prevent them from chewing holes in your plants, cover the plants with a lightweight row cover. If the infestation is bad, consider using a pesticide containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which is safe for vegetable crops. Never use an insecticide unless it is labeled for use on vegetables! Also, watch out for fungal diseases on roses and other flowers, especially if it has been a wet spring. Remove any affected leaves and throw them away.
  • Smell the roses – and plant one. June is the month when roses are glorious. It’s not too late to plant one, either. Choose a healthy looking potted rose and put it in a sunny spot. Follow planting instructions on the rose’s tag. Be sure to water regularly as the rose gets established in its new home.
  • Stake tall plants. To prevent tall flowers and vegetables from toppling over, consider staking them. Climbing roses, baptisia, tomatoes and delphinium will stand up better when staked. You can find decorative stakes, use plain wood or find green stakes that blend well with foliage.

Enjoy your June garden!

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