June Garden Calendar

June Gardening Chores

Keep the weeds pulled, before they have a chance to flower and go to seed again

Tools and Equipment June Upkeep

  • Make a temporary tool rack in your garden with a recycled fruit juice can. Cut both ends of a large can, and nail it to a post in your garden. Put the handles of large tools into the can when not in use. Remember to take the tools with you when you leave the garden.
  • A trigger nozzle or on/off valve on the hose is a real water-conserving device in the yard and garden. An open hose end pours out many gallons of water where it is not needed.
  • For any gasoline-powered engine, do not refuel the tank when the engine is hot or running. A hot exhaust can ignite gasoline causing severe burns. Turn off the engine and allow it to cool at least five minutes before refueling.
  • When choosing the location for a new building, remember modern, tree-moving equipment can make it possible to move desirable trees from the construction zone to another part of the landscape. Consult a professional arborist for advice.
  • Do not allow children to ride on or drive riding lawn mowers. Such mowers are more dangerous than they appear. Always disengage the mower blades and set the brake, or turn off the engine before getting off for any reason.
  • Large-mesh wire has many uses in the garden. Use it for a tomato cage, as a compost bin, to hold down black plastic, to hold mulches in place or as a half-cylinder with plastic over it for a mini-greenhouse.
  • A mail box mounted on a post in the garden can hold plant ties, labels, small tools and other necessities often forgotten when out to the garden.
  • Remove crusted mineral salts from clay pots by soaking pots in water for a few days. Start with hot water and renew the hot bath several times. Scrub off heavy salt build-up with steel wool and dish detergent. Sterilize pots before reuse by soaking them for ten minutes in a solution of 9 parts water to 1 part household bleach. To reduce salt build-up on clay pots, wipe them weekly with a cloth soaked in white vinegar.
  • June is a great time to clean out the greenhouse. (Before it gets TOO hot!) Discard dead or diseased plants and old potting soil. Good sanitation is necessary to control greenhouse pests.
  • The insect problem on your terrace after dusk may be reduced by using red or yellow light bulbs. Insects don’t see these colors as well as others, so they’re not as attracted to the light as they are when white lights are used.

Growing Food in June

Encourage children to join you in the garden by planting seeds that provide quick results. Radishes germinate within 2 or 3 days and mature in a few weeks. Marigolds go from seedlings to flowering plants in less than a month. Or, plant a “zoo” of snapdragons, lamb’s ears, foxglove, catnip, and toad flax.

Sit and look at your vegetable garden, think ahead to what it will look like after you have pulled out the spent pea plants and the green beans after they have gone to seed. Plant annuals that will fill in bare spots that happen after all your harvesting. Even if your vegetable garden is full now, plan ahead for fall harvests by spreading annual seeds now to fill in later.

Although it is among the leading vegetable crops worldwide, the sweet potato has been under-used in the United States since it was established in Virginia in the mid-17th century. However, sweet potato French fries may soon move this root vegetable from its traditional place at holiday meals to restaurant menus alongside the more popular white potato.

Sweet potato fries have a texture somewhat like traditional French fries and taste good with vinegar, salt, sugar or other seasonings. And they are a good source of nutrients. Your body converts the orange-colored beta carotene of the sweet potato into vitamin A, an essential nutrient for vision; growth; and development of bones, teeth, and skin.

  • Identify garden pests before you attempt to control them. Remember, not ALL bugs are BAD bugs! Read up on Integrated Pest Management
  • Place the bottom half of plastic milk containers turned upside down and plastic tubs turned upside down beneath melons. Keeping the melons from touching the soil will prevent fungal problems and rot.
  • If the birds are eating more of your strawberries than you are, use a row cover to protect them.
  • Treat blight on tomatoes with 4 teaspoons of baking soda plus a teaspoon of veggie oil per gallon of water. Spray on plants routinely for 2 weeks.
  • Set out beer cups for snails, slugs and pill bugs or spread human and pet hair around the base of plants.
    Sprinkle crushed red pepper around the garden once a week for a month and then once every month to eliminate pill bugs and keep them from returning.
  • Stop cutting asparagus when the spears become thinner than the diameter of a pencil. After the last cut is made, fertilize the bed. Allow the tops to grow during the summer to store food in the roots for next year’s crop.
  • It’s finally warm enough in coastal areas to plant warm- season vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, and peppers and herbs such as basil and cilantro. To get the quickest, most productive crop, plant in well-draining soil in the sunniest spot possible.
  • Bacillus thuringiensis is safe to use on cole crops against the imported cabbage worm. Use according to label directions. A “spreader-sticker” is needed to keep Bt on the leaves. A spreader-sticker could be a single tablespoon of fish_emulsion, light horticultural oil, or insecticidal_soap added to each gallon of spray mix and will help the liquefied powder stick to leaves.
  • You can make whitefly traps by spreading a thin coat of 90 SAE motor oil on yellow poster board squares. Mount the cardboard traps on sticks and place them at blossom height.
  • Most herbs need no fertilizer and little water, so water only during prolonged dry spells. Avoid mulching herbs as mulch keeps the soil too moist. If fungus develops on your herbs during wet weather, cut them back to encourage healthy new growth.
  • Comfrey improves soil as it grows! The plants have thick, deep roots that are able to penetrate 6 to 10 feet down, breaking up the worst soils. For a very adaptable ground cover that is vigorous in spreading, try St. John’s wort or Aaron’s Beard. It has striking yellow flowers, will live in dry soil, and needs little or no care.
  • Many herb plants thrive in soils with widely varying pH levels.

    Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and common oregano (Origanum vulgare) are well adapted to pH levels between 4.5 and 8.7.
    Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) withstands a range of 4.5 to 8.4 and mint (Mentha spicata) 4.5 to 7.5.

  • Chervil matures in six weeks and grows best when planted in light shade. Make successive plantings if you want to harvest it all summer.
  • The best time to harvest most herbs is just before flowering, when the leaves contain the maximum essential oils. Cut herbs early on a sunny day.

Lawns and Landscaping in June

  • During hot, July weather, be sure to mow your lawn to the appropriate height. This reduces water loss and helps lower soil temperatures. Leave clippings on the lawn to decompose. Keep your tall fescue tall, 3.5 inches or more to shade out weeds. Mow often enough that you never cut off more than one-third of the growing grass. Established fescue lawns naturally go semi-dormant in the heat of July. Fescue can tolerate up to three weeks without water. Water only when grass shows sign of wilt. If you planted your fescue lawn last year, however, you still need to water about one inch every week. You absolutely do not want to fertilize your fescue now, because it will encourage diseases.
  • If you have warm season grass such as Bermuda grass, centipede, St. Augustine and zoysia, you can fertilize, but be careful not to overdo it.
  • Clemson University recommends a sharp mower blade to cut the lawn cleanly, ensuring rapid healing and growth. Grass wounded by a dull blade is weakened and less able to ward off weeds, diseases and insect attacks, or cope with dry spells.
  • For best growth of turf, water your lawn to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Then do not water the lawn for about one week.
  • Observe the lawn area and the shade it receives. Plan to thin major shade trees next spring to increase light reaching patchy turf.
  • Proper watering means deep soaking. Light sprinkling is often harmful, especially on lawns. Wet the soil to the bottom of the roots (5 to 6 inches deep).
  • A brown or grayish cast over lawns can be caused by dull or improperly adjusted mower blades that shred grass rather than cut it.
  • Tightly shaped hedges should be pruned after the second flush of growth in the summer, if needed.

Want to know more about mowing your lawn?
The Complete Guide to Mowing Your Grass Like a Pro

Perennials, Annuals, and Bulbs for June

  • For fragrance in the garden, use perennials like Sweet Woodruff (Asperula odorata, Zones 4-8), Lily-of the-Valley (Convallaria majalis, Zones 2-7), and Lemon Lily (Hemerocallis liliosphodelus, Zones 5-9).
  • How do you choose a good container-grown plant? Gently shake the plant from its container. Root systems should be well developed, and the root and soil mass should retain its shape when removed from the container. Avoid plants with roots circling around the pot or coming out of the drain holes.
  • When choosing bedding plants, look for plants that are well-proportioned with sturdy stems. Leaves should have a rich, green color. Check for pests if foliage appears mottled or the edges of the leaves are curled. Try to buy packs with large, deep cells spaced far apart which encourages a larger root system.
  • Try the new dwarf form of butterfly bush. They are about half the size, and their fragrant mid-summer flowers are attractive to butterflies. Petite Indigo™ Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii nanhoensis ‘Mongo’) has dark, lilac blue flower spikes, and Petite Plum TM Butterfly Bush (B. davidii nanhoensis ‘Monum’) has reddish-purple flowers with an orange eye in each floret. The ultimate size of both cultivars in about 6 feet.
  • Hart’s tongue, southern maidenhair, and walking fern need alkaline soil. Remember to put compost or leaf mold around outdoor ferns.
  • When your early, annual flowers are spent, replace them with summer annuals, such as nicotiana, portulaca, zinnia, impatiens, or celosia. Before planting, rework and enrich the soil with compost.
  • Gloxinia flowers will last longer if plants are moved to a cool, shaded spot once the blossoms have fully opened.
  • Petunias and marigolds are more useful as cut flowers than most folks appreciate. The flowers will last for several days and are very attractive in mixed bouquets.
  • When going on vacation, group plants in containers together near a water source and out of the afternoon sun. Grouping them will help plants conserve water, and shade will help reduce the need for water. If plants are located together near a hose, the neighbor who comes to water won’t overlook any.
  • Leach container soils occasionally to remove any mineral salts accumulated from fertilizer and hard water. Brown leaf edges and crusting on the sides of clay pots are two indicators of a salt problem. To leach large containers, water until the soil is soaked, then allow water to run slowly from your hose into the pot for about 20 minutes. For small pots, water each container until it drains freely from the bottom holes. Wait a few minutes, then repeat.
  • Bronze-leaved varieties of begonia do particularly well in full sun. Keep the foliage dry and provide good air circulation around the plants.
  • When selecting a window box, it is best to choose a wooden box. Metal ones are more likely to overheat if sitting in the hot, summer sun. Also, wooden boxes allow for drainage, whereas metal or plastic ones often do not. The color of the box should also be considered – dark ones get warmer than light-colored boxes.
  • Grow perfect, individual flowers for shows by bagging them with a piece of spun-bonded, polyester, row cover material. Cut a square large enough to cover the desired flower, and gather the edges with strong thread so the material is snug against the stem. Insects will be unable to get to the prized bud.
  • For hanging baskets in cool, shady locations, use trailing tuberous begonias, ferns, impatiens or fibrous rooted begonias in combination with trailing plants, such as English ivy.
  • Plant tropical water lilies early in summer.
  • Remove old flower heads from bedding plants to prolong the period of bloom.
  • Dis-bud chrysanthemum flowers to ensure large, beautiful blooms on straight, strong stems. To dis-bud, remove the small, side buds that form in the angles of the leaves along the stems. This allows all food reserves to be used for one large flower rather than many smaller ones.
  • Plant annual flowers in tubs or large crocks for the porch or terrace. Be sure there are holes in the container bottom to provide good drainage.
  • Divide spring and early summer flowering perennials after the blooms fade. Instead of severing the clump in half, try jiggling the roots apart with two sharp, spading forks. This takes more time, but damages fewer roots than cutting the clump apart.
  • Remove foliage from spring bulbs after it turns yellow and begins to dry. Set out bedding plants to cover the bare spots using care not to damage bulbs.
  • Roses

  • Odd flower formations on rose bushes June be due to cold temperatures during bud formation.
    Buds so damaged do not open completely, giving rise to a lop-sided flower.
  • Miniature roses can be propagated from stem cuttings. Take cuttings with four leaves and insert them into pots filled with moist potting soil. Rooting hormone is optional. Place whole pot in a perforated plastic bag and place in a shady spot. Water as needed. By autumn, cuttings should be rooted.
  • A recent study showed that a well-cared-for floribunda rose bush can produce over 250 blooms in its lifetime. Prune off old blossoms from grandifloras and hybrid teas to keep them flowering all summer. On ramblers and small-flowered roses, remove canes right after blooming. Prune rambling and climbing roses immediately after blooming.
  • Watch for and control black spot and powdery mildew on rose foliage.
  • Climbing roses don’t really climb – they have long canes that require support. You’ll need to loosely tie the canes to trellises with broad strips of material. Do not use wire, it can damage the cane.
  • The ‘Peace’ rose cultivar is the flower-of-choice for special Peace Gardens being built around the world. Introduced in the United States 50 years ago after being smuggled out of France in a brief case, this rose stood as a symbol of hope and has become one of the world’s most favorite roses.

Trees, Shrubs, and Ground Covers in June

  • Collect seed of firepinks, poppy, wild indigo, and bleeding hearts. Fall bloomers that get too tall, such as chrysanthemum, can be cut back by about one half now to reduce their fall height.
  • Shrubs and perennials look nice as foundation plantings, but rain June not reach under the eaves, so you June need to water frequently.
  • Use pliers to pull up woody seedlings and weeds. Grip the stem at the soil line, twist it around the pliers, and pull straight up. Watering deeply the day before pulling weeds will make the job easier.
  • Mimosa trees often disappoint home owners when they die an early death. Lab tests show mimosa deaths, once blamed on wilt disease, result from a combination of wilt and nematodes. New tests will help plant breeders select varieties resistant to both problems.
  • Determining whether you have Chinese or Japanese wisteria is not difficult. The blossoms on the Chinese variety open before the leaves appear. On the Japanese type, they develop with the unfolding leaves. Also, Chinese wisteria usually has 7 to 13 leaflets, while the Japanese type has 13 to 19.
  • Alkaline soil can cause leaf yellowing (chlorosis) of some shade trees. If you suspect alkaline soil to be the cause of leaf yellowing on one of your trees, determine soil pH. Pin oaks are especially susceptible to this condition. High soil pH limits the availability of micronutrients.
  • Summer plantings of shrubs are possible if you use container-grown plants. Water newly planted shrubs frequently.
  • Put up stakes or guards to protect young trees from lawnmower damage.
  • Spring-flowering shrubs, such as deutzia, weigela, viburnum and forsythia, should be pruned as soon as they complete bloom.
  • Lacebugs feed on azaleas, pyracantha and other woody plants,causing a gray, blanched or stippled appearance on the upper surface of the leaves. Take steps to control them as soon as you notice the damage. Check with your Local County Extension agent for current organic recommendations.
  • Plants wilt from a lack of oxygen as well as a lack of water. When the soil is compacted, the plant’s tender feeder roots and root hairs suffocate. The problem is compounded when the well-meaning gardener assumes that the wilting is a sign of water stress and immediately irrigates. Well-aerated soil, enriched with organic matter, allows both air and water to circulate freely about the root system for a vigorous plant.
  • When you buy container-grown nursery stock, check the root ball, and make sure it is not bound too tightly. A mass of circling roots will stay that way even after it is in the ground.
  • Take care that newly planted trees and shrubs receive a thorough soaking each week. Soak the ground; do not sprinkle it lightly. Mulch to conserve moisture. It is also helpful to make a shallow depression around plants to collect water.
  • Additional pruning may be required this month on fast-growing plants, such as juniper, privet and yew, to maintain a desirable shape during the growing season.
  • Mulch promotes faster growth of trees and shrubs than grass or ground covers. In three experiments across the country, researchers have shown that a number of different trees and shrubs including dogwood, forsythia, Burford holly, Japanese black pine and cottonwood had growth reduced significantly by both ground covers and grasses growing up to the trunk.
  • When it is necessary to transplant woody plants in hot weather, drape them with a wet sheet after they are planted. Dampen the sheet two or three times a day keeping the plant covered for several days. This will help the plants survive the untimely move.
  • When dead or damaged branches are found on shade trees, prune them out immediately

Indoor Gardening June

  • A plastic-mesh bag filled with marbles set inside a container holds flower arrangements beautifully. Set the bag in the container and cover it with water, and the marbles will grip flower stems firmly without injuring them.
  • To prevent slugs and similar pests from entering the drainage holes of potted plants that have been set into the ground during summer, slip the pot into the toe of an old nylon stocking. This allows water to get through, but keeps out pests.
  • Hanging baskets exposed to sun should be checked daily and watered if needed. Also, outdoor hanging containers should be sheltered from high winds.
  • When you go on a short vacation, one thorough, deep watering just before leaving will usually be sufficient. The same is true for houseplants. Many times, a thoughtful neighbor can literally kill your plants with kindness by over-watering them.
  • If you keep your houseplants indoors all summer, keep them out of the draft of the air conditioner. Plants react to an air conditioner’s cool air in various ways. Some drop their leaves, others don’t bloom well, and some fail to bloom all together.
  • Peat pellets that swell up to form both pot and growing medium for seedlings can be used for air layering. After the pot has soaked and expanded to full size, slit it vertically on one side so it will fit over the plant’s stem. Next, wound the plant stem by cutting two fine rings around the stem a half inch apart in the bark or skin with a sharp knife. Peel off the area between the cuts, and slip the pellet over the stem. Cover the wound with a plastic bag tied at both ends to conserve moisture. When roots appear in the bag, remove the plastic, sever the new plant and pot it up.
  • Houseplants grown in clay pots may be sunk in a partially shaded flower bed or border for the summer. If your plants are grown in glazed or plastic containers, remove the pot before planting them in a flower bed.
  • According to studies conducted by NASA, plants can function as biological, air-purification systems. Spider plants (Chlorophytum spp.) are highly efficient in absorbing toxic substances. In tests, these plants absorbed toxins, such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, known to be present in homes and offices. To purify the air in an average-size, well-insulated home, 8 to 15 mature spider plants would be required. Other plants that also lowered pollutant levels, but to a lesser degree, were Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema spp.), golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp.).
  • House plants can be kept in good condition for several weeks while one is on vacation by using clear, plastic bags as miniature greenhouses. Simply soak the soil thoroughly, allow to drain, then place the potted plant into a plastic bag and tie the opening tightly. Two or more sticks in the soil will support the plastic tent and prevent it from resting on the plants. Plants, such as African violets, that are apt to develop mildew should have a few air holes cut for air circulation.
  • To avoid soaking the soil when washing off the leaves of potted plants, use a shield. Slit an aluminum foil pie plate from the rim to the center. Turn under the cut edges and slip it around the plant stem so it covers the soil and allows the water to run off.

Miscellaneous Gardening Reminders for June

  • Use judgement when ordering from gardening catalogs that use only common names rather than appropriate genus and species for naming their plant materials. Plant materials, services, and products from such catalogs may be less professional than those of a catalog using the accepted scientific naming system.
  • Remember that all insects in the garden are not necessarily pests. Be sure properly identify insects as pests and to check with your local extension office before treating.
  • Seed longevity is determined by seed moisture content and temperature. As a general rule, seed storage life decreases by half for every 5° C rise in temperature from 0 to 50° C, or for every 1 percent increase in moisture content from 5 to 14 percent. Another rule of thumb is to keep percent relative humidity and temperature (degrees F) below 100 during seed storage, preventing damage to seeds from high respiration, fungi, mold, and insects.
  • Spruce up your front porch, patio, or balcony with a colorful container garden! Recycle any type of container that supports plant root growth and provides adequate drainage. Be sure to water your containers properly, allowing excess water to run out of the bottom.
  • Check new plant growth for aphids. Aphids, or plant lice, can weaken plants and delay growth.
  • Everyone can incorporate integrated pest management (IPM) practices in their gardening. To reduce pesticide use, plant cultivars that are resistant.
  • People generate over 6 pounds of trash per person per day. Reduce the amount you generate by becoming a selective shopper at garden centers and recycle whenever possible.
  • If a compost heap fails to heat, mix in green matter and manure to aid in the decomposition process.
  • Dry catnip leaves to use as stuffing for toys for your cat. Cats also like to eat fresh catnip leaves.
  • Persistence is necessary to keep shallow birdbaths filled with water. If a deep tub is used, add a few goldfish to keep the mosquito larvae under control.
  • The best way to gain maximum benefits from predatory insects, such as lady bugs, is to maintain an environment that encourages their long-term, natural establishment near your garden. A mixture of crimson clover and hairy vetch used as a cover crop will provide the predators needed habitat while improving the soil. Switching to insecticidal sprays that break down readily will also help.
  • At different times of the day, go into the yard with a note pad and take time to really look and record what you see. Look at the soil. Note where it dries out too fast or stays water-logged for long periods of time. Notice where shadows fall. Make a note about any sun-loving plants that have become shaded by trees. Plan to move these plants or prune the trees next year to remedy the problem. Note the worst problems, their causes and possible cures. Record which plants have the fewest problems.
  • Bats can be an important weapon in a chemical-free arsenal for bug control. One big, brown bat can eat 3,000 to 7,000 insects each night. Attract bats to your yard by building and placing bat houses in your yard. For answers to all the questions you have about bats, (but were afraid to ask!) GO HERE.
  • Heavy rains encourage slug problems. Go on a few extra slug patrols during rainy periods to hand pick the pests.
  • Leftover vegetable and flower seeds may be stored in a cool, dry location for planting next year. One method is to place seed packets in a jar or plastic bag and store the containers in the refrigerator.
  • Birds will generally not be scared away by scarecrows. Instead, try tying pieces of glass, colored cloth or tin to loose strings so the wind can blow them and clash them together. Random motion is the key to alarming the birds away from the garden.
  • A method of composting in limited space is to put all of the compost materials (leaves, soil, weeds, kitchen garbage and manure) in a large, polyethylene bag, moisten it thoroughly, tie the top tightly and leave it out in the sun. Shake the bag around occasionally, and let in fresh air every 2 weeks. Before long, you will have a convenient bag of well-rotted compost.
  • A sundial should be set on June 15. Place it so the shadow falls on the twelve o’clock position at exactly noon on this date.
  • Japanese beetle traps are probably not appropriate for most home use because they tend to attract the beetles without trapping them all. However, if traps are used, recent research indicates that white is more attractive to Japanese beetles than other colors. Place traps at least 25 feet from fruit trees and roses to lure the pests away from treasured plants.
  • The use of milky spore disease (Bacillus popilliae) for Japanese beetle control is most effective in neighborhoods where most residents use it. Otherwise, Japanese beetle larvae hatching in other yards will reinfest your property.
  • To protect bees that pollinate many of our crop plants, spray pesticides in the evening after bees have returned to their hives.
  • Protect yourself, your family and your pets from contact with pesticides. Wear protective clothing, and spray only on calm days. Wash your hands and clothing thoroughly after using garden chemicals. Buy only enough to do the job; excess chemicals are difficult to dispose of properly.
  • Weed removal is important for a number of reasons. It conserves moisture, conserves nutrients in the soil and helps prevent the spread of disease and insects.
  • To avoid back strain and assorted muscle pains, try the following suggestions while doing lawn work: When weeding, try to kneel, keeping your chin close to your chest rather than bending on all fours with your back parallel to the ground. When mowing or hoeing, make sure the tool handle is long enough so you can work without doubling over. Lift heavy objects by bending at the knees, not the back. Always move on to another job before your muscles begin to protest at the one you are doing.

"So many seeds — so little time."
~ Author unknown

The Ready Store
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" ~ Thomas Jefferson