June Bustin’ Out in the Garden

Gardening TipsJune is often our favorite time in the garden. Sure, the rewards of harvest can’t be beat — and June does offer some harvest, especially in warmer zones — but the orderliness of our straight planted rows and the germinating perfection gives us a thrill that’s at once reward for the hard work that’s gone before and the promise of bountiful and beautiful things to come.

There’s nothing better than pulling up a lawn chair and surveying our garden kingdom no matter its size: the neat lines of bright green seedlings planted just days before, the transplanted seedling started weeks ago indoors now flourishing in their new outdoor homes. Yes, there’s a break in the action once the garden’s in — or maybe you’re still furiously trying to get everything in the ground — but that doesn’t mean you can step back and let things go off on their own. Here we offer some June gardening tips and chores:

Protection is important, especially in places where June brings storms with hail and strong wind and rain. Have a supply of plastic milk cartons with the bottom cut out to protect transplanted seedling should inclement weather arise. Use cloches or hooped covers to protect seedlings from storms. Anchor any protection well so it doesn’t blow away.

Watering can also be critical, especially in places where drought is a factor (we’re surrounded by forest fires here in the hills above Santa Fe). Seedlings quickly succumb to dry soil so check soil conditions frequently and be sure they get enough water. Newly germinated plants require delicate watering … consider a mister nozzle. Thoroughly watering garlic and onions now will mean bigger, better bulbs later. Water deeply planted veggies like tomatoes thoroughly to encourage early growth.

–Now’s the time to thin. Give plants plenty of room to facilitate quick growth and discourage pests and disease.

Practice succession planting. If your lettuce has been in a week or two, it’s time to plant more. Heat resistant varieties of greens are best for planting now. A second planting of bush beans put in the ground once the first planting has emerged will help extend your harvests.

–Have extra seed? Don’t just leave it in the package on a shelf in your garage. Most seed will survive a season or more if kept in a tightly closed glass jar. You can help keep those seeds dry by folding up some milk powder inside a small square of paper towel and including it in the jar.

Your June garden chores, of course, will vary depending on your location, micro-climate conditions, and weather. Lists of June chores from gardeners here and here and here will show us how gardens are proceeding around North America. How does your garden grow… this June?

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