June Gardening Checklist
Just because it's June
It's warm, sunny, and time to play outside in the sun. For a gardener there
is no better month to enjoy puttering in the garden. Garden beds are almost
planted so now's the time to plot succession planting, cultivation, and helping
- If you've always raked or bagged your lawn clippings in the past,
think about mowing a little more often and grasscycling instead.
Grasscycling means leaving the mowed grass where it falls. Cut more frequently
so the the short leaves can compost quickly and release their nitrogen to
grass plants. Frequent mowing prevents seed heads from forming on weeds, too.
Use a reel mower and get your workout in the front yard.
- Use slow-release organic fertilizer on your lawn if you
need to fertilize. A healthy lawn is bright leaf green. If the grass is dark
blue-green, it has too much nitrogen, which indicates healthy leaf growth
probably at the expense of the root system. If you aren't sure, and you grasscycle,
wait until fall to apply your organic fertilizer.
- Cultivation is arguably the most important thing you can do this
month. Work soil deeply, add compost, and weed. Be careful not to
injure plant roots.
- Thin seedlings as they grow to ensure robust development
- Create a garden bank account. As you thin seedlings, replant
in small containers that you can use as infill if other plants fail. This
is particularly useful when planning garden parties and barbecues or other
celebrations for which you want your garden (and all that effort) to impress
your guests in all its floral glory. Plants that are particularly gracious
include petunias, marigolds, and geraniums.
- Mulch as needed to retain moisture and slow weed growth.
- Monitor watering so plants get well watered deeply. Water
early in the morning. Flowers in particular prefer morning watering. This
also reduces the likelihood of problems with powdery mildew and blackspot.
- Did you know that June 15th is the day to set your sundial?
Add a little vintage character and tell time too. Set the dial on June 15th
and place ti so that the shadow falls on 12:00 o'clock at exactly noon on
- The secret to healthy relatively pest free plants is healthy soil rich in
fungi, bacteria, and other microscopic life. Using organic matter
ensures that this invisible biosphere has plenty of food to develop a strong
web of life below the surface of your soil. Unlike synthetic fertilizers,
organic fertilizers release slowly over a longer period.
- If you haven't done a soil test, do one this year. It will
point you in the direction you need to go to amend your garden and lawn.
- Before you kill it, know whether the "pest" you are seeing
is friend or foe. It's easy to see creepy crawlers and think immediately
that they should die. Get a good bug book, then use the appropriate controls
to minimize damage.
- Make your own insecticidal soap spray to control aphids.
Use 1 tablespoon of pure liquid castile soap to one gallon of water and spray
on affected plants. Do NOT use detergent.
- Attract predators who will snack on your pests. Add a birdbath
or other watersource, preferably flowing to deter mosquitoes, to attract birds.
If you can keep chickens in your city (and neighborhood) a couple hens will
snack happily from one end of a fenced garden to the other and leave you fresh
eggs to boot. (Let them out of their coop after they lay, so you aren't finding
eggs all over the yard.)
- Cut flowers regularly. Since flowers bloom to produce seed,
the best way to prolong blooming is by cutting and deadheading.
- Start seeds this month for next year's perennial garden.
- Cut back June flowers like achillea and delphinium, water
well, work in a dose of slow-release organic fertilizer for a second round
of flowering later in the summer.
- As soon as spring blooming shrubs have finished, now is the time
to prune and shape. Rhodies and lilacs both set next season's bloom
immediately, so don't delay.
While the garden is growing and in full bloom, you may be inspired to add an arbor or pergola. A professional carpenter at ContractorNexus
can help you design and build your garden structures.