June: What to do in the Garden

Planning Ahead

  • Prepare beds for the garden 1 – 3 weeks before planting.
  • Check soil moisture. A good consistency should be like a good snowball.
  • Test your sprinklers for coverage and drip irrigation for leakage.
  • Brew compost tea and provide for your garden every 2 weeks.
  • Prepare trellises for your crops that are suitable for the way they like to grow.
  • Train your vining plants along their trellises (Grapes, kiwis, blackberries, raspberries, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, etc).
  • Watch any weeds for flowering and setting seed. If you are trying to prevent these plants from growing in abundance in your garden, you will need to pull them before their flowers mature.
  • Mulch to prevent weeds.
  • Compost and collect organic matter for the compost pile.
  • Plant summer cover crops such as buckwheat, clover, and alfalfa. Watch for slugs and other insect pests on your plants and trees.
  • Protect your plants from deer and other wildlife.
  • Ensure good airflow around your plants to prevent fungal disease.

 

In The Vegetable Garden

  • Direct sow squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins in the first half of June.
  • Transplant tomatoes, peppers, basil, melons, and eggplants into the garden in the beginning of June.
  • Use willow tea or kelp tea diluted in water 10:1 to prevent your plants from experiencing transplanting shock.
  • Soak your bean seeds in preparation for planting. Coat in legume inoculant to maximize relationships with beneficial nitrogen fixing bacteria before planting.
  • Sow corn. Pre-sprout your seeds by soaking in water before planting. If you live in a wet area, you may want to consider transplants.
  • Sow beans, carrots, beets, and parsnips in succession as needed.
  • Thin seedlings so leaves do not overlap and plants have ample space to grow.
  • Sidedress crops with compost or the appropriate fertilizer

o   Nitrogen for leafy growth (Bloodmeal)

o   Potassium for root growth (Ashes)

o   Phosphorous for flowering or fruiting (Bonemeal)

  • Start seeds of plants in the cabbage family for the winter garden
  • Continue to sow lettuce and radishes in succession as needed, every two weeks.
  • Pick edible flowers. The more you pick, they more you get.
  • Harvest lettuce often to encourage more growth. Ensure ample water for your leafys as the weather gets warm to prevent bolting.
  • Pick your peas frequently to encourage maximum production.
  • Continue to mound up your potatoes and leeks.
  • Cut flowering tops off your onions and garlic
  • Tend to your tomato plants by pruning and trellising as needed.
  • Pinch back your basil plants to encourage bushy vegetative growth.
  • Sow buckwheat or other summer cover crops.

 

Fruit Trees and Berry Bushes

  • Harvest Strawberries and store surplus for the winter.
  • Cut back Comfrey and other dynamic accumulators for mulch
  • Protect your plants from deer and other wildlife
  • Mulch to maximize water holding capacity of your landscape, especially your blueberries and raspberries
  • Water deeply as needed (ample water encourages good juicy fruit production)
  • Set out any scare tactics to prevent birds from eating your berries
  • Remove water sprouts from fruit trees.
  • Inspect for insect and disease damage.
  • Thin apples, peaches, and pears in mid June to one fruit every 4 inches.
  • Remove any dead raspberry canes.

 

Perennials

  • Cut back flowers to encourage more blooms.
  • Cut aerial parts of Lemon Balm and the Mints (Peppermint, Spearmint, Chocolate Mint, etc) and dry for teas in the winter. You can also begin to cut the aerial parts of Feverfew this month.
  • Collect the flowers of Chamomile, Calendula, St. John’s Wort, Arnica, and Roses to dry for tea in the winter or use in making medicinal preparations.
  • All flower seeds can be sown in the garden.
  • Remove the foliage from your bulbs once it withers and turns brown. Plant annual flowers to take up the newly available space.
  • Label the locations of your bulbs for dividing in the fall.
  • Enhance your landscape by adding hanging baskets for color, form, and attracting beneficial insects.
  • Prune woody plants after they are done blooming.

 

Putting up the Harvest

  • To freeze berries, simply place on a baking sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, pack into plastic bags. This makes them easier to remove for use and preserves their shape.
  • Extra Broccoli, Kohlrabi, and Peas can be flash steamed for 2 minutes and then frozen. Rhubarb can be frozen in a similar way but you may want to steam it for 5 minutes.
  • Harvest medicinal leaves & flowers and dry for tea. Leaves and flowers are preserved best by drying them at 85 degrees F. Roots and Fruits are best dried at 135 degrees F. Ensure that they are completely dry before storing.
  • Many herbs can be preserved in olive oils or vinegars. If you preserve herbs in oil, make sure you remove the plant material after no longer than 2 weeks to prevent bacterial growth.
  • A good resource on preserving the harvest is the book called Stocking Up.
  • Let me know if you have any recipes you would like to share!