June’s Gardening Guide is all about gettin your behind outside! And getting ahead of being behind. We say good bye to spring and hello to summer with the summer solstice in June. Gardening Guides are based on personal experience in Zone 4. Don’t hesitate with any questions about the information here or how it could apply to your own zone.
Gardening Guide: June–Get Yo Behind Outside
If you’re anything like me, you’re always behind with something in the garden. This year was no different. Once June hits, it’s a flashing sign to plant any and everything I meant to plant in May. It’s time to get ‘er all done.
During June, because I trellis cucumbers and tomatoes, I begin pruning them to redirect plant energy into flowering and setting fruit.
I trellis cucumbers on cattle panel shaped like an arch. I prune the first 6 side shoots and leave the rest. To do so, find the main vine and then follow it up to identify side shoots in the axil (between the stem and leaf). Remove the side shoot, so it doesn’t produce runners. Do this at the next 5 axils up the vine.
I grow all indeterminate varieties of tomatoes, which means I need to provide support for them. For this reason, I use both string trellises and Florida weave. I prune each tomato plant to two leaders. To do so, remove all suckers (found in the axil, between the stem and the leaf) except the one right below the first flowers of the main stem. Leave this sucker, as it will become your second leader. When pruning this way, the tomato will grow in a Y shape. Prune all suckers on both leaders.
When buds are setting and flowering is a perfect time to give heavy feeders a dose of fertilizer. I’ll use either a fish/seaweed liquid fertilizer or a high-concentrate liquid seaweed fertilizer.
It is so important to stay on top of the weeds early in the season. Do not let them take you and the garden over! I prefer good ol’ hand-picking, but there are a number of tools to help with weeds like loop and collinear hoes. You can also put down mulch like straw to suppress weeds and retain moisture. I do my best to stay ahead of the weeds in June, because I know we’ll be out of town the first week or so of July. Once we get home, there will be so much to do that getting ahead of the weeds is a must.
One of the best things you can do to ensure garden success is spending time out there! Make it a morning ritual to walk around the garden with a cup of coffee or tea before you start your day. Take a walk around it with your loved ones at night with a sparkling water (or glass of wine) after a long day. It not only gives you a chance to monitor what’s going on, but it’s also a great time to enjoy your hard work! The more time you spend in the garden, even if just enjoying it, the more likely you are to spot problems, nip them in the bud, and learn from them.
Look for any pest damage, and if you find some, see if you can identify the creature causing damage. Once you’ve identified the pest, choose pest removal you are most comfortable with. For us, some years are different than others, but the pests that cause the most problems in our garden are cabbage worms, potato beetles, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles. Row cover generally does a good job against the moths that lay cabbage worms. However, any beetles or worms that do pop up are hand-picked into soapy water (sorry, bugs). Cucumber beetles are especially tricky to manage.
In addition to May harvests, pick garlic scapes, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, beets, green onions, peas, carrots, baby summer squash, and herbs and make things like:
Alright, that’s all she wrote for June’s Gardening Guide. Happy gardening, friend!