June Tips for the Garden
ADDING NEW PLANTS
You still can plant warm weather crops in early June. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and melon all prefer the warmer soil and air temperature of early June. You can also plant seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, winter lettuce, spinach, and silver beet. Plant strawberry plants now for a fall harvest. Plant new fruit trees: citrus, apples, pears, plums, peaches, and nectarines. With hot summers, make sure to plant lettuce, spinach, and other greens in the shade since they produce more if they stay cool.
Install soaker hoses, if possible, to be able to provide moisture without spraying foliage. Leaf diseases affect several vegetable crops and are spread by water on the leaves. Make sure to water early in the morning, so that if any water does get on your plants, the water dries before the hot sun has the chance to burn your plants. If you added any new plants, be sure to be watering those thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil moist, but not too wet.
Mulch under tomatoes with straw or other light colored mulch to retain water but slow weed development. Wait until after a warm spell when soil temperatures are optimal for the heat-loving plants. Many gardeners prefer the red plastic mulch that can increase tomato yield as much as 20 percent.
PRUNING AND STAKING
Now is the time to prune trees that are done with their fruit for the season. Cut the stems back to a healthy growing bud and seal the cuts on larger stems with pruning paint to protect against disease. Remember to provide a trellis or other support for vining vegetables, such as peas and pole beans to grow on. If need be, you may want to cage your tomato plants to help make sure they grow upright.
Harvest peas when the peas have filled out the pods but before they start to dry out. If you have snap peas, harvest before the peas swell into the walls of the pod for a sweeter taste. Peas will burn out by the end of the month and you can plant a new crop for fall harvesting. Make sure that you stop harvesting your rhubarb and asparagus earlier than other crops as they need to product a lot of leaves for the rest of the summer to create enough energy for an abundant harvest next year.
WEEDS BUGS, AND DISEASE
Be sure to stay on top of weeding. It is much easier to pull the weeds as they appear rather than trying to tackle a garden full of weeds. A great tip for easy weeding is to get weeding in the garden a day after it rains—the wet soil makes the weeds much more willing to be pulled.
Be sure to be watchful for bugs and disease. The quicker you recognize the problem, and the faster you remedy it, the better off your garden will be. With a bug problem, try a horticultural oil or insecticidal soap. As always, read the label of the product for guidance.