By the month of June, all northern hemisphere gardens are in full throttle. Garden chores are almost equalized across zones. Warmer climates are still ahead of the game, shifting into a transition period northern gardeners don’t experience. But crops are still growing, insects are still feasting and, despite the heat and humidity, this is not the time to rest. When the sun does find time to peer out, take the time to appreciate the fruits of your labour as most of the sowing, pricking out and potting on will have been done. Ornamental borders will soon be at their best and you should have heaps of early vegetables to harvest.
Vegetables. Start any of the warm weather vegetables (Corn, Beans, Peppers, Egg Plant, Tomatoes, Squash, Pumpkins, etc.) as soon as possible. Tap your tomato plants to encourage good pollination; water every day and start feeding them weekly once fruits set. Protect your fruit from the birds with netting.
– Stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb
– Replace cool season flowers, like pansies, and crops, like spinach, that have bolted with the heat
– Get any remaining warm season vegetables in the ground
– Keep up blanching of celery, cauliflower and tender greens
– Plant a new batch of bush beans every couple of weeks
– Keep tomato plants staked as they grow. Pinch out suckers.
– Put a couple of drops of mineral oil on corn silks within a week after they appear, to prevent corn earworm.
Begin to prepare for the fall garden by starting seeds of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower to be transplanted in late summer.
Fruits. Citrus trees need some attention this month. After harvesting they must be fed with a balanced fertiliser like 3:1:5 and pruned to shape and allow more sunlight. Harvest ripening fruit regularly to prevent pests and diseases. Grape vines and deciduous fruit trees can be pruned now. Cut away all this season’s growth on grape vines (leaving only 2 to 3 buds) – they bear fruit on old wood. Plums and apricots don’t need hard pruning – cut away old and dead wood, prune to shape and remove young branches growing in the wrong direction. Thin out apple and pear trees to allow in more light. Peaches bear fruit on new wood and pruning is done on last year’s wood to stimulate new growth. Also thin out some of this year’s growth. Spray fruit trees and the surface of the soil around them with a lime sulphur solution after pruning. Protect ripening berries with nets or row covers. Continue to pick strawberries. This will cause them to keep on producing.
Garden Flowers. Remove old flower heads from annual bedding plants to keep them blooming. Remove foliage from spring bulbs after it turns yellow and begins to dry. Set out bedding plants to cover the bare spots using care not to damage the bulbs. For hanging baskets in cool, shady locations, use tuberous begonias, ferns, impatiens or fibrous rooted begonias in combination with trailing plants, such as English ivy.
English Ivy (left), Begonia (right)
Plant annual flowers in tubs or large containers for the porch or terrace. Spring flowering shrubs such as spirea, viburnum, lilac and forsythia should be pruned as soon as they are done blooming. Six weeks after flowering, daffodils can now be cut back. Also dead head early flowering plants if berries/fruits aren’t desired, this helps retain the plant’s vigour and with some plants may encourage more flowering.
Climbing plants should be tied-in to their supports as they grow. Thin out woody growths from early flowering Clematis if necessary and prune back long current year’s growth on Wisteria. Reward Wisteria after flowering with a feed of general fertilizer such as Growmore.
Warmer and drier weather means it will be necessary to water and mist your plants more often. When the sun is at its strongest, it is likely that any water sprayed on the leaves of your plant will cause it to burn. It is best to water your plants and flowers early in the morning or late at night when the sun is at its weakest or has already begun to set. Apply fungicide to prevent and control black spot on roses, and clean up all signs of the disease and throw that in the trash. Disinfect pruners.
Discolouration, wilting and brittle leaves can all be a sign that something is wrong with your plant, and it is recommended you tackle it as soon as possible before it spreads. You should also keep an eye out for Spider Mites, Gypsy Moths and Caterpillars which will all start to emerge in June.
Shrubs & Trees. This is a good month for shearing, pinching or pruning Junipers, Cypress or Conifers. If you’ve been cultivating a special living Christmas tree, sculpt it now. Fertilize flowering shrubs like Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camellias immediately after they have finished flowering with a ‘Rhododendron’ or ‘Evergreen’ type fertilizer.
Water well new trees and shrubs every seven to 10 days when there is little or no rain. Dead head the developing seed pods from your Rhododendrons and Azaleas to improve next years bloom. Be careful not to damage next years buds which may be hidden just below the pod. It’s hedge sculpting and trimming time!