June Garden Tasks: 15 Things You Probably Should’ve Done Last Week

June is a busy month for gardeners, with warmer weather and longer days making it the perfect time to tend to vegetable gardens, flower gardens, and general landscaping. Here are the important tasks you need to keep up on to keep your garden thriving this month.

Trust me, neglecting this can lead to a world of hurt very quickly. Have you ever seen how quickly weeds can overtake everything?

1. Plant Warm-Season Vegetables

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As the weather warms up, June is an excellent time to plant warm-season vegetables. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, and cucumbers are among the top choices for this period. These vegetables thrive in the heat and will reward you with bountiful harvests if given the right care. Ensure they are planted in a location that receives full sunlight, ideally six to eight hours a day. This will promote vigorous growth and fruit production.

Before planting, prepare your soil by adding compost or well-rotted manure to provide necessary nutrients. Space your plants according to their specific requirements, allowing enough room for air circulation to prevent disease. Regular watering is vital, especially during the initial stages after planting. Deep, infrequent watering encourages deep root development, making your plants more resilient to dry spells. Mulching around your vegetable plants helps retain moisture and keeps the soil temperature stable.

2. Harvest Early Crops

Gardening activity.
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Many early crops are ready for harvest in June, marking one of the most rewarding times in the vegetable garden. Peas, lettuce, and radishes often reach maturity around this time. Regular harvesting not only provides fresh produce for your table but also encourages plants to continue producing.

When harvesting, be gentle to avoid damaging the plants. Use clean, sharp tools to cut vegetables, reducing the risk of introducing diseases. For leafy greens like lettuce, consider harvesting outer leaves first, allowing the inner leaves to grow for future harvests. Pay attention to signs of readiness, such as color, size, and firmness. Keeping a close eye on your garden ensures you pick vegetables at their peak flavor and nutritional value.

3. Deadhead Flowers

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Deadheading, or removing spent blooms, is an important task for maintaining the health and appearance of your flowering plants. Roses, petunias, and geraniums are just a few examples of flowers that benefit from deadheading. By removing faded flowers, you prevent the plant from putting energy into seed production, redirecting it towards more blooms.

Use sharp scissors or pruning shears to make clean cuts just above the first set of healthy leaves. This encourages new growth and can extend the flowering period. Regular deadheading not only keeps your garden looking neat but also promotes a longer and more abundant display of flowers. It’s a simple yet effective way to keep your flower garden vibrant and attractive.

4. Mulch Garden Beds

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Applying mulch to your garden beds is one of the most beneficial practices you can do at anytime, but definitely get to it in June. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and regulates soil temperature, creating a more favorable environment for your plants. Organic mulches, such as straw, wood chips, or compost, add nutrients to the soil as they break down.

Spread a layer of mulch about two to three inches thick around your vegetable plants, flowers, and shrubs. Be sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the stems of the plants to prevent rot. Mulching not only conserves water by reducing evaporation but also improves soil structure and fertility over time. It’s a low-maintenance solution that provides multiple benefits for your garden.

5. Water Regularly

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As temperatures rise, ensuring your garden receives adequate water becomes increasingly important. Consistent and proper watering is key to maintaining healthy plants, especially during dry spells. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth, which helps plants become more drought-tolerant.

Early morning is the best time to water your garden, as it allows foliage to dry during the day, reducing the risk of fungal diseases. Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems to deliver water directly to the root zone, minimizing evaporation and water waste. Mulching around plants also aids in retaining moisture. Keep an eye on weather conditions and adjust your watering schedule accordingly to ensure your garden thrives throughout the summer.

6. Prune Spring-Flowering Shrubs

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Pruning spring-flowering shrubs after they finish blooming is essential for maintaining their shape and promoting healthy growth. Lilacs, forsythias, and azaleas are examples of shrubs that benefit from post-bloom pruning. By removing spent flowers and thinning out crowded branches, you encourage better air circulation and light penetration.

Use sharp, clean pruning tools to make precise cuts. Remove any dead or damaged branches first, then focus on shaping the shrub. Avoid heavy pruning, which can reduce flowering in the following season. Instead, aim for a balanced, natural shape. Regular pruning keeps shrubs healthy, promotes vigorous growth, and ensures a beautiful display of flowers year after year.

7. Support Climbing Plants

Gourds growing vertically.
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Climbing plants, such as beans, peas, and clematis, require proper support to grow and thrive. Installing trellises, stakes, or cages provides the necessary structure to keep these plants upright and allows for better air circulation. This reduces the risk of disease and makes harvesting easier.

When setting up supports, consider the growth habit and mature size of the plants. Place supports in the ground before planting to avoid damaging the roots later. As plants grow, gently tie them to the support structure using soft ties or garden twine. Regularly check and adjust ties to prevent constriction. Providing adequate support not only promotes healthy growth but also enhances the aesthetic appeal of your garden.

8. Control Pests

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June is a time when garden pests become more active, posing a threat to your plants. Regular inspection and early intervention are key to keeping pest populations under control. Common garden pests include aphids, slugs, and caterpillars, which can cause significant damage if left unchecked.

Use organic pest control methods to manage infestations. Neem oil, diatomaceous earth, and insecticidal soaps are effective options that are safe for the environment and beneficial insects. Hand-picking pests is also a practical approach for small gardens. Encouraging natural predators, such as ladybugs and birds, can help maintain a healthy balance. By staying vigilant and using eco-friendly solutions, you can protect your garden from unwanted visitors.

9. Fertilize

Gardening activity.
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Giving your garden a mid-season nutrient boost helps maintain vigorous growth and productivity. Organic fertilizers, such as compost, fish emulsion, or well-rotted manure, provide essential nutrients without harming the soil ecosystem. Fertilizing in June supports flowering, fruiting, and overall plant health.

Follow package instructions for proper application rates and timing. Apply fertilizer around the base of plants, avoiding direct contact with stems and leaves to prevent burning. Water thoroughly after fertilizing to help nutrients reach the root zone. Regular feeding ensures your plants have the resources they need to thrive throughout the growing season.

10. Divide Perennials

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Dividing and transplanting overcrowded perennials is a beneficial task to perform in June. Plants like hostas, daylilies, and irises must often be divided to rejuvenate growth and prevent overcrowding. Dividing perennials allows you to propagate and expand your garden without purchasing new plants.

To divide perennials, carefully dig up the plant and gently separate the roots into smaller sections, each with several healthy shoots and roots. Replant these divisions in prepared soil, water well, and mulch to retain moisture. Dividing perennials every few years keeps them healthy and productive, ensuring a vibrant and diverse garden.

11. Weed Regularly

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Weeding is an ongoing task that requires diligence, especially in June when weeds can grow rapidly. Weeds compete with your plants for nutrients, water, and light, making it important to remove them promptly. Regular weeding prevents them from setting seed and spreading further.

Use a hoe or hand weeder to remove weeds from garden beds and borders. Mulching helps suppress weed growth by blocking light and creating a barrier. For persistent weeds, consider using landscape fabric or organic herbicides. Consistent weeding keeps your garden looking neat and ensures your plants have the resources they need to thrive.

12. Edge Garden Beds

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Edging garden beds gives them a clean, finished look and helps define the boundaries between lawn and garden. Use a spade or edging tool to create sharp, well-defined lines. This not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also prevents grass and weeds from encroaching into your garden beds.

Start by marking the desired edge line with a garden hose or string. Cut along the line with a spade, removing any sod or weeds. For a more permanent solution, consider installing edging materials like bricks, stones, or metal strips. Regular maintenance of garden edges keeps your landscape looking tidy and well-maintained.

13. Thin Seedlings

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Thinning seedlings is a necessary step to ensure proper spacing and healthy growth. When seeds are sown thickly, overcrowding can lead to competition for resources and poor air circulation, increasing the risk of disease. Thinning allows each plant to develop fully without competition.

Carefully remove excess seedlings, leaving the strongest and healthiest ones at the recommended spacing. Use small scissors to cut seedlings at soil level rather than pulling them out, which can disturb the roots of remaining plants. Thinning improves air circulation, light penetration, and nutrient availability, resulting in robust and productive plants.

14. Plant Summer Bulbs

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June is an excellent time to plant summer-flowering bulbs like dahlias, gladiolus, and lilies. These bulbs provide vibrant color and interest throughout the summer months. Choose a sunny location with well-drained soil for planting.

Prepare the planting site by loosening the soil and adding organic matter for improved fertility and drainage. Plant bulbs at the recommended depth and spacing, usually two to three times the height of the bulb. Water thoroughly after planting and mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Planting summer bulbs adds a burst of color and variety to your garden.

15. Plan for Succession Planting

Gardening activity.
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As you harvest early crops, plan for succession planting to ensure a continuous harvest throughout the season. Succession planting involves sowing seeds for a new crop as soon as the previous one is harvested. This technique maximizes the use of garden space and extends the growing season.

To stagger your harvest, choose crops with different maturity times, such as carrots, beets, and kale. Prepare the soil by adding compost and removing any debris from previous crops. Plant seeds according to their specific requirements and water well. Succession planting keeps your garden productive and provides a steady supply of fresh produce throughout the summer and into the fall.

Light Up Your Backyard

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Datura (Datura spp.).
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