Tips For June Gardening
June is the perfect time to begin your annual summer garden maintenance jobs. In the UK, monthly mean temperatures are typically around 1 degC higher in June than they are in May and this helps to boost plant growth. It is also the perfect time to protect tender plants against frost.
Tomatoes should be thinned to a minimum of 6 inches apart on each branch this month, as well as any perennial or shrubs that are set to fruit. You can also prune off any spent blooms to encourage fuller, more robust plants.
For flowers, daffodils and chrysanthemums can be pruned back to about a third this month, as well as again in late June or early July. It is also a good time to remove the seed heads from early perennials such as pulmonaria and knapweed.
Throughout the UK, insects begin to appear this month and it is important to monitor for June bugs (Phyllophaga longispina). To protect against their damage, deadhead spring bulbs and feed with a liquid fertilizer once the leaves have yellowed.
It is also a good time to thin out any runners on strawberries so that they don’t crowd out the main plant, and pull rhubarb sticks from the ground to discourage more plants from growing. If you have a large number of plants, this is an ideal time to stake them with sturdy wire or wood ties to prevent breakage in windy weather.
In the garden, June is a great month to start planting warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Ideally, they should be planted after the risk of frost has passed but be prepared to protect them if night temperatures drop below 12 degC.
Other crops that can be planted at this time include beans, squash, cucumbers and gourds. These can be trellised to make harvesting easier. It is also a good time to sow seeds for annual flowers, especially those that are not as demanding as daffodils and chrysanthemums, such as marigolds, zinnias and dahlias.
June is a great month to sow seeds for herbs, which can be cultivated in beds and borders, containers or windowsills. They need well-drained, moisture-retentive soil and plenty of organic matter to grow successfully.
They also need a sunny spot and plenty of watering. For plants in hanging baskets or containers, water daily to keep them looking their best. It is also a good idea to water in the morning, as this is more effective at keeping plants well-hydrated and avoids scorching the leaves.
Ticks are active at this time of year so take extra care to check yourself and any family members or pets before working outside. Wear long pants, closed shoes and tall socks to reduce the chance of being bitten.
It is also a good time to put up a bat house or add a bird feeder to attract more wildlife into the garden. This can help to control pests such as slugs and snails, while attracting beneficial insects such as ladybirds.