June in my growing area is considered warm within the “Arc of Seasons” method of looking at the year. Arc of Seasons is something I learned in my Garden Coach and Kitchen Garden training courses through Gardenary, taught by Nicole Burke. In the Arc of Seasons temperature ranges are broken up into four distinct seasons: Cold (Average high is below 32°F), Cool (Temperatures between 35 & 65°F), Warm (Temperatures between 65 & 80°F), and the Hot Season (Temperatures above 85°F). If you know what temperatures certain plant families generally thrive in, you can match what you are growing to the seasons temperatures. This opens up a lot room to grow in the garden. With June being a warm season and a month past our last frost date there are many tasks to do in the garden and I wanted to share some key ones with you today. (If you want to learn more about the Arc of Seasons, look the the book Kitchen Garden Revival by Nicole Burke.)
Now is the time to sow warm weather loving seeds. It may be too late for things like peppers, but count back the days to maturity and how many days you have until your first frost date. You may notice you have a lot more time than you thought to start seeds. If you have a shorter growing season, you may want to think about what you can start inside for an autumn harvest.
If you haven’t already you can sow:
- Dill (various herbs if you haven’t started them already)
- Lettuces & Greens (heat tolerant varieties)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Winter Squash
- And more!
Now is the time if you haven’t already to plant seedlings that are hardened off. Remember to start adapting them to the garden gently by first setting them outside in shade in the evening for 30 minutes. Increase the time and direct sun over the course of a week. When you transplant seedlings, aim for a could/overcast day. Also wait until the evening so the seedling has a chance to recover from transplanting over night instead of in the heat of the day. They will be much happier if you do this. I see less transplant shock when I do this.
Sow more seeds if you are using a succession planting plan, which I suggest you do. You will have more harvests at varied times versus everything ready for harvest all at one point. Having everything ready to harvest all at once can be quite overwhelming and even has been known to drive away new gardeners. With succession planting harvests are spaced out, but also continuous depending on the timing you are following. (I like waiting 2-3 weeks between.)
Side dress with compost any larger/longer growing plants that have been in the garden for a while. (Cabbages, etc.)
Adjust watering needs as the temperatures rise or fluctuate. You may find that the beginning of June as well as the end of May can bring all sorts of temperature fluctuations. It’s important to adjust your watering based on what you have growing, the soil moisture and the outdoor temperatures. By the end of June we approach the hot season here and that means we may need to water things like containers twice a day because they can quickly dry out. It is equally important not to over water. Most plants don’t like soggy roots, which can rot and kill the plant. As you move through the season with your garden your sense for watering will develop. Soon you will know exactly when to water and for how long.
Continue to take daily walks in the garden and pay attention to everything happening. Take pictures, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your squash grow from one week to the next. It may not seem like it, but if you have pictures to look back on you can see the growth over time. This is a big mistake I made in my early years of gardening. I never took pictures and I should have. Documenting what makes sense for you in a garden journal can help too.
Look for pests and disease, as they may start showing up a lot more now that the temperatures are warmer. Utilize row covers/netting when needed. The best defense is a good offense. If you spot issues when they first start, it will be so much easier to handle versus catching something when it is already out of control.
Most importantly, enjoy your garden as much as possible. You may notice that the time you spend in your garden becomes needed and soothing for you. It can become a place where you think through big questions or even the days activities. It is a place of refuge, peace and either stillness or action, whichever you need in the moment. Gardening is a true joy, even when issues arise. There is always something to learn in the garden too!
I would love to know what garden tasks you like most. Let me know in the comments!