The Gardener's June Calendar - 2016



New England springs are pretty dramatic. One day it's chilly, windy, and you're layering up clothing in order to go outside. The next day it's 90 degrees and you're sweating while you walk across the garden pulling out weeds.

That's how this June is beginning, with the task of keeping everything watered and happy in the garden. We've had a lot of rain, which has not only made the flowers grow, but also the weeds. I'm attempting to reign in the vagrants with each pass I get at the garden.

Here are some things to keep in mind for the garden this month, sorted into three categories:



  • Vegetables - If you haven't done so yet, get your tomatoes and peppers in the ground now.
  • Pinching perennials - Don't forget to pinch back perennials this month to maximize blossoming potential and to promote bushier growth. Learn how to do it here. Plants that fall into this category for me are bee balm, phlox, Montauk daisies and mums, to name a few. If you stagger the height of the plants in front, the ones in back will bloom first, which will maximize your flowering period. 
  • Pruning shrubs - Right after the lilacs, rhododendrons and azaleas bloom is the best time to prune so you won't be cutting off next year's flower buds. (This has to be done within 4-6 weeks in order to not stunt growth.)
  • Seeds - It's not too late to sow! In growing areas such as mine, it's still OK to start many seeds now because they will grow quickly with the warm soil. I've sowed zinnias as late as July in my garden, but it's nicer to get them in the ground earlier so you can appreciate their blooms longer. But sadly, some seeds you may have missed the boat on. For me, any peppers or tomatillos that haven't been started will have to be stored for next year.
  • Fruit Trees -  Last year I had a heavy fruit load for my pear and plum trees. This year looks a bit different, and I think I lost most of my crop due to the Feb. 14 freeze that killed off the area's peaches as well as some late freezes in April when my trees were about to flower. However, if you are lucky enough to have a crop this summer, make sure the proper supports are in place to support bending branches. 
  • Fertilize - At the beginning of the month, it's time to fertilize fruit trees, roses and vegetables (organically). Also, as I learned in a past lecture from Michael Ruggiero to feed containers with a liquid fertilizer at half strength every two weeks. Again, to do this organically, you can use seaweed fertilizer or the "juice" from worm bins.


  • Attract butterflies - Plant host plants of dill, fennel or carrots to attract black swallowtail butterflies. Leave milkweed or butterfly weed in the garden to attract monarch butterflies.
  • Veggies - Succession sowing is the way to keep vegetables going all summer. Beans, carrots, and herbs such as basil and cilantro are plants that can be sown every two weeks to keep a successive harvest. 
  • Bulbs - Keep deadheading spent blooms and leave the foliage until the leaves wither away. My neighbor grows hostas over her daffodils in her shady driveway, which do a surprisingly good job of hiding the fading leaves. Daylilies serve the same purpose in a sunny location.
  • Lavender - Need help growing this pretty flower? Check out my past interview with the lavender guru Denise Salafia where she offers tips on how to grow this successfully in your garden.


  • Edible flowers - If you have time to spice up your teas or salads, this past interview with Kassandra Moss from Natureworks explains which flowers are safe to use.

What are you up to in your garden this month?

I live in Central Connecticut and garden in Zone 6b.

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