Monthly Garden Calendar for Midwest United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Paul Rodman

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JUNE

"A gardener who knows his flowers and is ignorant of weeds now seems to me to be like a coin, a tail without a head."—Sara Stein, American writer, gardener

Falling Fruit. Don't be concerned about June drop of tree fruits. It's a natural thinning process. Prop up heavy braches to prevent breaking. Fruits should be spaced six to eight inches apart on a branch.

Tomato Talk. For staked tomatoes, remove suckers (Branches that form where the leaf joins the stem) when they are 1-1.5 inches long.

A Halt to Harvesting. Stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb toward the end of the month. This allows the plant plenty of time to store food for next year.

Blanching Time. Blanch (block light) from cauliflower when heads are two inches in diameter. Tie leaves over developing heads.

Thin Your Phlox. Trim back garden phlox stems to improve air circulation. Thin out all but the five strongest stems per plant. This will help prevent mildew.

Insect Control. Use floating row covers as a barrier for insects. They are effective as a control on such crops as spinach, beets, carrots and the cabbage family. They prevent adult insects from laying eggs on your veggies.

Pull Your Greens. Pull cool season crops such as lettuce, radishes, and spinach as they bolt. Prepare the beds for fall plantings. If the bed will not be used for a while plant a cover crop such as buckwheat or crown vetch.

Vinegar & Weeds. USDA Research has shown that vinegar provided 80-100% kill of certain annual weeds. Included are foxtail, pigweed, and Canada thistle. Use full strength and spray directly on young weeds as they emerge. It's an organic solution to an old problem.

Liberate Your Houseplants. Move your houseplants outside for the summer. Water as needed and be alert for insect problems.

Safe Strawberries. Keep birds from your ripening strawberries by covering with netting.

Mix Up a Batch of Compost Tea. Your plants will thank you by showing a growth spurt. Place a couple of shovels of compost into a burlap bag. Tie the bag and place into a 30-gallon trashcan full of water. Cover and let set for a couple of weeks before using.

Don't Forget to Deadhead. Deadhead annuals as blooms fade to ensure a constant show of color and promote season long blooming.

Encourage Your Pine Trees. June is the proper time to pinch candles (new growth) from pine trees. This promotes fullness.

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