Gardener’s To-Do List: June Edition

A zone-by-zone checklist for the beginning of summer.

Organic Gardening June 1, 2014
Marigold close up
PHOTOGRAPH BY RONOSTER/GETTY

If you don’t know what USDA Plant Hardiness Zone you live in, check the map here to find out. We've left off Zones 1–2 (far-north Alaska) and Zones 11–13 (small section of the Florida Keys, the Pacific coast between L.A. and Mexico, and Hawaii) since Zones 3–10 cover 99 percent or more of the gardeners in the U.S.

Zone 3

  • Harden off, and then set out transplants of melons, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, and squash.
  • For a continuous crop of lettuce, radishes, and spinach, sow more seeds midmonth.
  • Fertilize and water any potted vegetables regularly.
  • Enjoy asparagus right in the garden—even uncooked, it’s delicious.
  • Plant tender fuchsias, begonias, dahlias, and asters.
     

PHOTOGRAPH BY ISHIKAWA KEN/FLICKR

 
 

Zone 4

  • Early in the month, finish setting out transplants of vegetables and flowers.
  • Plant seeds of warm-weather crops, such as melons and squash.
  • Sow more lettuce so you can keep harvesting leaves, even after the first crop goes to seed.
  • Near month's end, plant cilantro to put in the salsa you'll make later.
  • Stake or cage tomatoes and other veggies and flowers that tend to sprawl.
  • Plant asters and pansies for fall bloom.
  • Spray Bacillis thuringiensis (BT) on brassicas as soon as you spot cabbage moths.
  • Mulch beds as soon as the soil warms up.
     

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTA NEU

 

Zone 5

  • Stake dahlias and gladiolas when you plant them to keep from damaging their roots later in the season.
  • Pinch back foliage ends of mums, a 12 inch every 2 weeks.
  • Fertilize roses now: To supply potassium, whiz banana peels in a blender, then plop the stuff beneath the mulch around your roses.
  • Harvest daily from asparagus plants in patches at least 3 years old.
  • For autumn harvest, plant bush beans, Brussels sprouts, and late cabbage.
  • Spray tomato plants with compost tea (made by steeping an old pillowcase filled with compost in a bucket of water) to prevent diseases.
     

PHOTOGRAPH BY MR DUNK/FLICKR

 

Zone 6

  • Place supports for lanky perennials.
  • Pinch back chrysanthemums to keep them bushy—a 12 inch from the growing tips, every 2 weeks until the middle of next month.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs after they’ve finished blooming.
  • Cage tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.
  • Replace finished lettuce with okra or a late crop of summer squash.
  • Plant a few more runs of corn, beans, and cucumbers.
  • Plant sweet potato slips early in the month.
  • Inventory seeds for the fall garden.
     

PHOTOGRAPH BY EUNICE/FLICKR

 

Zone 7

  • Plant pole, lima, and bush beans; winter squash; and luffa gourds.
  • Start seeds for fall crops of eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes to set out in July.
  • Cut and dry thyme, oregano, and mint.
  • Replace bolted lettuce with corn, malabar spinach (Basella alba), winged beans (Psophocarpus tertragonolobus), and southern peas.
  • Trap slugs with containers of fresh beer.
  • Mulch to reduce weeds and watering later.
     

PHOTOGRAPH BY SCOTT ZONA/FLICKR

 

Zone 8

  • Plant mums, balsam, cockscomb, wax begonias, salvia, dusty miller, blanket flower (Gaillardia spp.), geraniums, marigolds, verbena, and vinca (Catharanthus roseus).
  • Plant bulbs or tubers of irises, cannas, water lilies, dahlias, and daylilies.
  • Replenish mulches around plants to keep weeds down and conserve moisture.
  • Plant a cover crop in vacant beds.
  • Plant mustard and turnips for harvesting tender baby leaves.
  • Work compost into beds, then plant fall crops of peppers and eggplant.
  • Direct-seed collards and tomatoes for fall harvest.
  • Continue planting cantaloupes, corn, cucumbers, okra, peanuts, southern peas, summer squash, sweet potatoes, and bush beans.
  • Thin fruit trees early in the month; mulch root area with a thin layer of compost, topped with 3 inches of organic mulch.
     

PHOTOGRAPH BY RODALE

 

Zone 9

  • Look for slow-moving bugs in the cool of the morning; hand-pick them, then dust below the plants with Diatomaceous earth (a white powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, one-celled algae that have a skeleton made of silicon). Be sure to use a dust mask so you don't inhale the dust.
  • Last chance to plant sweet potato slips and peanuts this season.
  • Continue planting sweet corn in small blocks, every 2 weeks for continuous harvest through fall.
  • Start more zinnias, marigolds, and sunflowers to replenish tired flowers in late summer.
  • Water plants in the morning so they don't become susceptible to fungus and insect infestation.
  • Plant more heat-tolerant veggies: Replace spinach with Swiss chard and potatoes with taro (Colocasia esculenta).
     

PHOTOGRAPH BY RODALE

 

Zone 10

  • Feed fast-growing bananas and summer-flowering perennials, such as hibiscus and ixora, with compost to prepare them for upcoming bloom.
  • Clean up debris beneath mangoes to prevent anthracnose (fungal) disease; for bad infections, spray with copper solution.
  • Prune cassia trees, royal poinciana, bougainvillea, and jasmine after they bloom.
  • Prune tropical fruits after the harvest this month.
  • Kill pests and disease in vacant beds by covering moist soil with clear plastic for several weeks.
     

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTA NEU

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