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A Gardening Checklist for June

For a lush garden, keep on sowing.

June is a busy month on the seed farm as we shift gears from all the direct sowing and transplanting of May to irrigation, staying on top of weeds, and pest preventions strategies like using row cover. We'll also be trellising tomatoes and cucumbers this month and harvesting some of our early sown crops. And, as early sown crops come up, new crops go in! By planting at every opportunity on the farm, we enjoy plenty of harvests and get to experiment with new varieties. The same principle holds with home gardening: intercropping and succession sowing is what keeps the prettiest gardens looking so green and lush! 

The best crops to succession sow are those that mature at a faster rate. Varieties that need a long season to mature–like tomatoes and peppers–are generally off the table. The good news is, there's LOTS we can sow from now until mid-summer. And you won't need a tractor and farm crew to get it done; all you'll need is a package of seeds and a spot to sow them! Keep reading for a list of ten seeds that you can sow in June.

Some highlights from the farm: 

Farm Manager Steven ready to set spacing and make furrows with our Oggun tractor.

The plants rest on the back deck for speedy transplanting. 

farm crew planting green shiso

Julia, Kenny, Rebecca, Claire, and Ted hard at work placing Green Shiso–new for this year!

Ten Crops to Sow in June

Harvesting leaves bare spots in the garden. With every week, more and more gaps will appear in your beds. For a productive and beautiful garden all season, continue to sow! Browse this list for some options:

Bush Beans. Now through midsummer. Sow short clusters of bush beans in spots vacated by greens such as lettuce or spinach. Each cluster of 4-5 plants will yield several portions of beans for late summer meals. Recommended varieties: Tri-Color Bean Blend, Red Swan Bush Bean, Provider Bush Bean

Basil. Now through late summer. You really can never have too much fresh basil. Basil germinates quickly and easily when direct sown. It can be tucked into any open space after nearly any crop, and just a few plants here or there in your garden beds will delight you in late summer, when your main basil crop has faded or gone to seed. You can harvest even tiny leaves from tiny plants, so keep sowing until late summer for delightful baby basil shoots. Recommended varieties: Basil Bouquet, Genovese Basil, Thai Basil.

Cucumbers. Now through midsummer. Cucumber plants fizzle out in the heat, so unless you sow again, your cucumber crop will be limited to mid-summer only. Luckily, it takes only a few vines, occupying only a few square feet of bed space, to produce a nice moderately-sized crop later in the summer. A good crop to follow lettuce or radishes. Recommended varieties: Homemade Pickles, Silver Slicer, Lemon Cucumber.

Summer Squash. Now through mid summer. As for cukes, same for zukes! To have fresh zucchini on the grill all summer, you'll need to sow again, and it takes only about 6-8 feet of bed space to grow another round of 3-4 plants. Recommended varieties: Cocozelle Zucchini, Black Beauty Zucchini, Benning's Patty Pan Squash.

Amaranth. Now through mid summer. Amaranth produces edible, spinach-like greens and protein-packed seeds. It makes a wonderful crop for filling holes in your beds, as it can be harvested for greens when still young and seeds when fully mature. Recommended varieties: New Mexico Amaranth, Golden Giant Amaranth.

Corn. Now through midsummer. Corn is so much fun to grow! Provide corn with fertile soil and water during dry spells. Recommended varieties: Top Hat Sweet Corn, Glass Gem Corn, Double Red Sweet Corn.

Lettuce. Now through late summer. The ultimate space filler! Lettuce can be harvested at nearly any stage, and when tucked into free spots shaded by growing tomato or pepper or squash plants, the young leaves will be sweet and fresh even during summer heat. Follow radishes or turnips. Recommended varieties: Joker, Italienischer, Little Gem.

Cilantro. Now through late summer. We once sowed a cilantro crop just after transplanting our tomatoes, right alongside them—just as the first tomatoes were ripening we had loads of cilantro for salsa. But you can tuck cilantro in anywhere, as it is a versatile, easy-to-grow crop that must be sown in bi-weekly successions in order to have it available for steady harvest (its natural harvest period is only about two weeks before it bolts). Tuck in at the base of any vining plant. Recommended variety: Caribe Cilantro.

Dill. Now through late summer. Similar to cilantro in that it can be tucked anywhere—just harvest young before it sends up its towering flower. Another one we've sown down the bed along our tomato transplants with good success. Recommended variety: Bouquet Dill.

Calendula. Now through midsummer. A compact and beautiful and fresh-smelling flower, calendula blooms beyond frost. If you like looking out at your garden and seeing an effusive blend of cheery blooms among your greenery, be sure to tuck calendula here and there among your crops. Recommended varieties: Calendula.

More ideas for this month:

  • Get into your beds to do some hand weeding each week. This practice will help you spot plant diseases and garden pests before they do too much damage.
  • Keep on top of watering. Plants need at least an inch of water per week this time of year. For summer watering tips, go here.
  • Add supports for tomatoes and cucumbers. Remove tomato suckers and keep plants evenly moist.
  • Add compost to side dress plants. Compost will keep roots cooler and improve soil structure.
  • As the month progresses, keep an eye out for Japanese beetles and hand pick.
  • Deadhead and fertilize spring bulbs. Wait until leaves have yellowed before trimming or dividing.
  • Continue to mulch around trees and shrubs.
  • Stake dahlias if you haven't already.
  • Come visit us at the Philadelphia Flower Show! We'll be there from June 10th-19th. Get tickets here.