Temperatures are warming up for the southern area of the country by June. Many of us have experienced unusual, but not unheard of, frosts and freezes late this year. These have sent us scrambling to bring potted containers inside and cover outdoor plantings. We’re happy that is over for the year so we can get on with the chores in our gardens.
Southeast Regional To-Do List
While this likely didn’t hold us back too much, some of us may have put off planting some of our warm season crops. If so, June is a perfect time for planting seeds and young plants for the upcoming harvest. Plant cucumbers, okra, melons, and any other vegetables and fruits that thrive in summer.
Speaking of summer, we understand that those 90 and 100 degree F. (32-38 C.) afternoons are right around the corner. Interplant summer growing crops with taller specimens to provide some shade in the upcoming months. Corn is a great summer crop for shading the squash, pumpkins, and melons just when they need it. Companion plant with beans to improve the flavor.
Sunflowers, Nicotiana (flowering tobacco), and cleome (spider flower) are tall enough to provide some of that shade as well. Other heat-loving annuals like celosia, portulaca, and nasturtiums interspersed throughout the vegetable bed have ornamental and pest control uses. Try out some of the newly introduced coleus that grows in sun and heat.
Our June gardening tasks may include planting palm trees if you want to add them to your landscape. Most tree and shrub planting is best left to early spring or autumn, but palm trees are an exception.
Tomato planting continues in southern gardens in June. Soil is warm enough that seeds will sprout readily outside. For those already planted, check for blossom end rot. This is not a disease but a disorder and may come from a calcium imbalance. Some gardeners treat this with crushed eggshells while others recommend pelletized lime. Water tomatoes consistently and at the roots. Remove damaged fruit, as it is still taking water and nutrients.
Other June Tasks for Gardening in the Southeast
- Check for Japanese beetles on perennials. These can quickly defoliate hosts and move on to other plants.
- Deadhead roses and other perennials to encourage more blooms.
- Inspect fruit trees for fire blight, especially on trees that have previously had such issues.
- Thin out peaches and apples, if needed.
- Treat trees for bagworms. Heavy infestations can damage and even kill trees.
- Prune dead bottom branches on creeping junipers to increase air circulation and the health of the greenery. Feed and mulch to reduce stress in summer.
- Damaging pests become visible on the lawn this month. Treat for chinch bugs, mole crickets, and white grubs if you spot them.
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Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.