Laidback Gardening: What to Do in June?

If the length of this list is anything to go by, June is not the month for Laidback gardeners! However, by taking the right action at the right time, you can avoid many problems. You can also cut down on work with a few laidback tricks. And then, there are several items on this list that can be ignored if you lack time or ambition. Personally, I’ll make it my duty to tick as few boxes as possible on this list.

Remember the 15-step rule? “Before treating, step back 15 steps: if the problem isn’t obvious from that distance, it’s probably not a problem worth treating!” If you’re feeling overwhelmed, focus on the essentials – the rest probably isn’t that important!

This list was designed with Canadian gardeners in mind, and even then, there may be some differences with those in warmer climates or way up north.

Vegetable Garden and Seedlings

  • Wait before sowing or planting cold-sensitive plants such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, begonias, impatiens, etc., as long as night-time temperatures don’t regularly exceed 13°C (55°F). If you have already planted cold-sensitive plants, remember to cover them at night if temperatures below 13°C (55°F) are forecast.
  • When the seeded vegetables start to touch, it’s time to thin them out.
  • Use mulch around vegetables to control weeds and maintain stable humidity.
  • The first flowers of cucurbits (squash, cucumbers and melons) are exclusively male. Wait a little before you see the female flowers appear, the ones that will produce fruit.
  • Tie tomato stems to their stakes as they grow. For tomatoes grown in cages, simply insert any protruding stems back into the cage.
  • Plant successive seedlings of fast-growing vegetables and herbs (radishes, lettuce, spinach, coriander, etc.) in the spaces freed up after harvesting.
  • Remember that plants in congtainers need more fertilizer than those in the ground. I prefer slow-dissolving fertilizers to water-soluble ones. One or two applications during the summer are sufficient.


  • Take dusty houseplants outdoors and give them a good wash before bringing them back in.
  • Your houseplants will benefit greatly from a summer outdoors. However, they need to be acclimatized to outdoor conditions. Wait until night-time temperatures stay above 15°C (59°F). Then place your plants 3 or 4 days in the shade and 3 or 4 days in semi-shade before exposing them to the sun.
  • Now that the sun is more intense, it may be necessary to draw a light veil between a very sunny window and the houseplants placed on the windowsill.


  • Add fresh ingredients and a little soil from your garden to reactivate your compost.
  • Turn the compost regularly to speed up production.


  • If you’ve taken the advice not to mow the lawn in May to preserve the flowers for the bees (in May, let it grow!), start mowing when the bloom is over! In Canada, flowering may start and end later than in other places.


  • In the vegetable garden, check the condition of the soil and water well when it starts to dry out. The hotter the weather, the more frequently you need to water. Soil in window boxes dries out even more quickly, requiring extra attention. I love my drip irrigation system.
  • For new plantings of perennials, shrubs or trees, it’s important to water regularly for the first year, sometimes more for larger trees. Why not install an automatic watering system with a soaker hose?
  • To prevent foliar diseases, try to water your plants without wetting their foliage. Soaker hoses water at ground level!
  • When watering, moisten the entire root zone of the plant. A slow watering once a week is much more beneficial than a quick, superficial watering, even if repeated daily.
  • If municipal watering restrictions allow, water early in the morning: this method is more efficient and uses less water than watering at the end of the day.


  • Weeds grow rapidly in June: weed whenever you see them and apply mulch to discourage their return.
  • If you regularly cut weeds at ground level, they will wear down and eventually disappear (except for extremely invasive plants). This causes less damage to the soil than weeding.
  • One or two sprays with a vinegar cleaning solution (more concentrated than white kitchen vinegar) can eliminate weeds growing between the paving stones.
  • Keep an eye out for insect pests (cutworms, aphids, slugs, cabbage worms, etc.) and react promptly. Often, they can be dropped into a bowl of soapy water. Alternatively, spray the plant with an insecticidal soap solution. Or better still, prevent infestations with insect netting.
  • To prevent leaf diseases, spray the leaves of vegetables prone to powdery mildew (squash, cucumbers, beans, eggplant, peas, turnips, etc.) with a solution of 1 liter of water, 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. insecticidal soap.
  • Pour prévenir les maladies, essayez d’arroser sans mouiller le feuillage de vos légumes.
  • To reduce apple maggot attacks, set a red ball-shaped sticky trap in the tree as soon as the first green fruits are visible.

Ornamental Plants

  • If a spring-flowering shrub (lilac, seringat, etc.) needs pruning, the best time to do it is within two weeks of the end of flowering. It’s not compulsory, just a good time to do it if necessary.
  • Prune hedges in June to keep them in good shape for the summer. For coniferous hedges, the best time to start is mid-June.
  • Remove suckers that appear at the base of shrubs and trees (lilac, locust, vinegar, etc.), if you don’t want them to spread. You can also remove suckering plants and replace them with low-maintenance shrubs.
  • When the leaves of bulbs (tulips, narcissi, hyacinths, etc.) turn yellow, you can remove them.
  • To avoid bringing in ants at the same time as the cut peonies, harvest the flowers in the early evening when the ants are absent.
  • Install stakes for large perennials that are likely to lean, or replace them with perennials that have a backbone!
  • Remove wilted flowers from perennials or leave them where they are. Many will produce seeds that will feed birds.

1 comment on “Laidback Gardening: What to Do in June?

  1. mullajos93

    Excellent article. Covered several questions that I had. “Laidback” is good but digging in the soil, is better. Thanks.

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