Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio, television, print
June is typically a busy month for many of us. It's time for final exams, proms, graduations, weddings, summer vacations — and of course, honoring Dad. It's also a busy time in the garden.
This month, we'll start devoting more time to mowing the lawn, tending the vegetable garden and pulling weeds. Enjoy the family rituals this month, but also take time to smell the roses, either in your own garden or at one of Long Island's magnificent public gardens.
June 1: Cut the top third off Chrysanthemum, Eupatorium and Heliopsis to boost blooming and improve their shape.
June 2: To discourage mosquito breeding, clean birdbaths at least weekly and don't allow standing water to accumulate.
June 3: Remove bottoms from paper cups and collar around tomato, pepper and eggplant stems to prevent cutworm damage.
June 4: Snake soaker hoses through perennial and vegetable gardens to provide water directly to roots.
June 5: Fasten rambling and climbing roses to their supports as they grow.
June 6: To fight mildew, spray susceptible plants with one tablespoon each of baking soda and ultrafine horticultural oil diluted in a gallon of water.
June 7: Join the 2014 Tomato Challenge! Email firstname.lastname@example.org about your growing methods, and include a photo of yourself with your plants.
June 8: Fill gaps left by early spring bloomers with summer annuals.
June 9: Remove wilted yellow leaves from bearded iris plants to help prevent iris borer infestations.
June 10: Plant dahlias and set stakes an inch away from bud-bearing roots.
June 11: Stay on top of weeds. It's easiest to pull them after rainfall.
June 12: Monitor moisture in pots daily by plunging a finger deeply into soil. Water when it's dry at root level.
June 13: Fertilize houseplants at half strength with every other watering.
June 14: It's Flag Day. Hang out your stars and stripes, then protect strawberries from birds with netting.
June 15: Happy Father's Day! Give Dad a break and mow the lawn for him.
June 16: Trim another third off Chrysanthemums, Joe Pye weed and Heliopsis (see June 1 chore).
June 17: To increase tomato production, remove suckers, the small stems that grow in the crotch between the main branch and stems.
June 18: Harvest lettuce before it bolts and turns bitter.
June 19: Plant short perennials under clematis to keep their roots shaded and cool.
June 20: Add some water lilies to the koi pond.
June 21: It's summer! Fertilize spring-flowering bulbs and peonies after their flowers fade.
June 22: Keep an eye out for Japanese beetles. Pick them off in the morning or late evening, when they're at their slowest, and drop them in soapy water.
June 23: Pinch back vining houseplants.
June 24: Deadhead annuals as their flowers fade so they'll know to produce more.
June 25: Harvest herbs in the morning, just after the dew has dried, for the best flavor.
June 26: When the first tomatoes appear, shower foliage with fish emulsion for a nutritional boost.
June 27: Remove foliage from spring-flowering bulbs only after it has yellowed or browned.
June 28: Use only low-nitrogen fertilizers on vegetables and annuals.
June 29: If the soil level has dropped, top off containers with straight compost, taking care not to bury stems.
June 30: Deadhead hybrid tea and grandiflora roses; prune one-time bloomers immediately after flowers fade.