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LifestyleColumnistsJessica Damiano

June 2019 calendar of gardening tips and chores

The youth of June gardens bursts with ambition.

The youth of June gardens bursts with ambition. Photo Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / macroworld

The name “June” derives from the Latin word “juvenis,” which means “young.” And June is a time when the garden is firmly planted in its youth. More like a young adult than a child, the youth of June gardens bursts with ambition. Summer annuals are planning their takeover, like a band of millennials at a tech startup; tightly-closed rosebuds are giving way to delicately cupped petals; and the vegetable garden is comfortably tucked in its bed, hopefully with a severe case of insomnia. You won’t rest much, either, because these and other plants need careful tending, as do the inevitable weeds, pests and diseases that enjoy the same vigor. Here, then, are 30 tips and chores to keep your garden looking spry all month long.

1. Join the 2019 Tomato Challenge: Send a photo of yourself and details about your tomatoes to jessica.damiano@newsday.com. See newsday.com/tomato for more info.

2. Now that the ground is warming, apply mulch. But keep it 2 to 3 inches deep, and ensure it’s pushed away from stems and trunks to avoid rot.

3. Cut chrysanthemums, Joe Pye weed and Heliopsis back by one-third. They’ll grow fuller and bloom better later.

4. Deadhead lilacs and rhododendrons immediately after they bloom.

5. Remove faded early spring bloomers and replace with summer annuals.

6. Keep ahead of mildew by spraying plants with one tablespoon each of baking soda and ultrafine horticultural oil diluted in a gallon of water.

7. Plant dahlias with 4-foot stakes an inch away from bud-bearing roots.

8. To discourage mosquitoes, clean birdbaths weekly and don't allow standing water to accumulate around the yard in such places as inverted trash can lids, toys, planter saucers, etc.

9. To prevent cutworm damage, remove bottoms from paper cups and use to collar tomato, pepper and eggplant stems.

10. Remove yellow, wilted bearded iris foliage to prevent iris borer infestations.

11. Secure vining plants, and rambling and climbing roses, to their supports as they grow, lest they develop bad habits.

12. Keep up with weeds. Pull them out by their roots (after rainfall is ideal; otherwise wet the soil first to make the job easier).

13. Clematis like having cold feet: Shade their roots by planting low-growing perennials at their bases.

14. Harvest lettuce, spinach, peas and other cool-season crops, and enjoy on a Flag Day picnic.

15. Run a sticky lint roller over clothing after spending time around tall grass and vegetation, where ticks might hitch a ride.

16. Happy No-Mow Day, um, Father’s Day!

17. Unless you’re growing strawberries for the birds, protect them with netting or floating row covers.

18. If you seeded your lawn this spring, continue watering lightly twice daily until grass is 4 inches tall (don’t mow until it’s at least 3 inches tall).

19. Happy Juneteenth! Bake a pie with strawberries from the garden or a local U-pick farm .

20. Fertilize houseplants at half strength with every other watering.

21. It’s summer! As long as their flowers have faded, spring-flowering bulbs and peonies should be fertilized to provide a boost for next year’s blooms.

22. Snake soaker hoses through beds to direct water at roots, where it’s needed. Irrigating this way conserves water, and keeping foliage dry helps reduce disease.

23. To increase tomato production, pinch off suckers that grow in the crotch between the main branch and stems.

24. Monitor outdoor planters for water daily; their soil dries out more quickly than that in the garden.

25. Mound soil around potato plant stems when they reach 6 inches tall.

26. Harvest all but one of your lettuce plants, letting the remaining one bolt. Take its seeds for planting next year.

27. Hunt for Japanese beetles. Pick them off by hand in the morning and drop into a bucket of soapy water.

28. Thin carrot seedlings to an inch apart, and again when their leaves touch, to 3 inches apart, to allow space for underground growth.

29. Inspect trees and shrubs for scale insects. If pesticides are needed, avoid using hose-end sprayers; they don’t dissolve, mix or spread evenly.

30. When your first tomatoes appear, shower foliage with fish emulsion to give plants a nutritional boost.

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