Jobs for the yard in June

June is a special month of the year.
No other month of the year starts on the same day of the week as June; and it always finishes on the same day of the week as March.
It contains the shortest day of the year – the Winter Solstice, which this year is June 21 (sometimes it’s June 20). This means that the amount of daylight hours will increase after that, triggering many garden plants to grow, flower or fruit.
The flower of June is the rose – which is perfect as it’s the best month to plant out bare-rooted roses which are abundant in garden centres at the moment.
And World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5. A perfect time for us all to think about how we can make our little patch of the world … our garden … a better place.
Here’s a few ideas on how you can make that happen.
• It’s your last chance to prune hydrangeas back almost to ground level. Use the cuttings to propagate new plants.
• Citrus leaves may develop a yellow colour. This is because the cool soil slows down nutrient uptake through the roots. You can boost them with a foliar spray of a fertiliser with trace elements.
• Pinch out the tips of your sweet pea plants to make them bush up and produce more flowers later.
• Lift dahlia tubers, brush the soil off and store them in sawdust to prevent them from rotting. Split up old clumps of daylilies. Replant them around the garden or give some to a friend or neighbour.
• Mound soil around potatoes already growing, to prevent pest attack and to stop the surface growing potatoes from going green.
• Cut the old stems of asparagus down, top-dress them with well-rotted manure or compost and mulch.
• Early bindi-eye may start to appear and if so, hand removal is easy or spray with an appropriate herbicide.
• Rose planting can be done this month. Plant them in a sunny position in soil enriched by compost and animal manure, and a little bit of rose plant fertiliser will help.
• Now’s the time to plant tomatoes, as there are less pests and diseases around. I like to grow Beefsteak … big hearty tomatoes that slice and cook well.
• This month you can plant rhubarb crowns into soil enriched with animal manure, blood and bone. They also do well in large pots.
• To ensure hearting variety lettuce form hearts and don’t bolt to seed, it’s important to keep them growing well with a regular fortnightly applications of a soluble fertiliser and maintain regular watering.