What to plant in June? That is an excellent question, especially if you want to harvest fruits, vegetables, and flowers straight through the fall. Of course, the June garden is about so much more than planting. Read on for my comprehensive list of June garden tasks, and be sure to signup for the FREE download of the 25 Essential Tasks for the June Garden!
A word about hardiness zones and the June garden
I build gardens at my micro-farm nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. We are near the historic town of Harpers Ferry. The USDA hardiness zone for this area is 6a. It’s a lovely climate with four equal seasons, usually predictable frost dates, and a welcome environment for 4-season gardening (vegetable gardening that allows a harvest every month of the year).
If you are new to gardening, the term hardiness zone might be new to you as well. It is a map created by the USDA to help growers know which plants will develop successfully in their area. The map is based on average winter minimum temperatures, and most growers use it to determine their last frost date in the spring, and the first frost date in the fall. Click here to identify the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone for your garden.
June is a month that brings gardeners to their knees in most if not all of the lower 48 United States. While my planting schedule may be ahead of you northerners, I may very well be behind my southern neighbors. The garden tasks offered here will be perfect for anyone in zones 5-7. Others can use it as a rough guide to understand what needs to be done in a kitchen garden at the height of the growing season to ensure a robust harvest most of the year.
Here’s a quick overview of plant hardiness zones. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.
Vegetables in the June garden by plant type | What to Plant in June
One of my favorite geeky things about the seasonal life is the fact that plants have families. Knowing the family of plants your garden vegetables belong to can help you manage planting and harvest schedules. It is good knowledge for planning crop rotations for soil maintenance and pest management, too.
Below is a list of the plant families I use to plan my kitchen garden. If you get all nerdy like me about this plant organization method, please see the ‘For Further Reading’ section at the end of this blog post to learn more.
This post has affiliate links to products I use and recommend for creating a seasonal life. I hope you find them useful.
The Amaryllis family in the June garden
Kitchen garden vegetables in the Amaryllis family are listed below with the tasks for June.
June is the time of the first onion harvests for both bunching onions and shallots. First, they will bloom. Cut off the blossom and wait until the greens die back to harvest. Cure onions by placing them on a table, out of direct sunlight, with good airflow for about 2 weeks. During this time, the greens will completely die back and the skins will dry to paper. Store in a cool dark place until needed. Do not refrigerate.
Leeks planted in early spring will be in need of a good weeding in June. You only need to harvest leeks as you require them for meals. Harvest in a way that helps you thin your leeks as the weeks progress.
Garlic, planted after the first frost of the fall, is ready for harvest in early July. In June, weed your garlic and watch for them to scape. Garlic scapes are the beginning of blossoms on the garlic plant. Cut the curly scapes off where they emerge from the green leaf of the garlic plant. Use the scapes in meals in place of garlic. They are great as a pizza topping! I also ferment a jar of scapes to be used as a cocktail garnish in the fall. See my Food Preservation Bootcamp to learn how!
Garlic chives are most likely blooming in your June herb garden. Harvest blossoms and break them apart over salads for a nice, subtle onion flavor. You can also soak them in apple cider vinegar to bring that green garlic flavor to future salads.
Brassicas, also known as mustards are mostly finished in my garden by June. I may have a good bit of kale to enjoy for weeks, but the broccoli, cauliflower, pak choi, and mustards have all been harvested long ago. Collards, often maligned for no good reason, are a heat tolerant brassica that can flourish in the June garden. They should have been planted in early April.
The Carrot family
Carrots are not the easiest crop for the kitchen garden. They have a long germination period that requires consistent watering. That long germination period also allows weeds to spring up in the carrot bed and become a real nuisance real fast. Sow carrots in June for an August harvest. My best trick for good germination is to cut my row, line with vermiculite, and then sow my seeds in the vermiculite before lightly covering. I also do my darndest to water them every morning for those first two weeks. Once germinated, the biggest problem you’ll have in the carrot bed besides Peter Rabbit, are those aforementioned weeds. Be sure to stay on top of them!
Cucurbits, the gourd family
I won’t lie. This family does not flourish in my kitchen garden. I have all the diseases lurking for these tasty veggies from bacterial wilt to squash bugs.
This family includes cucumbers, melons, and both winter and summer squashes. Because my garden is so needy when it comes to cucurbits, I’m sending you to Gardening Knowhow for tips. But, please come back for info on the rest of the veggie family tips.
The Goosefoot family of vegetables
In my mind, this is the ‘I love them’ or ‘I hate them’ family of vegetables. The Goosefoot family includes beets, Swiss chard, spinach, quinoa and amaranth.
Spinach is a cold hardy vegetable. If it is still growing in the June garden, most places will see it bolt (begin to flower and turn to seed).
Quinoa and amaranth are similar to grains in that they produce a prolific amount of edible, high protein seeds. Many edible landscapers use these plants as a kind of shrub that attracts birds to the garden. I have not grown quinoa, but love tall stalks of red amaranth scattered around my property. There’s plenty of time to direct seed amaranth in the June garden. That’s what I’ll be doing.
Beets and Swiss chard can be sown anytime in June. I usually plant my first succession of beets and chard in April, so I’m harvesting both veggies by Memorial day. Many people have a strong reaction to beets and chard, their strong, earthy flavor does not leave room for neutrality. You’ll either love these nutrient dense and flavorful veggies or hate them.
I have beet tip for you. Sow them sparsely as each seed is actually a cluster of 2-5 seeds that will take about a week to germinate. You’ll get a better harvest with less thinning required as the beets come to maturity.
The Grass family
The only member of the grass family that sometimes makes it into my kitchen garden is corn. In my opinion, it is very important to source your corn seed from a reliable non-GMO and organic source. Proper care for the full environment of your kitchen garden requires clean, organic growing methods. Stay away from GMO seed and coated seeds.
Here’s what you want to consider when deciding whether to grow corn in your kitchen garden: it requires a tremendous amount of nutrients and water and delivers a modest harvest. One 6 foot stalk of corn that takes 90-120 days to harvest will give you 2-3 ears of corn. In my opinion, it is often better to buy organic corn from at the local farmers market and reserve that garden space for veggies that don’t deplete the garden soil.
Knotweeds – rhubarb, my favorite!
I love rhubarb! It’s the first plant to peek through the soil in my garden each spring. It’s red shinny nubs grow into large and luscious leaves that seem tropical. I love the flavor of rhubarb and use it in pies, shrubs, cocktails, and stir fries.
Rhubarb is an awesome perennial for the kitchen garden. Once established its needs very little maintenance and delivers, year after year. I often get 2 harvests of rhubarb. The first in May and June, and the second in September.
The only thing to do with rhubarb in June is to harvest and enjoy! Keep it weeded for continued health and high production. Give it a nice dose of fish emulsion fertilizer after the final spring harvest.
Nightshades: summer’s glory in the vegetable garden
Nightshades are a part of a very large plant family called Solanacea. Most of the plants in the family are poisonous, and some people have sensitivities to vegetables in the nightshade family that can cause joint pain and digestive problems. To learn more about kitchen garden vegetables in the nightshade family, see the list below. To learn more about nightshades and food sensitivities, see the ‘Continued Reading’ section at the end of this blog post.
Eggplant can still be planted in June. It is a heat-loving plant that thrives when watered well. The most important thing to do for eggplant in June is to watch out for a pest called the flea beetle. See the Garden Pest section for tips on how to manage flea beetle in an organic kitchen garden.
Peppers – Sweet and Hot
All pepper varieties from sweet to hot are in the nightshade family. These plants also love heat and water. Luckily, peppers are fairly disease and pest resistant. Planted after the last frost, and up until the end of June, peppers should be weeded regularly.
Tomatillos are not little tomatoes, they are their own variety of fruit/vegetable. They grow on a tomato-like plant in the nightshade family that produces fruits wrapped in a husk. Tomatillos grow very bushy and should be given plenty of room and trellising for the best harvests. They require heat and should be planted well after the last frost of the season. June is the perfect time to trellis tomatillos and make sure your plant has all the room it needs to flourish. They are prolific and one plant is plenty for one household.
The Pea family: all the beans!
The pea family of vegetables includes peas, obviously, and all the beans! Plant beans in June. I plant peas and beans in beds that grew tomatoes in the previous season. This is because tomatoes have a high demand for nitrogen and the pea family are nitrogen fixers. They restore nitrogen to the soil.
Weed, water, then weed and water again! If you planted beans in May, it will be time to trellis many of your plants. I often prefer bush beans so that I don’t have to worry about trellising.
Expand your harvests by including shelling beans in your crop rotation. I recommend cowpeas, also called black-eyed peas. They are prolific and easy to store for winter meals. You simply shell them and place them on a baking sheet. Leave to air dry for a week or two, then place in mason jars and store until you are ready to use.
The Sunflower family
This diverse family of vegetables is often prolific in the June garden. Lettuce, artichokes/cardoons, endive, Jerusalem artichokes, salsify can all be planted in June.
Artichokes are a biannual and you will need to develop an overwintering strategy for a patch of artichokes. I did this one year and we had a decent harvest of 2-3 chokes per plant. The bed was beautiful and a bit exotic.
Lettuces and endive will thrive in the June garden. You can both harvest plants that were started in April and May, as well as seed new successions in June.
Jerusalem artichokes are an invasive plant that will take over the entire bed where it is planted, so choose wisely and for the long term. This plant is a hardy perennial and is harvested in Late summer and fall. You can plant Jerusalem artichokes in June if you can source the plant. Check with neighbors to source your chokes!
June Flowers | What to Plant in June
Vegetables love flowers, right? Brighted the kitchen garden in June by adding some flowers to your beds!
Edible Flowers for the June Garden
Direct seed nasturtium, hyssop, borage, and calendula in border areas of your garden. These edibles also attract pollinators to the garden, increasing your yield per plant.
Placing a tea rose near the kitchen garden also offers an edible flower that increases pollinators. Obviously a perennial, roses need a bit more care than other edibles in the kitchen garden.
I also recommend building a bed of daylilies in the kitchen garden. These edible flowers are prolific and can bring bright colors to June salads. Be sure you are planting daylilies if you plan on eating them, as other varieties of lilies are poisonous. Ask your plant supplier for help making selections.
Flowers for pest control
Also consider planting lavender and marigolds in the June garden to help minimize pests. As a matter of fact add these plants to your list of natural pest control solutions:
All of these plants and flowers can be direct seeded in June.
The fruits of June
Strawberries. Let’s all celebrate the strawberry harvest in June. You should harvest twice a day at the height of the strawberry season to keep birds and slugs from getting more than their fair share. If you have a heavy harvest, simply hull the strawberries and throw them into a ziplock freezer bag, freeze until ready to make those margaritas!
Fruit trees should be well on their way to producing summer fruits in the June orchard. Check trees for tent caterpillars and remove. We burn them.
Check raspberries and blackberries for excessive weeds. Some varieties of each will be ready to harvest in June, others won’t be ripe until July. You can plant berry canes in June to begin a berry patch that will be around for years to come.
The warmer soil in the June garden triggers the lifecycle of many troublesome pests. You may find yourself battling flea beetles, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, borer beetles, and a few other buggers that can spoil your beautiful garden.
Before you spray, even organic pest control solutions, try these two methods of pest control in the June garden:
- Hand pick the pests every day. I carry a cup of soapy water into the garden each morning in June and throughout the summer and collect pests. I handpick beetles and other bugs from the leaves of my veggies and toss them into the soapy water. When I’m sure they are all dead, I toss the water out in a place far from my garden.
- You can remove squash bug eggs from the bottom of plant leaves with duct tape. Whatever you do, do not let these eggs hatch in your garden. Once established, they’ll never go away.
- Cover vulnerable plants with agribon. This woven garden fabric allows in sunlight and water while protecting plants from pests, like the flea bettle. I swear by it!
Simply stated, stay on top of weeds in the June garden. If left untended, weeds will seed in your garden beds, compounding the problem. Immediately water a garden bed after weeding. Your plants will quickly soak up all they are given as they recover from the weed induced drought they’ve been surviving in.
Activist tip: A place for wild things
Every yard needs a wild space. One of my favorite wild spaces is a pawpaw patch I’ve been cultivating for about 5 years. Pawpaws are a native fruit to West Virginia that requires shade from a taller tree canopy. The hardest part about this wild area in my yard is keeping a handle on invasive and non-native plants like Autumn Olives and Multiflora Roses. June is a good time to identify a space for wilderness, and begin planning and cultivating native species in non-mowed areas.
Wild spaces in yards help the environment by not welcoming native species – birds, bugs, and plants – to thrive. My Pawpaw patch hosts the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly whose caterpillars need the leaves of the pawpaw as its food source.
They are a great way to sequester carbon and help combat global warming. Your small wild patch may not seem like much of a remedy for such a large problem. When combined, small wild spaces in every yard can combine to be a mighty force for good.
Download my monthly garden chicklists ebook
Wow! That was a LOT of information. To help you get organized and know what to plant in June, I distilled this mammoth post on June garden tasks into a downloadable tracking sheet.
Use the form below to download the FREE list instantly and get on top of your June garden tasks.
Be prepared for June in your seasonal kitchen
I’ve prepared the June seasonal kitchen post and it is all about everyone’s favorite vegetable, kale! Click here to learn what’s in a bunch of kale. It details everything from the actual weight of a bunch of kale to all the nutritional components of this wonder-vegetable.
Garden Tasks by Month
Click the hot links below to get the garden task lists by month!
Use these links to learn more about plant families, hardiness zones, and pest management.
The Kitchen Garden Planner and Journal
Organize your kitchen garden, season by season, month by month, and project by project with this handy Kitchen Garden Planner and Journal! It comes with lifetime access to printable worksheets and journal pages, and membership in the Stony Ridge Farm seasonal living community.
This planner comes with instructions on how to tackle the following tasks and use our worksheets to:
– Design your vegetable and flower gardens
– Track plant selections and how successful they are in your garden
– Document soil amendments and pest control strategies
– Garden budgeting, tracking projections and actual expenses
– Seasonal and monthly planner calendars
– Garden journal pages