Virginia Cooperative Extension

Between the Rows - A Guide to Vegetable Gardening
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June in the Vegetable Garden 

Staying Healthy
Welcome veggie gardeners! VCE supports local gardeners with a host of resources, including free classes, plant clinics and this newsletter. Want to know more? Subscribe here to receive future issues. Missed out on past issues? You can get them all here.
Garden Guide
June To Do List
  • Continue to harvest for best taste and ripeness, and to encourage new growth
  • As temperatures rise and Spring rains become less frequent, you may need to water your vegetable garden more frequently and replace mulch to help retain soil moisture
  • Weed your garden regularly and inspect plants for disease or insect damage
  • Use a light row cover for pest protection
  • Place straw under developing fruit of melon, pumpkin, and squash
  • Harvest strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries daily
  • Direct sow summer crops for continuous harvest: beans, okra, squash, cucumber, pumpkin, melon, sunflower, most herbs, and some other crop varieties (follow instructions on seed packet)
  • Stake tall plants to prevent damage
  • Plant more basil (as much as every 2-3 weeks); plant other heat-loving herbs such as rosemary
  • Continually deadhead plants and herbs to discourage bolting and promote new growth
  • Prune tomato plants and other crops to remove debris and open up plant to more sun
  • Harvest garlic late June to early July when tops are half green to half brown
  • Start indoors for Fall planting: Brussels sprouts
  • Continue to monitor sweet potato slips until sprouts grow 5-6 inches and them pluck them, and plant slips in garden in mid to late June
Plant, Pest or Other Garden Questions?

Contact the VCE Horticulture Help Desk 

Knowledgeable Virginia Cooperative Extension volunteers are available to answer questions Monday-Friday from 9am to noon.
Plant sweet potato slips in mid to late June in wide rows, with 8 inches between each slip, with soil mounded up to a depth of 4 inches. Weed and water regularly. More growing information is available here

As you continue to harvest your Spring vegetable crop and these crops become spent, pull out the whole plant (debris and roots) to give more room for your Summer vegetables to grow.  If you find you have some extra garden space, consider succession planting, or planting another row of beans, peppers, or tomatoes. This will provide you a second or third harvest of produce later in the summer. Read more about succession planting and other intensive gardening methods here and here. See also last month's post on inter-cropping techniques. Check area planting guides for recommendations on when to plant and harvest certain plants during warmer Summer months.

Keep an eye out for emerging insects and rodent pests. Certain plants are especially vulnerable to insect pests, such as squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplant. Next month we’ll discuss insects in more depth, but some useful VCE guides for addressing pests common to Virginia are here and here

Gardeners need also be on the lookout for color changes and/or damage on leaves and stems that could be indicators of plant disease and other environmental conditions. Signs of fungal disease on plants (especially cucurbits) is also important to detect early to quickly remove affected plant parts or the entire plant in order to avoid spreading the disease to other crops. However, plant problems may occur for a variety of other reasons such as too much or too little water, lack of sufficient sunlight, unhealthy soil, or drastic temperature changes. Hopefully, you have followed recommended 'best practices' by rotating your crops, watering correctly, cleaning out plant debris and weeds, choosing plants/seeds of disease resistant varieties, and planting companion plants. These types of best practices are ways to improve your garden’s health and make it more resistant to plant disease and insects, and are part of integrated pest management (IPM), a gardening practice based on using mechanical, biological, and cultural methods of pest control. For more information, see this VCE guidance.
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