Writing about this topic at the end of May is a sign of my hopefulness for warmer weather in just another week. Any gardening thus far has been at a minimum due to cool temperatures, and rain.
Early June is normally a great time to finish planting your garden-just keep in mind that if the ground feels cold to you, those seeds may sit for a longer time before sprouting. Plant your containers and hanging baskets, as well. Soil in clay pots dries quickly so water them more frequently.
During the first week in June, move house plants to shaded areas outside for the summer. Again be aware that plants will need more water during hot and windy weather and more fertilizer if they are bloomers.
During early June fertilize your lawn before very hot weather arrives. Start watering if we've had less than one inch of rain weekly. Start mowing higher (2 ½ inches or above) as the weather warms to encourage deep rooting and make the grass plants more resistant to stress.
Harvest your early season fruits and vegetables while they are at the peak maturity. This is usually when they are full size and have good color but before they get overripe. If necessary, use netting to keep the birds from helping themselves to your produce. Keep harvesting rhubarb through the month of June, pulling any flower stalks that appear.
Keep on top of weeds during the month when they are small and easy to pull. I call this exercise with a purpose. Use good body mechanics when weeding or for any garden chore to prevent injury. A good practice is to avoid overreaching. If you keep your garden plants well watered and fertilized, they will quickly fill in bare spaces and give weeds fewer places to grow. Mulches are a great way to deter weeds and retain moisture in the soil. Some perennial flowers such as monarda and artemisia are very fast growers and will take over your garden (like weeds) if they get a chance. Don't be afraid to dig out parts of large clumps and share them with friends or put in the compost pile. Grass can quickly invade gardens and landscape plantings and is best deterred with a good quality edging that is properly installed.
June will keep the gardener busy when it finally warms up. Those warm-season plants like tomatoes, peppers and melons can be safely planted into the garden in June. If tomato plants are leggy they can be planted deeper and will root along the buried stems. Trees and shrubs growing in containers can be planted anytime during the growing season but planting in June gives plants a full season to become established before winter.
Click on "Yard and Garden at the University of Minnesota Extension website: www.extension.umn.edu for gardening information. Local Master Gardeners will respond to your questions via voicemail. Call (218) 444-7916, leaving your name, number and question.