Welcome to June, the month where gardens and homesteads are in full swing! As the summer heat begins to ramp up, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our ultimate June garden and homestead to-do list. Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or just starting out, this list will help you stay on top of all the tasks you need to complete to keep your garden and homestead thriving for USDA zone 6 and zone 7. So grab your tools and let’s get started!
Let’s get started with checklists suitable for zones 6a, 6b, 7a, and 7b and specially targeted towards the mountainous regions of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
June Urban Homestead and Garden Chore Checklist
Water your garden – As the weather starts to warm up, make sure to keep your plants hydrated by watering them regularly. They should have a good root system by now so make sure to not overwater. A rain gauge can help you monitor for at least 1 inch of rain per week.
Mulch your garden – Mulching can help to conserve moisture in your garden, reduce weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Consider adding a layer of mulch around your plants in June if you did not do so in May or were waiting for seeds to sprout.
Weed your garden – With the warmer temperatures and increased rainfall, weeds can quickly take over your garden. Stay on top of them by weeding regularly. See number 2 as a way to really cut down on how much weeding you need to do
Harvest early crops – Depending on what you’ve planted, some of your early crops may be ready for harvest in June. Be sure to pick them promptly to encourage continued growth. It also may be too warm for cold weather crops. Remove lettuces, brassicas, and other crops that are bolting to make room for #5
Plant summer crops – June is a good time to plant heat-loving summer crops like corn, tomatoes, peppers, and squash. If you already planted once set this is the time to plant more for succession harvest
Fertilize your garden – If you haven’t already done so, apply a balanced fertilizer to your garden to give your plants a boost. We like a slow release organic fertilizer
Monitor for pests – Keep an eye out for pests like Japanese beetles. Check for early squash and cucumber beetles before the lay yellow eggs. If you spot any, take action to control them before they cause serious damage. For organic control you can use Japanese beetle traps (Our chickens also love to eat Japanese beetles). We walk around with a small jar of alcohol and knock any squash beetles into the alcohol. Instant death!
Prune your garden – Prune any dead or damaged branches from your trees and shrubs, and deadhead spent blooms from your flowers to encourage more growth. If you are doing espalier or intensive orcharding make sure the new growth doesn’t get out of hand.
Plan for fall – Believe it or not, June is a good time to start thinking about your fall garden. Consider what you plan to plant (cool-weather crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts) and order seeds. A lot of seeds will start to go on sale in June and July.
Thin Fruit – While peaches are pretty good at thinning themselves (Peach drop) you may need to thin apples, pears, and plums to get larger, quality fruit, and reduce limb strain of smaller trees.
Urban Homestead Checklist:
Jam/Jelly Time – Nothing beats homemade berry jams! This June, grab your water bath canner and start preserving those delicious fruits. Not only is it a great way to enjoy your harvest year-round, but it’s also a fun activity to do with friends. Make an afternoon canning session.
Forage for fruit – Have you tried foraging for Juneberries or Serviceberries yet? They’re in season, and they make for a tasty snack or a unique addition to your homestead recipes. Just be sure to properly identify any wild fruits before eating them! In other words, if you don’t 100% know what it is do NOT eat it.
Hive Checks – If you’re a beekeeper, now’s the time to check your hives for swarms and honey. Even if you’re not a beekeeper yet, it’s always good to learn about these fascinating creatures and the role they play in our ecosystem. While we aren’t beekeepers (yet) here is a handy guide.
Second Hatch/Breeding – For those who raise quail, rabbits, or chickens for meat, it’s important to plan ahead for the hot weather that’s coming. Start a new hatch or complete rabbit breeding before the summer heat hits, so you can ensure a steady supply of protein for your family.
Prepare for Summer Heat – Make sure all your animals have access to shade and plenty of water during the hot summer months. Consider adding shade cloth to your greenhouses or high tunnels, or installing fans to keep your animals cool and comfortable. In the mountains, I rarely have to add fans for the animals as they have access to forest and shade, but we absolutely have to add them to the greenhouse.
Preserve Herbs – With cooler weather herbs like cilantro and basil in season, it’s the perfect time to collect and dry them for tea and cooking. You can also freeze your herbs for use throughout the year.
Plan for Fall/Winter – While the summer is in full swing, take some time to plan ahead for the fall and winter months. Stock up on hay and other feed for your animals, and order any necessary supplies in advance. Don’t forget to take advantage of seed sales, too!
Catch up on Chores – With a slower garden month in June, it’s the perfect time to catch up on any homestead chores that may have fallen behind. Mend clothing, build infrastructure, try out a new skill like basket making or leather working, or even brew some beer or make cheese if you have goats in milk! We have goat envy for sure.
Get ready for summer on your urban homestead with our June to-do list! From making delicious berry jams and foraging for fruit to checking on your hives and planning for fall, we’ve got you covered. Plus, catch up on chores and try your hand at new skills like basket making or leather working. Keep your livestock happy and healthy with shade cloth and cooling methods, and stock up on hay and feed while it’s plentiful. With our tips, you’ll be ready for whatever homesteading adventures come your way!
As spring turns into summer, it’s time to turn your attention to your urban homestead and garden. For those residing in zones 6a, 6b, 7a, and 7b, May marks the start of a busy gardening season. This is THE busy season when it comes to gardening and homesteading with garden, livestock, and general maintenance piling up! With a little planning and elbow grease, you can ensure your homestead and garden are productive and beautiful all season long. From sowing seeds to maintaining your compost pile, there are plenty of essential tasks to tackle this month. In this article, we’ll cover some of the key May garden and urban homestead chores to help you make the most of this exciting time of year.
Let’s start with some gardening and homesteading checklists and then move on to resources to help you get the most out of your urban homestead and garden. This is a big month, with a big list, don’t get overwhelmed and check off what is applicable to your garden and urban homestead.
May Urban Homestead and Garden Chore Checklist
Harden off seedlings – Gradually expose indoor seedlings to outdoor conditions over the first two weeks before transplanting. This helps them adjust to the outdoor environment and reduces transplant shock.
Transplant seedlings – By Mother’s Day weekend, it’s typically safe to transplant seedlings outdoors in most regions. Make sure to plant them in nutrient-rich soil and provide adequate water and sunlight. You may think you can plant before Mother’s Day, but as my Great-Granny always said: ‘No’.
Direct sow seeds – Sow 1/2 to 1/3 of your corn and bean seeds directly into the ground to ensure a succession harvest throughout the summer. Also, consider sowing a second group other succession veggies like beets and carrots.
Watch for pests – Keep an eye out for common garden pests like cabbage worms, aphids, and squash vine borers, which can damage your plants. Consider using natural pest control methods like companion planting, neem oil, or insecticidal soap.
Plant flowers to attract pollinators – Flowers like marigolds, zinnias, and cosmos attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, which help to fertilize your plants and increase yields. Marigolds also help deter pests and make your garden look pretty.
Sow radishes – Sow radish seeds in between your other plants to help fill in empty spaces and deter pests like cucumber beetles. Radishes are fast-growing and can be harvested in as little as 30 days.
Fertilize your plants – May is a good time to fertilize your plants with a slow-release fertilizer to provide them with the necessary nutrients for growth. You can also top dress with compost as you plant.
Water wisely – As the weather heats up, it’s important to water your plants deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth. Consider using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to conserve water and reduce evaporation. Seedlings are at their most tender and usually need some additional moisture to establish good root systems.
Urban Homestead Checklist:
Clean out coop – If you didn’t get to this in April give your chickens a fresh start for the new season and make sure they have a clean and healthy environment.
Clean out compost bins – turn and mix your compost to ensure proper decomposition and make room for new materials. We usually use 90% of our compost when prepping my beds. This is a great time to clean them out and repair any issues before filling them again throughout the growing months.
Build infrastructure – take advantage of the mild weather and build new trellises, raised beds, or fencing before the summer heat sets in.
Clean bedding and pack away clothes – pack up your winter clothes and bedding to make room for summer items. This is a wonderful time to line dry blankets and get that fresh spring smell into all your items before packing them away.
Store winter tools – put away snow shovels, sleds, and other winter tools to free up space in your shed or garage. Don’t be like us and end up with a pile of dirty sleds behind the house in June.
Start a worm bin – create a worm composting bin to help reduce food waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. It will be warm enough to get worms shipped to your house if you don’t have a local supply
Check irrigation systems – If you didn’t get to this in April, inspect and repair any leaks or clogs in your irrigation system before the summer heat sets in. You will need the irrigation in May or June to get that garden rooted deeply enough to handle smaller droughts of rain.
Mulch Paths- apply a layer of mulch to well used pathways to keep weeds at bay and reduce mud during spring rains.
Start moving chicks outside – Depending on the temperature and when you got your chicks it may be time to start introducing them to the flock. Once they have enough feathers for warmth we move them to a sectioned off area of the run so they can see the flock for a week or two before learning to free range with the rest of the chickens.
Maintain your livestock – If you have goats, bees, chickens, or other small livestock this is the time to check for mites, deworming, etc. Pests start coming out of the woodwork this time of year.
May is a busy time for urban homesteaders and gardeners, but with a little planning and effort, you can ensure a bountiful harvest and a healthy, thriving homestead. Use this checklist and resource list to help guide your efforts and make the most of this exciting time of year. Happy gardening and homesteading!
As spring settles in, it’s time to turn your attention to your urban homestead and garden. For those residing in zones 6a, 6b, 7a, and 7b, April marks the start of a busy gardening season. With a little planning and elbow grease, you can ensure your homestead and garden are productive and beautiful all season long. From sowing seeds to maintaining your compost pile, there are plenty of essential tasks to tackle this month. In this article, we’ll cover some of the key April garden and urban homestead chores to help you make the most of this exciting time of year.
Let’s start with some gardening and homesteading checklists and then move on to resources to help you get the most out of your urban homestead and garden.
April Urban Homestead and Garden Chore Checklist
Prepare your soil – Remove any weeds and debris from your garden beds and add a layer of compost or organic matter to improve soil health. If you have left last years seeds and leaves to sustain wildlife now is the time to clean it all out
Plant cool-season crops – April is the perfect time to sow seeds for cool-season vegetables such as peas, lettuce, and spinach. If you live in the mountains consider row covers to assist with late frosts. No matter how warm it gets and how much you want to plant those tomatoes outside… DON’T. You will regret it.
Start fast growing warm weather crops – If you have managed to hold out this long, it is finally time to start your fast growing warm-weather vegetables like squash and cucumbers. They only need 4-6 weeks to be ready to plant out (Just in time for Mother’s Day!)
Prune fruit trees and shrubs – Prune any dead or damaged branches from your fruit trees and shrubs to promote healthy growth and a bountiful harvest. Be careful not to prune out limbs or remove plants that haven’t leafed out yet. Some species like figs and paw paws leaf out much later.
Divide and transplant perennials – Divide and transplant overcrowded perennial plants like day lilies, hostas, and irises.
Clean garden tools – Clean and sharpen garden tools to ensure they’re ready for use. If you are anything like us, its also a good time to sort out that piled up garden shed or greenhouse.
Install birdhouses and feeders – Set up birdhouses and feeders to attract beneficial birds to your garden.
Urban Homestead Checklist:
Maintain your compost pile – Keep your compost pile well-maintained by adding a balance of “green” (nitrogen-rich) and “brown” (carbon-rich) materials and turning it regularly to ensure proper decomposition. If it has been sitting all winter this is a great time to get it stirred back up and finished off in time for planting in May.
Check on your bees – If you’re keeping bees, now is the time to check on your hive and make sure your bees have enough food and space to thrive. We aren’t bee keepers but we suggest taking a class from Oxx Beekeeping (often at Organic Growers School) and reading more here.
Clean your coop – If you’re raising chickens or quail, be sure to clean out their coop and nesting boxes to keep them healthy and happy. We like to take down window covers, do a full clean out of the run/coop, and inspect for any pests at the end of April to give them chickens and quail a nice healthy place for the summer months.
Purchase and Brood Chicks or Hatching Eggs – This is the time that eggs and chicks are plentiful. You will find chicks for sale at local feed and seed stores, on craigslist, and on mail order. Its a little late to order chicks, but you can find some hatcheries that ship throughout May OR start prepping your list for fall orders. Hatching eggs can be found on facebook groups, craigslist, and Ebay, just note that hatch rates are lower after eggs have been bounced through the mail.
Inspect and Repair Fencing – This is the time of year where your small livestock want to get out and graze and your predators are waking up and looking for food. Make sure fencing is secure and undamaged as all animals start roaming further from dens and coops.
Inspect irrigation and Rain Barrels – Review your irrigation/collection system and make any necessary repairs or adjustments. Specifically look for freeze/thaw damage at taps and connectors
Clean Tools and Outdoor Areas – It will finally be warm enough to start really gardening, lounging outside, and making use of your outdoor areas. Prep for warmer weather by cleaning hammocks, outdoor furniture, and tools. It will make the most of warm days without giving you the latitude to plant those warm weather starts too early!
Clean out jars and review the pantry – Make plans for what you want to preserve this year, what you ran out of, and what canned goods you still have left over. Adjust your planting plans accordingly so you don’t end up with those 15 extra cans of pickled okra this year.
April is a busy month for urban homesteaders and gardeners in zones 6a, 6b, 7a, and 7b. From preparing soil for planting to starting seedlings indoors, there are plenty of tasks to tackle to ensure a successful growing season. Other essential chores include planting cool-season crops, mulching garden beds, watering plants, and harvesting early crops. It’s also important to monitor for pests, prune fruit trees, and maintain compost piles and garden tools. With proper planning and care, you can set up your urban homestead for success and enjoy the bounties of a thriving garden throughout the season.
Remember, gardening and homesteading is a process and it’s important to take it one step at a time. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this list – just focus on the tasks that are most important for your garden and take the time to enjoy the process. With a little effort and attention, you can create a beautiful and productive garden that will bring you joy throughout the growing season.