The Dutiful Homesteader: June

First chore: Work on a sewing/quilting project

Or any craft that makes you happy. The farm work is all about maintenance and watching things grow this month, so it’s the perfect time to make an apron, piece together a scrapbook or turn a mason jar into a pendant light.

Next chore: Plan your fall and winter gardens

what to PLAN this month

We’ll be so busy during harvest, that planning a winter garden will be the farthest thing from your mind. Since this month is just about routine, now may be the time to do it. Lettuces, onions, peas… they’ve all hit the road. You’ll know how to prepare the empty spaces for new plants once you get it all laid out. Follow this rotation chart and you’re good to go.

Next chore: Tuneup/service vehicles (cars, tractor, etc)

wheels go round...or do they?

You tidied up the compost bins and realized you’re getting low. So you set aside a day to pick up some more. Wouldn’t it be a shame if you headed off in your dump truck, only to find that you have bad bearings? Making sure the homestead vehicles are running properly can be the difference in you getting that compost or finding out that your truck won’t take you anywhere. Now you’re doing the V8 head-slap because it could have been prevented. Don’t do the V8 head-slap. Put this chore on your list and you’ll be sure to discover the leaky seal on the axle, fix it and get your day started as planned.

Next chore: Store and/or dehydrate garlic and onions

minced, dried onions... is there anything better?

We cannot have enough onions and garlic in our lives and we’ve grown plenty to get us through the entire year. When the onion family has flowered and is ready to leave the building, it’s time to dry them out a bit for long term storage. (Find out more about it here: First-Time Grower, Long-Time Lover.) Then take storing them even further by dehydrating your own minced and powdered cooking helpers. Trust me, you’ll be so happy you did.

Next chore: Do a bit of in-season canning

relishing the thought

Speaking of onions, another great way to store them is by pickling them or make up some onion relish for the upcoming BBQ. While you’re at it, you may as well pickle all that zucchini and crookneck you planted. Stay on top of the harvest and you won’t have to scramble around come August!

Next chore: Double-check the homestead before going on vacation

The onion family is tucked nicely away or drying out for the farmers market. The tomato family is busy plumping out and slowly turning beautiful colors. And everything from the rose to the grass family still has a little bit longer to go before they get sweet and tender. So this happens to be the best time for your family to get away. Since you took the time to carefully plan this vacation back in February, you don’t have to stress when the time to leave finally arrives. And handing the farm over to someone you trust has already been rehearsed and so you’re ready for a good time! This short list of last-minute to dos won’t take long, and then it’s off to paradise! (If you have a house sitter, some of these things won’t be an issue.)

1. Ask a friend or neighbor to feed the fish and water the house plants. The person taking care of the homestead may get overwhelmed if they have to worry about the house too; so you may want to give this job to someone else.

2. Have the post office hold your mail for you. A stuffed mailbox is a sure sign that you’re out of town, and this is a simple way to fix that.

3. Install a timer for the lights, TV, etc.

4. Turn off the thermostat (if necessary).

5. Arrange to take your house pets to a kennel (or friends’ house) the day before leaving. You won’t want to make extra stops on your way out of town. You’ll want to head straight to your destination and get the vaca started!

6. Make a list of appliances and what not to double-check as you walk out the door. Unplug the computer, TV and other electronics.

7. Shutting off water valves may help prevent a disaster waiting for you when you return.

8. Clear out the refrigerator of things that can go bad, do all the dishes and take out the garbage. No stinky smells! Make your house a place you want to return to.

9. Hide a copy of your house keys or give them to a relative for emergencies (like, if you lose them). You’ll be so glad you did.

10. Smile a lot! Get the vacation off to a good start by creating a positive atmosphere around you. This will help you have lots of fun!!!

Next chore: Stick to a house cleaning schedule

The entire cleaning schedule that I use breaks it down to a daily, weekly, monthly, biannual and annual schedules. I just took out the once-a-month portion and added it here. Remember, you’re just trying to stay ahead, not be perfect!

Monthly: Clean out the microwave, oven and fridge. Wipe down the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Wipe down towel racks, toilet paper holders, hooks and other fixtures. Dust the laundry area/room. Vacuum upholstered furniture. Dust behind TV. Wipe down doorknobs, light switches, windowsills and baseboards.

Final chore: What to plant this month

This planting schedule assumes you are in zone 8 or 9 and practice succession planting… so you may also see the same items listed on other months.

Seed or plant the following: Snap Beans, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Leeks, Melons, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkins, Soybean, Edamame, Summer and Winter Squash, Tomatoes, Watermelon.


The Farmer Fred Rant
The Weekend Homesteader Series ( books)
Real Simple
Martha Stewart Living