Gardening in June
We are stepping into June and summer is arriving! The days are long, (hopefully) warm and sunny, and everything is growing so quickly that the garden is changing every day. Spend as much possible time outside and really enjoy your garden and growing space. Here are some suggestions of great jobs to do this month whilst you’re in the garden!
What should I be sowing this month?
A lot of vegetables can be sown this month! Here comes a very long list – Dwarf beans, runner beans, peas, lettuce, salad leaves, peas, carrots, parsnips, swede, radish, spring onions, spinach, turnips, beetroot, chard, parsley, herbs, pumpkins, courgettes, summer and winter squash, florence fennel, salsify, sweetcorn as well as your winter brassicas such as kale and purple sprouting broccoli.
What should I plant this month?
Know your last average frost date and check the weather forecast before planting out anything frost-tender. Usually, towards the middle of the month courgette, squash, pumpkins, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and sweetcorn can be planted out in all areas in the UK.
Also, plant out any other vegetable seedlings ready to go out such as winter brassicas, leeks, lettuces and perennial herbs.
Time planting out with forecasted rain to save on water and help the plants establish. This is of course not always possible but avoid really hot or windy days.
What should I harvest this month?
June is generally a more generous harvesting month compared to May and one of the biggest stars is the strawberry! Picking the first ripe homegrown strawberry of the season is a very special moment.
Fast growing mangetout may be ready to be harvested this month and regular pickings encourage more flowers and pods. You may also have onions, garlic, broad beans, beetroot, globe artichokes, cauliflower and new potatoes ready this month!
Also, keep on harvesting asparagus (till mid month), rhubarb, spring greens, lettuce, radish, turnips, chard and baby carrots from outside.
Your Sprout mini greenhouse may provide an early harvest of tomatoes and other delicious veg that you have been growing!
If you haven’t already….
- Harden off indoor grown plants and seedlings by gradually acclimatising them to outdoor conditions. Move them outside during the day and back in at night. When all risk of frost is over, plant them out – on an overcast day if possible! It’s also great to time the planting with rain to save on watering and help the plants establish well.
- Lay straw around your strawberry plants to stop the fruits from rotting and to deter slugs. Also, net them if needed but make sure to pull the net very tight so that birds and hedgehogs don’t get stuck.
What to do now….
- As the weather gets warmer, keep on top of watering and adjust your watering schedule. Little seedlings and newly planted veg are very vulnerable and need more water on sunny days. However, do not forget your larger, more established plants! A stressed plant will attract pests, such as aphids, and regular watering is the key to keeping them away.
- Pinch out broad beans when they are in full flower and the bottom pods have started to form. This deters aphids and also ensures the plant diverts its energy into growing beans rather than growing tall.
- Check young fruit trees that are grown as standard and trim off any side shoots growing from the main trunk. This is to keep the desired shape, and so that the tree doesn’t use valuable energy growing those.
- Chop back herbs such as chives, mint, sage, lovage and thyme if they are looking tall and tired. This will stimulate the growth of fresh new leaves.
- Pot up strawberry runners when the plants have finished producing fruit. Use the runners to make new plants.
- Prune grape vine side shoots and thin fruit so that the remaining can swell and ripen easily.
- Tie in blackberry and other hybrid berry canes. The new canes will bear fruit next year and should be securely tied in throughout the summer.
- Thin out crowded plants such as carrots, parsnips and spring onions.
- On sunny days check all your plants growing under cover and make sure to open any greenhouses and cold frames as it can get very hot. A Harvst Sprout will of course do this for you automatically!
- Reduce slug habitats in your garden, especially close to new sowings and seedlings. Tidy up, lift up stones, pieces of wood and keep grass short.
- Continue to sow salad leaves and lettuce for a continuous supply throughout the summer. As the days get longer and hotter, lettuces prefer to grow in partial shade.
- Make sure to keep everything growing in pots well watered and fed.
- Feed tomatoes and strawberries with a high potash feed to help fruit forming.
Sometimes we only have five or ten minutes to spare but it is remarkable how much you can get done in those minutes! Also, imagine you did one of these jobs every day of the year. 365 small jobs creates miracles!
- Earth up your potatoes to encourage side shoots and more tubers. Pull up soil around the plants to form ridges and ideally do this little and often. This also stops the potatoes going green.
- Watch out for pests. If spotted early it can prevent an out of control invasion.
- Check on your sowings and seedlings and do not let them dry out.
- As Cordon/Indeterminate tomato plants grow, tie the main stem at regular intervals to a cane for support and pinch out suckers/side shoots.
- Weeds will grow fast now. Spend 10min whenever you can to hand weed or hoe them off to stop them taking over.
- Go on a slug hunt! Look under things like pots, pieces of wood, clumps of soil and stones. Dispose of them and any eggs you find. One slug can lay 400 eggs so stop the exponential growth early!
- Move around your scarecrows so that birds don’t get used to them.
- Move your pots into the shade on very hot days.
Gardening with children
Gardening with children is wonderful and chaotic! It is the very best place for them to learn about and connect with nature, wildlife, biodiversity, sustainability and growing food. It is important to let them have a go and fail but it is also important to give them an opportunity to succeed! Here are some ideas that you can do with your children this month!
- Did you sow giant sunflowers or pumpkins with your children last month? If not, check out our May blog post. There’s still time to sow now!
- Pick flowers and grasses and make flower crowns! There’s two easy methods to create a flower crown. For the first method you need a ring big enough to sit on your child’s head. It can be a metal wire or even long bendy stems of willow or similar plants. Tie the flowers and grasses to the ring. For the second method no ring is needed as you create one with the actual flowers and grasses. Start by creating a little mini posy with a few flowers and grasses and then add more by laying them on to the stems a little further down. Wrap the string around the stems tightly as you go along. Continue till it’s long enough to bend into a circle big enough to sit on top of your child’s head. Secure the last stems on to the first little posy with the string. Keep the flower crown in the fridge when not in use and it will last longer.