June in the garden
June is a wonderful time in the garden, flowers are starting to appear in abundance and there's plenty to harvest in the veg patch. Keep on top of supporting your plants and keep an eye out for cold nights at this time of year as some plants will still need plenty of protection.
Tidy and Mend
The strong breezes we've been having recently can cause quite a bit of damage to taller perennials, so it's essential to stake or tie them up to help prevent damage. Flower rings are ideal for this, working particularly well for plants such as freesias, chrysanths and the very vulnerable delphiniums and peonies.
Any remaining spring flowering shrubs can be pruned back when over to encourage next year’s growth.
Continue to hoe soil to keep down weeds, or pull them out by hand. This should be done in warm, dry conditions to ensure any weed seedlings left on the surface dehydrate and die.
Grow Your Own
Come June it's pretty safe to assume the frosts are behind us (although nothing is guaranteed). So now is the time to plant out those varieties that have been brought on in the greenhouse. But still be cautious of rushing this, making sure your plants are well established before putting them through the transition to outside. It’s an idea to still have some fleece or newspaper to hand to cover plants outside should a night frost be forecast.
- Fill any gaps in your borders with bedding plants, such as salvia, begonias and one of my favourites – Pelargoniums. Water them regularly, particularly in drier weather and in the days after planting. Watering in hotter months is always better done in the morning or evening, to avoid scorching plants in the heat of the day.
- Sow all biennials for next year. If you are short of space these will be perfectly happy in pots in a sheltered spot until the autumn when they can then be planted in their final positions.
- Lift and store spring bulbs for next year, and divide any clumps that are to stay in situ, for example primulas, to give a broader spread of colour next year.
- Deadheading flowers as they go over this month can result in a second flowering, in particular this is worth doing for your hardy and half-hardy annuals, to ensure their one and only season lasts as long as possible. Perennials will also benefit, for example later in the month lupins and delphiniums can be deadheaded to encourage a second flowering later in the summer.
- Continue successional planting of gladioli
Grow Your Own
Veg and Salad
- Direct sow brassicas and leeks for winter harvest
- Bring your beans and tomatoes out of the greenhouse and plant them at the base of pre-prepared supports. The key to ensuring the best harvests of both, is to keep the roots well watered.
- 2nd sowing of courgettes can be done now, a good tip is to plant the seeds in pairs and then remove the weaker seedling as they come through.
- Successional sowing of carrots, radishes, lettuce, French and Borlotti beans, Sugar Snap Peas, herbs and salad leaves
- Sow chicory
If your strawberries need a little help ripening, bring them in to the warmth of the greenhouse. Another benefit of doing this is the protection the greenhouse affords against birds and other fruit-loving creatures.
Thin out fruit trees to prevent broken branches and help the remaining fruit grow all the larger.
Harvesting Food – What you could be picking and eating this time next year, or – if you’re an old hand – already are
- Brassicas: calabrese, spring cabbage, kale
- Roots: radishes, carrots, first potatoes from outside, autumn-sown onion sets and baby beetroot
- Salad crops: salad leaves, pea tips, all lettuce
- Edible Flowers: borage and marigolds
- Leafy greens: chard and perpetual spinach (ordinary spinach bolts as it heats up)
- Legumes: 1st peas, broad beans
- Squash: 1st outdoor courgettes
- Other veg: globe artichokes
- Herbs: pretty much all herbs should be flourishing and ready to pick in June
- Fruit: rhubarb, strawberries, cherries, redcurrants, should all be ripening ready for picking this month. Pick and prune blackcurrants also in the south
Harvesting Flowers – Lovely things to pick and arrange from your garden in April
- Bulbs: lilies and allium
- Hardy annuals: all autumn-sown (including sweet peas) and spring-sown just starting
- Biennials: most will now be in full flower
- Perennials: peonies, penstemons, Euphorbia sikkimensis, English garden pinks and alstroemerias
- Shrubs and trees: roses, philadelphus, Vibernum opulus 'Sterile'
Wildlife in the Garden
As the weather gets warmer, pond weed can quickly get out of control if left. It’s an easy and fun job removing it, best done with a small net or old kitchen sieve. The warmer temperatures will also make any fish more active, and now’s the time to start feeding them daily.