It wasn’t that long ago that we were in coats and scarves, coaxing seeds into life from the protection of our greenhouses. But now we’re in June, it’s a very different picture. Gardens are bursting with colour, and fruit and veg are beginning to swell.
While it’s good to enjoy the weather and take stock of all we’re cultivating, this doesn’t mean we can kick off our wellies and reach for the flip-flops just yet. If we want our gardens to dazzle throughout June, then there are jobs to be done to maintain their shine.
In the flower garden
It’s safe to say that the frost is now gone. So, if you haven’t already, get the last of those summer bedding plants out of your greenhouse and potted up. If you don’t have the space in your flower borders, think about using containers, troughs or hanging baskets. A basket of trailing blooms suspended beside a front door gives a warm welcome to any visitor. Just ensure your containers don’t dry out, and water and feed regularly. Add some soil conditioner to help retain the moisture and feed your hanging baskets all summer.
If you’ve been growing lilies, they should be about ready to bloom. Some might need staking for support. Continue to check foliage daily for the dreaded lily beetle, remove and dispose accordingly.
Some roses will now be looking past their best. This is the month to deadhead. Not only will this keep your rose looking fresh, it will encourage new blooms.
Most spring flowers will have come and gone, leaving you with gaps in your borders. If you’re in need of a splash of colour, consider dahlias. There’s no end to the choice of colour, shape and size available. Or if it’s height you’re after, nothing says ‘summer’ better than a vibrant sunflower. Whether you want tall, small, yellow or orange, there are now so many varieties to choose from, and it’s not too late to sow them. In this weather, the seeds can go straight into the ground, and providing there’s plenty of sunshine, they will germinate and grow quickly.
With warmer days and brighter evenings, the garden centrepiece this time of year will be your lawn, but with weekend barbeques and the kids causing mayhem, it might be taking a battering. To keep it looking good for the whole season, mow at least once a week, and trim the edges. You may want to consider raising your lawnmower blades to decrease the stress on your grass. It’s also good to apply a lawn feed. When those hotter spells do arrive, either water first thing in the morning, or later in the evening when temperatures aren’t so high; your lawn will appreciate a good soaking. A feed with our natural fertiliser liquid will do wonders for you lawn.
This is the perfect month to take softwood cuttings from garden favourites, such as lavender, forsythia and fuchsia. Take 10cm cuttings from the tips of your chosen shrub, making a sharp horizontal cut just below a pair of leaves, and remove any lower set of leaves or buds. Fill a small pot with gritted compost, and push the cuttings in, parallel to the side of the pot. Space cuttings equally, water and place in a greenhouse or warm windowsill.
DELPHINIUMS AND LUPINS
Delphiniums and lupins make a lovely addition to any garden, but their blooms can fade all too quickly. Once flowered, cut away the fading stem. Not only will this make the plant look tidier and bushier, it will encourage a second bloom later in the season.
Plants are now putting on a lot of growth, so ensure they’re staked and securely tied in. Flowers such as roses, may need feeding. Use our liquid fertiliser to give them a boost. Establish a regular watering regime and keep an eye on weather reports. Longer dry spells may mean extra watering, especially for container-based plants. Irregular watering may cause certain plants to bolt, or dry-out and die. To help retain moisture in container plants and beds, apply a top dressing of soil conditioner.
To prevent sweet peas from going to seed, cut blooms every couple of days.
Pests and diseases will be at their worst, so keep a lookout and remove all culprits. Red mite may start appearing in greenhouses, so it’s a good idea to dampen down the paths each day, and keep doors and windows open for plenty of ventilation. Introducing shading to your greenhouse will ensure plants don’t burnout on particularly hot days.
With plants eager to grow, so will weeds. Remove accordingly, or they will draw the nutrients from your plants, suffocating and eventually killing them.
It’s hard to fathom, but in a few months, autumn will be knocking at our door, so now is a good time to get some of those autumn plants germinating. From pansies to polyanthus, sow seeds onto a tray of fine compost, water and cover lightly. Then place in your greenhouse. Check them regularly to ensure germination, and don’t let them dry-out.
On the veg patch
Fruit trees holding heavy crops of fruit will drop a certain amount of spoils in June. This improves sunlight, air circulation, reduces the spread of pests, prevents heavy branches snapping, and it means the remaining fruit gets all the nutrients it needs to grow and ripen. The ‘June Drop’ occurs in apples, pears, plums and peaches. So, if you come across scattered fruit below your tree, fear not, it’s Mother Nature’s way of giving your fruit tree a helping hand.
By now you should be enjoying the taste of home-grown strawberries. You can produce further plants by propagating the runners of this year’s plants. Or, to retain the plant’s energy for next year’s fruit, cut plants down to 5cm. This will encourage new growth and help prevent grey mould. Also, give the plants a feed with our liquid fertiliser.
Other fruit such as gooseberries, blackberries and raspberries will now be producing their fruit. It’s good to net these, to prevent birds from eating them.
Whether you’re growing cordon or bush varieties, your plants will be taking on a lot of growth and producing trusses. Pinch-out side shoots, and ensure your plants are secure, and cordon tomatoes are tied in. With flowers on the plant, this is the time to start giving your tomatoes a twice-weekly feed with our liquid fertiliser to encourage the fruit to swell. This also applies to peppers, aubergine, and chilli plants.
Crops you planted back in early spring may now be ready for harvesting. Peas, runner beans, broad beans, chard, potatoes and salad, should all be ready to go. If you notice your onions or garlic foliage is dying back, then these are also ready to harvest.
While some crops will be ready to harvest, others will only just be ready to plant-out. Squashes, pumpkins and sweetcorn can now take their turn on the plot. Ensure these crops have plenty of space to grow, and ensure the soil is rich and moist. These are greedy crops so they will require regular watering.
When planting out sweetcorn, arrange the plants in a fairly tight grid formation, as this will encourage the pollination of all plants.
Now’s a good time to turn your compost heaps. The warmer weather will help the process of breaking down matter.
Apply a layer of our soil conditioner on the surface of your vegetable beds to help retain moisture over the dry summer months, and provide your plants with a fresh burst of nutrition.
Weeds will be thriving, so maintain beds and remove with a hoe, ideally on a warm day, when the soil isn’t as moist, as weeds can easily be removed.
Some vegetables, such as brassicas will need netting. Not only to prevent birds attacking them, but stop the white butterfly from laying their eggs.
Carrots are often affected by Carrot Fly, so create a fleece or mesh barrier at least 50cm high. This pest can only fly so high, so a netted barrier will prevent them from attacking your young carrots.
Another method of discouraging pests is companion planting. Plants such as Marigolds, should be planted around tomato plants as their smell discourages pests.
As with your garden, ensure you maintain a regular watering regime. Some crops, such as pumpkins and runner beans, will need more watering than others.
Summer encourages breeding and growth, which can be a problem for ponds. Blanket weed should be removed, to help both fish and plants breathe. Try to do this at the end of the day, when temperatures are cooler. Also, leave any removed foliage at the side of the pond overnight. This will give any caught animals and insects a chance to return to the water. Check water plants for pests and remove.
With increased light levels, you could consider setting up a herb tray on a windowsill. Herbs such as basil, and coriander are worth considering, and make a wonderful addition to any meal.
If you have lavender flowering in the garden, then why not take cuttings and bring indoors. Simply bunch together, tie and suspend somewhere where you can enjoy its fragrance. Or, consider drying it out to create lavender sachets for your drawers and pillows.
Thanks to Ade Sellars from Agents of Field for kindly producing these tips for June