Gardening Advice | June
Our resident plant expert, Phil McCann has some top tips as you get out in the garden this June.
Top June gardening Tips:
- Keep the hoe moving to kill annual weeds
- Pinch out side shoots on tomato plants
- Harvest early crops of radish, lettuce and carrots
- Plant out all summer bedding
- Hang out your baskets
- Stake quick growing perennials
- Regularly mow the lawn - a must
- Sow nasturtiums directly in the soil
- Sow runner beans and French beans
- Plant out brassica plants
An overview of June:
June is the month when plants can be taken from the cosy confines of a greenhouse, cold frame or windowsill and allowed to get growing without the fear of frost (but still check forecasts for early June, as no one likes a nasty surprise). It can also be the month of dry weather, threats of a hosepipe ban and regular watering of plants in containers. Scorching sun can also damage tender plants under glass. June? Everything except snow. But there again, it did snow in June 1975 so best be prepared for anything.
Hoe, hoe, hoe
The best way to sort out quick growing and easy to flower annual weeds such as bittercress is to hoe them off at soil level before they flower. No flowers = no seeds = a weed free future. Regular hoeing also breaks up the soil surface reducing capping and therefore allowing water down to the roots.
If you are growing tomatoes on one long stem as opposed to bush varieties, it's best to nip out the side shoots. If left in place they will sap the main shoot of energy and never produce top quality toms. Side shoots emerge from the plant where the leaf meets the main stem. Flower trusses need to be left alone and appear between where the leaves meet the stems. Let side shoots get to a centimetre or two long and nip them out with your fingers.
Early crops such as radish, carrots and lettuce can be and should be harvested early to maintain taste and crunchiness. It's always a good idea to sow short rows of such crops at fortnightly intervals to avoid gluts and keep the produce rolling in.
There shouldn't be frost now and it is therefore safe to plant out all your bedding plants. Nip out any flowers that may have formed early and give everything a good watering in to allow roots to quickly establish. Keep the soil weed free and watch out for pests, especially aphids, on the succulent shoots.
There should be a ceremony associated with putting out your hanging baskets. It is the start of summer and daily watering, weekly deadheading and fortnightly feeds. Bold and beautiful, baskets bring brash pizazz to every wall they adorn. Nothing beats the uplifting site of a polychromatic plant collection crammed into what seems an impossibly small space. But they work, they do it sensationally and that's why baskets are simply the best.
Many herbaceous perennials grow at an astonishing rate moving from new shoots to floppy stems within days. Stake anything that looks like it will do this before they get damaged by rain and wind. Low growing stems will snap and are easier for slugs and snails to nibble at.
Mow, mow, mow the lawn
Weekly mowing is fantastic. Twice weekly even better. It keeps the cuttings down to manageable amount for the compost heaps and encourages the grass to stay short, stubby and spreading. It also stops many weeds in their path. Don't think of it as a chore as a good mow is the perfect way to unwind whilst producing a snooker table look to your sward.
Flowers in the soil
Nasturtiums are so easy to grow. Seed spilled in between the gaps in paving will grow and flower, but seed sown directly into the soil or into containers will romp away and produce bush or trailing plant within weeks and masses of blooms beloved by bees later in summer. Nothing is easier than nasturtiums so sow them soon.
Sow now, reap later
If you were keen you will already have runner and French beans out in the soil. If you were busy a month or so ago then there's still time to sow some seed directly into the soil for quick growing plants and crops in late summer. If making a hole with your finger and dropping a seed in is hard work then get your hands on ready growing seedlings to plant out. Quick, easy and tasty veg.
Christmas is coming
OK, the festive season is about six months away but if you want to be harvesting your home-grown Brussels sprouts for the family to turn their noses up at (!) now is a good time to plant out the seedlings. They will soon get cracking and produce tight buttons of nuttiness for the Christmas table and beyond. Plant into well-consolidated soil and water in seedlings. Watch out for pigeons as they like to get their beaks into the leaves.