June marks the first month of summer, and on June 21st we’ll also see the longest day of the year. The longer, brighter days will give our already flourishing parks and gardens an extra boost – so expect to see your plants and trees having a growth spurt this month.
Gardening jobs for June include continuing the war on weeds, planting out bedding plants, and keeping up with the demands of a thirsty garden. To help you keep your garden in tip-top condition this month, we’ve put together a list of 11 jobs to add to your garden checklist…
1. Harvest peas, broad beans, new potatoes, and strawberries
Early peas (such as sugar snap peas), new potato crops, and broad beans should be ready to harvest this month. And when it comes to peas, the first pickings are often the tastiest!
New potato harvests will need to be dug up – though because they are a smaller variety, you might want to leave them in the ground for longer for a slightly larger crop. However, it’s best not to leave them in the ground for more than two or three weeks past their harvest date, or they may spoil.
Broad beans should be picked from the base of the plant, just use a gentle twisting motion, to prevent damage to the stem.
Strawberries will usually be juicy and ripe this month too. Though traditionally picked in June, strawberries can now be harvested throughout the summer.
If you’ve been growing gooseberries, underripe ones can now be picked to use in baking, or to make sauces and jams. Or, ripe gooseberries can be picked in July.
To find out which other fruit and veg can be harvested in June, you might want to read this guidance from Royal Paddocks Allotments.
2. Thin fruit trees
The practice of ‘thinning’ fruit trees (or removing excess fruit) can be a helpful way to improve the size and quality of fruit. When fruit trees are too crowded, fruit will compete for space and will often end up being smaller in size (and potentially not as tasty) as a result.
Fruit thinning is usually carried out on heavy fruit like apples, pears, plums, peaches, and nectarines. For example, apples should be reduced to one fruit per cluster, with clusters being spaced 15-23cm apart. While pears should be reduced to two fruits per cluster, spaced 10-15cm apart.
Peaches will usually grow better if they are spaced 10cm apart when they are hazelnut-sized, and 20-25cm apart when they are walnut-sized.
For more tips and advice on how to thin fruit trees (including nectarines, plums, and apricots) check out this advice from the RHS.
3. Keep plants well watered
As temperatures soar in June, soil will dry out quickly – particularly in pots and containers – so it’s important to make sure that you are watering plants regularly. Once a day will often be enough, though if you notice the soil is drying out very quickly, you might need to up your watering to twice daily.
It’s best to water your plants either first thing in the morning and/or late at night – rather than during the hottest part of the day. Watering plants when it’s cooler will allow for maximum absorption, and prevent water from evaporating before it has a chance to penetrate the soil. Be sure to give plants a good soaking for at least 20 seconds.
If your lawn is looking a little dry then try not to worry about this too much, as lawns are durable and will recover quickly when it rains. However, it’s best to avoid wear and tear on dry lawns, as it won’t take long before bald patches start to appear!
4. Pinch out tomato plants
By ‘pinching out’ young tomato plants when they are four to six inches tall, you can encourage tall, upright growth. To ‘pinch out’ means to remove the small shoots that are growing at a 45 degree angle in between the plant’s main stem and it’s branches. Have a watch of the video below to see how this is done.
5. Hoe weeds on dry days
It’s important to be on the lookout for pesky weeds this month, as they’ll be competing with your plants for space and light. To reduce the likelihood of weeds growing back, it’s best to hoe them on dry days, so that they dry out and die more quickly.
Even if your soil looks weed-free, it’s worth hoeing the soil anyway so that you can interrupt any small seedlings that are yet to make their appearance above ground.
Gardeners’ World Magazine has some useful tips on hoeing methods that you might find helpful.
6. Plant out bedding plants
Bedding plants grow quickly and can create a fantastic display of colour. And now that the risk of frost has passed, it’s safe to plant them outside in pots or borders.
Petunias, Cosmos and Fuscias are popular summer bedding plant options, and are available to purchase on Crocus’ website, or at your nearest garden centre.
There are certain things that you can do to improve the quality of the blooms on your summer bedding, such as:
Planting them in good quality compost. Multi-purpose compost is usually a good option, and can be ordered from Amazon.
Weekly feeds. For best results, opt for a fertiliser that contains high amounts of potassium – such as tomato feed.
Giving them protection from slugs, or opting for bedding plants that are slug resistant, such as snapdragons, begonias and geraniums. If your garden is particularly prone to slugs, then you might want to avoid marigolds, as slugs love them!
Regular deadheading to keep plants flowering well throughout the summer.
If you don’t fancy adding bedding plants to your garden, then perhaps you’d prefer to sow some flower seeds instead. For a late show of summer colour, consider sowing calendula, iberis (candytufts), and/or clarkia seeds.
7. Sow pak choi, broccoli, and spring onions
Pak Choi can be sown directly into the ground from this month, and can be ready to harvest on a cut-and-come-again basis after just 30 days. The term cut-and-come-again simply means that after the outer leaves are cut, they will sprout again and provide you with a continuous crop. This leafy plant is hardier than many other leafy greens, so late sowings can still produce crops in autumn and winter if given protection from frost.
Spring onions sown now will ensure that you have fresh crops throughout autumn. They’re a great vegetable to grow on a window sill too, as they have very shallow roots and don’t need much growing space. Other salad crops that can be sown this month include beetroot and lettuce.
Broccoli (late sprouting cultivars and calabrese) sown now will also be ready to harvest in autumn and winter. For best results, try to avoid planting seeds in very exposed spots where they will be more prone to windrock.
To find out what else you could sow this month, including french and runner beans and swede, have a read of this guidance from Royal Paddocks Allotments.
8. Stake floppy plants
If you haven’t yet staked plants (like sunflowers) that are set to get particularly tall or that will have heavy flowers or fruits hanging from their branches, then it’s worth doing so this month.
Staking is the act of adding a support to your plants’ soil and then tying in the plant’s stem or branches to help it stay upright. This can help to prevent plants and young trees from snapping, or growing in an unfavourable direction (such as off to one side, rather than up!).
Bamboo stakes are a great go-to for plants that have a single stem, and the cane needs to be about two-thirds higher than the plant will eventually reach. Trees, shrubs, and roses might need sturdier wooden stakes, to be able to take the weight of the plant, and provide it with the support that it needs.
To get more tips on how to stake plants, check out this page from BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.
9. Prune early-flowering shrubs
Shrubs that flower in spring or early summer could benefit from some pruning this month to stimulate strong, healthy, new growth and encourage beautiful blooms next year. Examples of early-flowering shrubs include Kolkwitzia, Weigela, Deutzia, and Philadelphus.
Early-flowering shrubs usually produce flowers on last year’s growth. So pruning them this month (and removing old flowers) should allow enough time for new shoots to grow and develop throughout the summer and autumn – ready to produce new flowers next year.
To learn more about how to prune early flowering shrubs, you might want to have a watch of the video from the RHS below.
10. Consider adding flowering plants to your vegetable patch
Professional gardeners often add flowering plants to their vegetable garden to increase their yield, and produce healthier crops. But this is also a practice that many garden growers can adopt too. The main benefit of adding flowering plants to the borders of your veggie garden is that they attract insects to pollinate crops – plus they create a nice ornamental effect too.
However, there are certain things to consider before mixing flowers with veggies to make sure that they help, rather than hinder. For example, it’s important to think about the height of the flowers you’re planting, and whether they are likely to compete with your veggies for sunlight – though some crops like cabbages enjoy a bit of shade, so it really depends on your garden needs.
To learn more about which bee-friendly plants you can grow through the seasons, have a read of this helpful guide from BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine. Or, to get more tips and advice on how to mix flowering plants with vegetable crops, check out this article from Good Housekeeping.
11. Give greenhouses some shade
While greenhouses are supposed to keep plants warm, if temperatures build up too much (usually more than 27C), there’s a chance that plants could become damaged. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make sure that you give your greenhouse some shade during the hottest months of the year.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to add some shade paint to the glass panels – which can be layered up to add more shade, and brushed off when the weather gets cool again. You could also try other methods to keep your greenhouse cool, such as making sure that it’s well ventilated and damping down the inside to raise the humidity levels, as plants cope better with heat when there’s more moisture in the air.
For more tips and tricks on how to keep your greenhouse cool, have a read of this article from Grow Veg.
A final thought…
If you want to get stuck into gardening this month but you’re not sure where to start, then we hope this article will help to give you a few ideas.
However, if you really want to up your gardening game and delve a little deeper with your skills and knowledge, then you might want to take a look at the wide range of gardening courses available through our site. Whether you want to learn more about how to attract birds and butterflies to your garden, or become a master of growing food in small spaces – there’s something for everyone.
We’d love to hear from you!
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