Gardening jobs for June
Thankfully by the end of June the pace in the garden should be easing of a bit. The frenzy of spring should be slowing into a more regular rhythm. The hundreds of young plants you have been raising should have left the confines of the greenhouse and are now making their own way in the world. Consequently, all you have to do in terms of your gardening jobs is keep up with the watering, weeding, grass cutting, hedge trimming, etc, etc.
Gardening jobs in your veg garden
Plant out tender veg
Once your tender veg (beans, squash, tomatoes, sweetcorn) have been acclimatised to outside temperatures for a few weeks, it’s time to plant them out. Firstly, plant pumpkins and squash on top of a mound with plenty of well-rotted compost. Give them plenty of space as they will produce big vines. Sweetcorn are best planted in clumps as they are wind pollinated. The male flowers at the top will need to drop the pollen onto the female flowers (silks) that will form the cobs further down the stems.
Apple and pear blossom should have set by now. You can thin any clusters to just one or two fruits. This will reduce the burden on the tree giving better and more regular crops. Without thinning, trees can lapse into providing crops on alternate years as a result.
Salads are quick growing crops and need to be picked regularly to keep them in tip-top condition. Cut and come again leaves are a super productive way to produce lots of leafy greens. Just give them a trim every few weeks and you may never need to buy bagged salad again.
Keep up with watering in the veg garden. It can dry out quickly and will need a good soak a couple of times a week to keep crops producing. Plants such as runner beans will stop flowering entirely if they are allowed to dry out.
The weeds will be growing like wildfire this month. On warm days quickly whizz around the garden with the hoe. You can leave the weeds on the surface as they will quickly wilt and die, and the slugs will eat them, rather than your veggies.
By the end of the month the strawberry season will be at its peak. Pick them regularly as they ripen before the birds or slugs can get to them. From just a small patch you should have plenty for desserts, puddings and jam.
Gardening jobs: Ornamentals
Tie in sweet peas
Your sweet peas should be nicely settled into their new homes for the summer and they will start to grow rapidly now. Tie in any shoots to your supports. For the best quality flowers, remove all of the side shoots to create a cordon, as you would with a tomato plant.
Watch out for aphids as they love the fleshy growing tips. They’re full of sap and as a result they will quickly colonise them. If you have any early flowers, they might drop some buds. Don’t worry, this is a symptom of cold nights and is the plant’s way of regulating water pressure. They will soon recover as the nights warm up.
Plant tender annuals
By the end of May most areas of the UK will have seen the last chance of frost, so early June is the perfect time to start planting out tender annuals like Nicotiana, Cosmos or Salvia. Prepare the beds in advance and use nematodes watered on the soil to give them a bit of protection from slugs while they get established.
Collect hellebore seeds
Hellebores will have finished flowering around Easter, but it can take a while for the seed heads to ripen. They will start to split open as soon as the warm weather starts to dry them out. Collect the black seeds and sow a few. They don’t come true from seed, but you might end up with some interesting offspring with a mix of the characteristics of plants you have.
Cut back bulb foliage
Make sure you leave any bulb foliage to turn completely yellow before cutting it back. This will therefore allow them to put all of the energy built up in the leaves into storage to ensure the biggest and best blooms next year.
Bindweed is the bane of most gardeners life and, however beautiful the pale white, trumpet-shaped flowers are, if it gets established it can quickly strangle the rest of the plants in its battle for dominance. You can use a systemic weed killer to remove it, but be careful not to get it on any other plants nearby. If you are removing it organically make sure you dig all the roots out as it will come back with a vengeance from even the tiniest piece.
Gardening jobs for the lawn
Mow pathways in long grass
Grass will be growing fast at this time of year and it’s a good time to cut any pathways into meadow. These don’t need to be cut as often as the main lawns. Meadows can take a bit of time to establish properly but are a very low impact and easy way of providing an ecologically diverse habitat that will support many different plant and animal species. If you have a large area of grass, it’s well worth considering converting some to meadows.
Gardening jobs for the pond
Remove duck weed
If you have a pond, duck weed can become a bit of a pain. These tiny plants float on the surface of the water and will multiply rapidly. They quickly smother the surface until it looks like a green carpet. This isn’t good for any fish, frogs or newts in the pond, so use a net to skim off as much as you can.
Gardening jobs in the greenhouse
It may seem counter productive to want to cut out light in the greenhouse, but as the sun reaches its peak around the longest day, it can be quite intense. In a greenhouse the temperature will quickly rocket and can be stressful for your plants. Using shading can reduce this effect. You can use a specialised paint that is applied to the glass for a semi-permanent effect, or use shade netting if you want to be able to move and accurately control the amount of shade provided.
Watering and feeding
It’s incredible how fast compost dries out on a sunny day. Make sure to keep plants well watered by soaking them at least once a day (twice on hot days). Use a liquid feed once a week. Tomatoes will start to split or develop brown spots at the end of the fruit if they get an inconsistent supply of water.
Gardening jobs: Pests and diseases
These tiny red beetles will quickly decimate your lilies. To add insult to injury, they leave behind small piles of beetle poo. Place a sheet under the plants and shake any beetles off the plants.
Slugs and snails
On a summer’s evening, hoards of slugs and snails are lurking in the dark recesses of the garden, just waiting for you to put out your carefully grown plants for their midnight feast. If you need to, Ferric phosphate (organic approved) slug pellets are the best to use as slugs and snails retire to the earth to die rather than being eaten by wildlife. If you don’t like using pellets, then nematodes or even beer traps can be very effective.
These tiny black and yellow beetles will enjoy your harvest almost as much as you do. They generally only leave superficial damage on this year’s crop. But an unchecked infestation can seriously damage the plants and reduce subsequent crops. Hand picking is the best way to keep on top of them. But if they get out of hand a pyrethrum (crysanthemum) containing spray should keep numbers down.