What to do in the garden in June

   

Hosta leaves with rain Rose 'Sweet Juliet' Cucumber flowering  

 June in the Garden

                        June in the Veg Plot 

    

The garden should be frost free by June which is the time to plant out all remaining veg: Peas, Beans of all types, salad crops, rocket, carrots, everything not yet planted out including the more tender of crops such as courgettes, squashes, cucumbers, French beans and Tomatoes. All types of beans can be planted out now and also seeded directly into the veg plot for later crops. Beans and Peas all have different growing requirements check out which you need before planting.

June is really plant, plant, plant. Plants which are either seeded together or planted together, will  produce fruit together, i.e. the veg, all at the same time which will produce a glut. To avoid gluts it is better to sow and plant on a regular basis, and easy to remember is to plant every fortnight. Keep sowing and planting each fortnight until late in the season depending on the vegetable. Seed packets will give a guide for last planting dates but always adjust that by your garden aspect. The South has a longer growing season than the North of England. Some veg grow more quickly and can be sown again later in the season such as radish and various lettuces , others, such as squash need the whole season to come to fruit and are usually only sown once at the beginning of the year.

Gardening tips hoeing off weeds

If you are going on holiday and worried about garden plants, and tubs follow this link  for top holiday tips on looking after your plants whilst away.      

Whatever you are planting there will be weeds. It is a good idea to plant the young veg, or seed veg,  in straight lines so you can tell weeds from seeds, and about a hoe width apart. Weeds don't grow in straight lines so you can tell what are the baby plants/small seedlings and which are the weeds. The easiest way to get rid of the weed seedlings is to hoe them off on a dry day. Using a sharp hoe run over the ground breaking up the tiny weed seedlings. This is so much easier if you can get a hoe in the space. Illustrated left is hoeing between rows of garlic and onion .   The onions and garlic were planted in straight lines a hoe's width apart which is a good tip whatever you are planting.       

 

Watch out for Pigeons

Wood pigeonPigeons rarely sleep, or that's how it seems  to me and they love Brassica munching away at the new growth until they are too fat to fly and just waddle off. The only way to prevent this is to physically protect the young plants with mesh supported by a frame otherwise you are growing pigeon food.

You will also need to net strawberries and other soft fruit if you want to enjoy the crop.

Pigeons love to peck at the new growth on onions and garlic which causes the newly planted onions to be lifted out of the soil. The birds pick up the shoot, which is just above the soil, and lift up the onion which you may find scattered around and will need replanting. 

 

Potato in flower

Check potatoes

If you are growing potatoes and there is a dry spell, water regularly and also earth up, both are important for a good crop as it allows more potatoes to form as the season goes on. For tips and advice on growing potatoes including how to earth them up.

Depending on the weather and planting times, first earlies, and in some areas second earlies, will be ready in June.

How to know if the Potatoes are ready? Firstly, have they flowered? The flowers look like the image on the left. Potatoes will not be ready until after flowering and the best way to check what's happening beneath the soil  is by gently scraping away the earth and see what you find, if they are too small, cover up and try again in couple of weeks.

The main disease of potatoes is blight which can be difficult for advise on how to deal with Potato blight.

Plant out remaining tender Veg and Herbs

By June it is safe to plant out the  more tender vegetables as the risk of frost has passed.  Courgettes and French beans both hate the cold which is why it is best to plant them out later; advise on growing courgettes and growing French beans.  Later in June the first small courgettes will be ready for picking and they are at their very best when tender and small. Courgettes are prone to mildew which you can see on the leaves as white marks. This can occur if it's very dry and often occurs later in season. To minimise, feed and remove effected leaves.

It is also warm enough to sow the more tender herbs, such as Basil in pots for use throughout the summer. Basil likes it warm and on the dry side so care with watering.  They are frost tender plants so remember to bring indoors later in the year. If you like Stir fries Thai Basil is easy to grow;  it has a lovely flavour and  makes a great pot plant for the patio.

 

Growing tomatoes

Cut side shoots off tomatoes

June is a busy time if you are growing Tomatoes, they need feeding, watering, and the side shoots removing on a regular basis.

Whether you are growing toms under glass or out doors the first (and possibly the second) sets of flowers will appear and this is a signal to start feeding the plant. With tomatoes, to get the flavour and texture right, feed and water regularly. Irregular watering in particular can produce tougher skins, or cause the skin to split, spoiling the fruit.

It is also very important to keep taking off the side shoots from cordon tomatoes, see image left.  For more about growing tomatoes follow the link

Video: How to remove side shoots from tomatoes

Fruit is thinned to improve the quality of the remaining fruit and usually done in June, after the "June drop" which is when the tree naturally sheds some fruit but not enough. By thinning further the quality is improved, branches are not over loaded, and healthier fruit left. The suggested thinning is:

  • Apples cookers thin to one fruit every 15-23 cms
  • Apples desert one or two fruits every 10-15cms
  • Pears 2/3 fruits per cluster about 10-15cms
  • Plums one every 5-8cms or pairs every 15cms
  • Peaches one every 10 cms when very small (hazelnut size) and again one every 20-25cms when larger (walnut size)
  • Nectarines one very 15cms ( walnut  size)

 

strawberry-flower310x240Strawberries are usually flowering well at the end of May early June and so fruits will follow shortly. Birds love Strawberries and to preserve the crop it's necessary to cover with a net. This can be easily be done by constructing a simple cage using bamboo canes  covered with a simple net. Tips on how to do this.

 

 June in the Garden

Bedding plants

Bedding plant hanging basketEven with our very unpredictable weather by June we are as sure as we can be it is safe to plant out bedding where ever you garden. Hanging baskets and tubs do dry out quickly and the water retaining gel can be very helpful to help retain moisture, combined with a mulch on the top if the planting arrangement is suitable. 

There are so many marvellous combinations, traditional pastels combining Pelargoniums, Lobelia and petunias; single planting schemes such as the French Marigolds , grasses and dahlias, even tumbling tomatoes the list is literally endless.

Best check also any remaining For-get-me-nots because by the tail end of their growing season For-get-me-nots can suffer from powdery mildew.  This can cause a problem if left because some plants which maybe growing alongside the For-get-me-not maybe susceptible to powdery mildew. Often some For-get-me-nots are left in the ground to self seed but beware if they are a bit congested as that can bring on powdery mildew, which can easily spread to the plants around, Hellebores, tulips and infect them. One year I had to cut away nearly all of the foliage on a clump of Hellebores where the mildew had spread and infected the leaves. 

Nasturtium

Thin out or pull out if the For-get-me-nots are not at their best.

 


In terms of annuals and bedding, the humble Nasturtium often gets overlooked but it is a great bedding plant; bold colours of orange, reds and yellows it trails and climbs. Nasturtiums are very forgiving as a bedding plant, needing little or no attention and the end of the season the seed is easily collected for next year. Plants for free an additional bonus.
 

Some bedding plants need a lot of attention, others are easier  it all depends how much time you have. High maintenance bedding are plants such as Ice plants, (Mesembryanthemum) Petunia, Verbena all of which need a deal of dead heading. Easier are Geranium (Pelargonium) Nasturtium, and schemes which combine some perennials such as Lavender, with grasses and Heliotrope. Gardening is very personal and for some it wouldn't be summer without baskets brimming with bedding, for others it's a chore too far.

 

 

Dead heading a quick garden job for June

Dead heading,  both annuals and perennials,  is always worth while as it is the removal of spent flowers from the plant which will prolong the flowering season. Plants produce flowers as part of their reproductive process as from the flowers come seed. Once seed is set the cycle is complete and generally a plant will reduce and eventually stop flowering. To keep plants flowering for as long as possible nip off the spent flowers. This is especially true of all bedding type plants along with nipping the growth to make the plants bushy.

Any plants you may want to self seed, such as Digitalis, or Aquilegia, do not dead head.

Geranium re growth after cutting backDead heading is also suitable for perennial plants although some plants will only flower once.

Perennial plants suitable for deadheading: Aster, Campanula, Delphinium and Digitalis (may produce lesser, second flush) Geum, Hemerocallis, Lavendula, Monarda, Nepeta, Phlox, Salvia, Scabious, Veronica, Rosa, Thalictrum. Not all will produce more flowers but deadheading will improve the appearance of the plant once flowering is finished.

Rather than dead heading, some plants are better cut back close to the ground which will make the plant produce fresh foliage and sometimes a later flush :  Alchemilla mollis, Geranium, Stachys, Heuchera.  In the image left the foliage of the Geranium was looking brown and tatty and it was cut back almost to the ground, and a couple of weeks later it has regrown into a nice lush plant. This applies equally to the foliage on Alchemilla mollis which can look really tatty by late June or July and the key is to cut it back to the ground and it will grow back with lovely fresh foliage. If you don't like looking at bare earth you can always cut it back before going on holiday.

If you are growing sweet peas dead heading is time well spent and is most important for sweet peas. If you have wondered why your sweet peas have stopped flowering early in the season, chances are they have not been dead headed and if you look closely there will be seed pods on the plant where there should be more flowers.

In early June especially in colder more exposed gardens it is not too late to Chelsea Chop suitable perennials. Advice about the Chelsea chop and video.

Bi Annuals

Erysimum 'berdon' wall flowerJune is a good time to sow Bi annuals which are plants which seed and grow one year, and flower the next, such as wall flowers and forget me nots. A favourite is Erysimum, common name Wall flower which is easy both to germinate and grow, with the added benefit of having lovely scented flowers, a strong sweet perfume which will drift around the garden. As one of the most scented spring and early summer flowering plants, it is well worth planting Wall flowers near a seating area such as a the patio to enjoy the scent. They are not very long lived plants. with a tendency to go woody after a year or so, but they do have the reward of a long flowering period often up to 8 weeks or more.

Not all varieties are scented, some such as Erysimum allioni, Cheiranthus allioni, Erysimum 'Apricot Twist' have scent but the very popular variety often sold at garden centres,  Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve'  has not, so it is best to check the label or buy when in flower so you can check. 

 Germinate Wallflowers by sowing into seed trays and cover with propagator or poly bag. Once seedings are a few centimetres high separate out into small pots and grow on until sturdy plants. It's good to plant out in the garden where you want them to flower around late summer/August time,  to get the plants get established before the winter.

With forget me nots seeding  is much easier as they self seed easily.  Simply pull up the spent flowers with seeds on ,  and shake the seed where you would like to see it next year, and this always works.

Clematis montana 'Elizabeth'By June, Clematis montana has finished flowering. This is one of the few Clematis which does not require pruning to encourage flowering, but it is vigorous and can be a bit of a monster. If it has grown too large, June after flowering is the time to prune it back to a manageable size. The fact that the C. montana does not require pruning makes it easier to grow and it gives a marvellous display in spring.  Some of the Montanas, are scented, for example, C. montana 'elizabeth' illustrated left which is vanilla scented.

For more information about growing and pruning Clematis

Clematis are a lovely showy garden plants which look great climbing up a fence, training down a wall and add height to a border when grown up an obelisk. There is advice and tips on growing Clematis and a link to Pinterest illustrated many different variety to help you choose a Clematis suitable for your garden.

What to Prune in June


New growth on pruned Rhododendron This is a safe time to prune shrubs which have already flowered such as Spiraea, Choisya, Camellia, Deutzia, Philadelphus.  Prune to reduce size, take out weedy branches, and to reduce leading shoots to make the shrub more bushy. I also prune at the bottom of the shrub where planted in a border to lift the canopy to allow more light and air for the plants growing around the shrub.

If needed, you can also hard prune Rhododendrons after flowering which could be May,  June or July depending on the variety. If the shrub has grown too big prune it back. It will look very bare and sorry for itself but after a few months will re grow. The shrub in the image left had grown over a path and was cut back hard to bare wood in parts. The light green is the new growth has come back very strong and already covered the pruned area.

If you are renovating it is a good idea to do this over a period of 2-3 years cutting back a bit each year.  If you are dead heading Rhododendrons, take care do not remove the embryo buds behind. 

Spring bulbs

Can be lifted, dried and stored now.  For some bulbs, particularly tulips and hyacinths these really do prefer to be lifted to encourage them into flower next year, if there is time. Alternatively you can remove spent flowers from tubs and baskets and plant into the borders for next year, maybe they flower, maybe not, but you can then re plant the tubs with summer bedding. It is worth buying the slow release fertiliser tablets to put into tubs and baskets to keep feeding when time is short its one less job to do.

Roses

Spray regularly with organic pest control to keep aphids and pests at bay, and feed.

 

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