June is one of my favourite months, the countryside is looking lush and green, there’s still lots of cow parsley filling the road-sides and the roses in the garden are at their absolute best.
Long days, sunshine and warm soil make the begining of the summer a great time for vegetable growing, and there’s more chance of seeds germinating, which is always encouraging.
Beetroot, carrots, radish seeds can be sown directly into the soil.
- make a straight line with a stick
- water the little trough it makes, check the packet for details of how deep to sow and stick a label in so you know exactly whats there
- once they start to come through and have at least four leaves on them it’s time to thin them, take out the smallest ones so there’s plenty of room for the strongest ones to develop.
Salad leaves are one of the easiest things to grow, they’ll be happy in some shade rather than a hot, dry place. You can grow them in those modular seed trays that have little compartments and keep them in the greenhouse, transplanting them as baby plant into the garden. Sow just a few of all these seeds every couple of weeks so you get a continuous supply.
Have you got any fresh herbs growing? As well as the shrubby herbs like rosemary and sage, it’s great to have the softer ones parsley, coriander and dill. Sow them directly into the soil in a sunny spot that has well-drained soil, again, sow a few seeds again in a couple of weeks time to keep the supply going.
Keep on weeding, hoeing them on a sunny morning, and leaving them where they are so they shrivel in the sun.
One of the best ways to avert pest attack and diseases is to check everything daily, if possible, wandering round the garden and inspecting plants is about the best task there is, and you can catch problems before they really take over.
Keep an eye out for slugs, aphids and snails, I toss the snails out onto the grass in the hope that a bird will come along and devour them. Gardening organically seems to be working quite well here, there aren’t as many birds as I’d like but a slow-worm and toads have been seen, and they eat lots of pests, so maybe there’s a good balance… we’ve been here for sixteen months and the garden had been neglected, so it’s unlikely that any chemicals have been used here for a few years.. You may have a different way of dealing with pests, but please don’t use chemicals or slug pellets as they set off a whole chain reaction, possibly killing birds that eat poisoned slugs.
The gooseberries are fattening up very nicely, along with white and red-currants, they need summer pruning now, shortening new side-shoots, these are pale green without any fruit on them, so only five leaves, or so, are left.
I’m watering plants as efficiently as I can, early morning is best, but that’s not easy, so it’s usually done in the early evening. The mulched soil holds the water much better and I’m careful to water the soil around the base of the plants and not splash it around the leaves, it’s a small thing but I don’t want to waste any precious water.
I’ve got elderflower cordial to make, how about you, are you making anything with your fruit and vegetables?
all photos: Jill Anderson