As Midsummer approaches, the garden and wild reach a cacophony of growth, with an almost luminous green surrounding us in hedgerows and our garden spaces. Already, stunning blooms charm us in the (sometime) sunshine and magical late evening night. Take a moment to treasure this time, it’s incredibly special- to think on all the growth that has happened in 6 months is something to behold. Here follows some great jobs to be getting on with this month to help you give the garden a little helping hand this month… (if it needs it at all..!)
Protect and Maintain…
June is traditionally Wedding season, as there’s not that much to do this month when it comes to growing and harvesting, but there’s always weeding to be done and water to be collected. If you haven’t already, why not invest in a water butt to make the most of these torrential downpours we’ve been having lately? Plants really prefer rainwater to that of the tap variety, and it is so much better for the environment. If a hosepipe ban comes along (it may well do!) you’ll be prepared.
Weeding is something you either secretly love or loathe- either way it can’t really be put off at the moment, as the tenacity of growth from plant competitors is at an all time high. Make sure your plants get the best chance and give the best show by clearing thistle, bindweed and grasses which all take a hold in June. It’s only natural for plants to want to grow and cover the bare earth- it’s nature’s way of preventing desertification, but maybe consider using a mulch such as woodchip or hay around your plants to keep the moisture in, and the unwanted weeds out.
Check plants for aphids and mites- these seem to be especially attacking apple trees this year, perhaps due to the fluctuations in temperature. By far the best natural non-toxic pest control we have used in Neem Oil, which is available online. Dilute two teaspoons in a little of water and place in a pump sprayer. Spray the whole plant and watch the infestation subside from the next day- it stops the pests that feed on sap from reproducing and eating , but won’t harm beneficial insects like ladybirds and hover flies.
Continue to net strawberries, soft fruit and leafy greens from attack from birds and deer.
Prune and Deadhead…
If you’re lucky enough to have lots of sweet peas, then keep picking the stunning blooms- in return you will get an abundance of more flowers.
Dead head roses as soon as they have gone past their best to stop seed production and ensure more beautiful blooms, and oriental poppies can now also be deadheaded and cut back to encourage fresh growth.
Fuchsia tips can be pinched out to create more bushy growth, and tulips and daffodils can now safely be cut back or dug up and divided, as long as their foliage is completely brown and withered, as it should now be. This means that all the green has returned to the bulb as next years energy, and means good blooms.
Deadheading simply means to pinch out a flower head once it has bloomed to prevent it from going to seed. This energy can now be used to create more flowers and extends the blooming time of the plant.
Sow and Harvest…
You should be able to start harvesting the first strawberries, peas and lettuce leaves this month. If you have a strawberry plant that is producing exceptional fruit, and you would like to transplant it elsewhere, or give as a gift, pop one of the runners in a pot and a plant will start to form. It can then be detached from the ‘Mother’ plant, and relocated to bring more delicious fruit to another garden or allotment perhaps..
Pick peas early for mangetout, leave for traditional garden peas, or once the plant is getting to the end of its season, leave a couple of pods to dry for seed, and harvest once they are papery and brown.
Be sure to keep sowing lettuce leaves such as cut and come again varieties, Rocket and lambs lettuce are also great performers. Growing in the shade or under a pair of net curtains in a cold frame is a good idea if the weather is exceptionally warm, as this prevents them from running to seed. Also Peas, Beetroot, Swede, Carrots,Kale and Rainbow Chard can still be sown now, up until August for successive cropping.