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Gardening Jobs Ė June

June is a lovely month in the garden. The mad rush to get everything planted has passed, and all the plants are growing well. Now is the time to tend your plants, to really look after them, water them if the weather is dry, ensure pests are kept at bay, and keep the weeds down. June is also the month where you start to harvest some of your lovely fresh vegetables, such as broad beans, salad, baby carrots and beetroot!

The Vegetable Patch

Start picking
Broad beans will be ready this month. Pick them while they are still small and tender. Crunchy young carrots can be pulled up, thinning your crop for larger carrots later in the year. Salad crops and peas will also be ready.

Sow/plant out winter brassicas
Sow kale, calabrese, purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower for use over winter and early next year. They can either be sown under cover or in an outside seed bed, before being transplanted to their final position later in the year.

Weed regularly
Like your vegetables, the weeds are in full growth now. Regular hoeing between rows will keep them down. Pick out weeds around your vegetable plants carefully so as not to disturb the roots of your veg. If your patch has been well dug then the weeds normally come up pretty easily.
Wage war on pests
This is a time when pests suddenly become more apparent. It is easy to spot blackfly on broad bean, French bean and runner bean plants. Squish them between your fingers or spray with horticultural soap. Antís running up and down your plants is a tell-tale sign that there are aphids about. Pests like weeds too, so make sure you weed regularly and thoroughly.

Provide support for beans and peas
Runner beans may need a bit of help to start climbing. Just twist them around the poles to get them started. Provide twigs and sticks for peas to hold onto. Tie in any other plants that need supporting, such as tomatoes.

Sow successional crops
Towards the end of the month, sow another batch of French beans, peas, runner beans and courgette to plant out later in the summer as space becomes available. This will maximise your growing season, and mean you will be harvesting into October!

Water regularly
Vegetables need plenty of water in order to grow. If the weather is dry, water frequently. The best time to do this is either early in the morning or later in the evening when there will be less evaporation.

Plant all greenhouse crops
Crops to be grown in the greenhouse should be in their final positions by now, either planted in the ground, large pots or grow-bags. These include tomatoes, cucumber, sweet pepper (capsicum), chillies and aubergines.

Start feeding tomato plants and other container-grown vegetables
Once the first flowers have set on the tomatoes, start feeding once a week with a high potash liquid tomato feed. I have used both Tomorite and Phostrogen plant food with good success. Other plants such as sweet peppers, chillies, cucumbers and all vegetables grown in containers or grow bags will all benefit from regular feeding.

Plant out frost sensitive crops
All frosts should have passed by now, so plant out all tender crops that you have raised under cover, such as cucumbers, sweetcorn, French and runner beans.

Stop harvesting your asparagus by the longest day
Once weíve reached the longest day, stop cutting your asparagus and leave the spears to develop into tall ferny growth. Fertilize once you have stopped harvesting.

The Fruit Garden

Protect strawberries from birds
Birdís will eat your strawberries before they are fully ripe! Use netting or horticultural fleece to protect them. Squirrels also like strawberries and will chew through netting, so use fleece which hides the ripening strawberries if they are frequent visitors to your garden.

Protect cherries from birds and rain
As your cherries start to ripen, protect them from rain and birds. Rain on the fruit can cause the skins to split, so protect using polythene covers suspended above the tree.

Propagate your own strawberries
Propagate gate new plants from the runners put out by the main plants. Peg down the small plants at the end of the runners into some potting compost, and leave until the roots are established before cutting from the main plant. This is a good way to increase your plants and provide replacements for older ones.

Support raspberry canes
As your raspberry canes grow, depending on the support system you are using, tie them to your wires, or ensure they are growing up through your wires. Pull up any suckers that appear between rows.
Water all soft fruit regularly, especially blueberries and cranberries
All soft fruit requires plenty of water to ensure good cropping, especially if they are grown in containers. Blueberries and cranberries, in particular, are very thirsty plants and should be watered regularly with rain water.

Other Gardening Jobs

Keep your lawn well mown
Regular mowing of your lawn will keep the grass in great shape. Donít cut it too short or youíll end up with brown patches when the weather is dry. June is a good month for top dressing and fertilizing your lawn as the grass will be in full growth.

Most of allÖ Enjoy your garden
June is a wonderful month. The days are long and the weather is warm. Sit in the sunshine with your favourite drink to hand, and enjoy all your hard work!

Michael Gourlay Chairman

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