Make the most of your plot this month
Can a warm, peaceful summer evening in the garden be beaten? We’re now at that beautiful time of year where things are really starting to happen, and with a bit of gentle maintenance, enjoyment of your plot will be guaranteed for the whole season. Now’s the time to proudly display your hanging baskets, move your indoor plants outside and protect your greenhouse (if you’ve got one) with shade paint. The good news is that you’ve likely already done most of the hard work, so now it’s time to relax into a gentle routine of care and maintenance that will keep things looking shipshape.
- Plant out your summer bedding: the time has finally come! Now that the risk of frost has safely passed, it’s time to get your colourful summer bedding plants settled in borders and containers. Some suggestions for easy and beautiful bedding plants include: Begonia, which thrives in both sunlight and shade; Petunias, with their dramatic colourful blooms; Sweet peas, vigorous climbers that will provide lots of delicate flowers, and architectural Antirrhinum for adding height variety and attracting those pollinating bees! Don’t forget to use good compost and a nutrient-rich liquid feed throughout the summer to give your blooms a real boost.
- Keep on top of weeding: we’re never out of the woods in terms of weeds, and at this time of year it’s crucial not to take your eye off the ball. When weeding in your garden, it’s a good idea to retrace your steps to make sure you’ve got everything.
- Get pruning: make sure to keep on top of pruning and deadheading your hardy perennials. Geraniums, camellias, repeat-flowering roses and Oriental poppies benefit from being cut right back to the ground after they’ve finished flowering. This will stimulate a new growth of foliage, so you can expect to enjoy more flowers next year, or even later in the summer. Don’t skimp on the pruning!
- In the veg garden: if you’ve been greenhouse growing tender veg like courgettes, squash, beetroot and kohlrabi, you can now safely move them outside. Salad leaves and spring onions are also great for delivering a super quick and tasty crop. Thompson & Morgan have created a really helpful list for other fruits and veg to plant out in June – check out their article here.
- Harvest time: reap the fruits of your labour by harvesting salad leaves, potatoes, onions and garlic. Once the leaves on onions and garlic start to turn yellow, they’re ready to be picked. Also, don’t forget that June 21st marks the official end of asparagus season, so if you’re lucky enough to be growing these tasty green spears then make sure to get them harvested in time!
- Berry good: create a bed of straw under soft fruit plants to help prevent rot and protect the berries from ants and slugs. At this time of year losing some fruit is to be expected, but thin out any excess branches on the bushes to prevent excess fruit dropping.
- Be drought smart: if you’re in a drought prone area, it’s important to conserve water. Though it may sound counter-intuitive, when watering your plants it’s a good idea to create a mini ‘lake’ around the base, so that the water soaks right through the soil and reaches where it needs to be rather than evaporating on the surface. Additionally, a water barrel is a great addition to any garden, collecting water from rainfall year round to water your garden in times of need.
It’s also really important to remember the great efforts of bugs and bees in our gardens – and bees are having a really hard time at the moment. Friends of the Earth have launched an app for the Great British Bee Count, so why not download this to your smartphone to play your part in tracking and helping bees up and down the country?
This is an amazing time of year, and I’m sure we’ll all be glad to kick back, relax and appreciate the fruits of our efforts during the summer. Enjoy!