It’s hard to believe that we’ve spent so much time in May trying to prevent polytunnel covers from flying away or ripping to shreds in the wind! It has been such a cold start to the growing season, but with warmer weather coming in now, June looks set to be the new May. You may well have lost plants over the past few weeks, but you can still re-plant and enjoy a good crop at the end of the summer.
Here’s what to expect over the next month, from what to plant to pests & diseases to look out for…
What to plant
Don’t worry if you haven’t planted anything yet, you can plant nearly anything in June and get great results! With long daylight hours, warmer soil and (hopefully) some better weather, plants grow brilliantly this month and you’ll see them shoot up quite quickly once planted in your veg patch.
The more tender, heat-loving veg can normally be planted out this month too, like tomatoes, cucumbers and so on. Keep an eye on temperatures though, and keep them under cover if it’s still a bit chilly. It’s also a great time to plant sweetcorn, root veggies and brassicas for a fabulous crop in autumn.
If you’ve already got lots growing, it’s a great idea to plant smaller plants, like spring onions, carrots and beetroots in any of the gaps that pop up in your plot. Potted fruits can be planted up and you’re likely to get a crop from them this year. And of course herbs can be planted in June to produce lots of fragrant leaves to use almost immediately.
If you planted out beans, squash or peas last month and have lost them in the bad weather, then now is a good time to try again, with hopefully better results!
What to harvest
If you managed to get lettuces, spinach and chard planted last month then you should be able to start harvesting the outer leaves for some tasty salads. Beets and carrots are fairly quick, too, so you could expect to harvest a few towards the end of the month, and you may even see a few pea pods appearing. The trick is to check things regularly as everybody will be working to slightly different timeframes depending on when they were able to plant and where in the country they are.
If you had established strawberry plants growing from last year, then these are likely to crop a bit earlier than newly planted strawberries. Look out for gooseberries and currants beginning to come through over the next few weeks too. Don’t forget to protect them from birds!
Pests & Problems
June can be quite a battle as you try to keep your young plants protected from pests, diseases and other threats. These are the most common problems to watch out for right now:
- Slugs & Snails – watch out they will be hiding somewhere close, ready to strike on a drizzly night!
- Cabbage white caterpillars – keep an eye out for butterflies flitting around your brassicas and regularly inspect leaves for eggs and caterpillars.
- Blight – it doesn’t normally strike yet, but it is worth picking off the lower leaves of tomato plants so that they are not touching the soil, and making sure you water potatoes in the morning rather than evening to give plants a chance to dry off. This will help to prevent blight later on in the season.
- Drought – make sure your plants have plenty of water during dry spells. Prod a finger into the soil to see how far down there is moisture, and if it’s dry then plants will need a good watering.
- Bolting – some of the mustard/oriental leaves are likely to bolt during dry spells. Try mulching them and keep them well watered to prevent this.
- Rabbits – watch out for these naughty ones! They’ll have a feast in your veg garden given half a chance!
- Weeds – be sure to keep on top of weeds at this time of year. Regular hoeing is the simplest method.