June is the month of strawberries and roses, of the first new season fresh vegetables and of gorgeous flowers blooming everywhere you look. It is a wonderful time to be in the garden.
Unfortunately, weeds and grass grow just as quick as the flowers at this time of the year! Taking a little time each week to remove weeds from flowerbeds will keep them looking good. Make sure you wear gloves if removing any thistles or nettles as these can be very uncomfortable to touch.
Lawns should be mown regularly, at least once a week unless the weather turns very dry. The more rain there is, the more lush the grass will grow. If left for any length of time, lawns can quickly look more akin to a small meadow than a garden lawn. Trim round the edges of flowerbeds with a grass trimmer. This will prevent grass growing into the flowerbed and making it harder to weed.
Plant out French beans, runner beans, sweetcorn and tomato seedlings. They will grow very rapidly over the next few weeks. Watch the soil for any signs of slugs appearing in your garden as they will destroy leafy greens and young plants very quickly. Nematodes are the best answer to dealing with slugs as they will kill slugs quite rapidly. Applying nematodes is quite simple as all you have to do is add them to your watering can when you water the garden. There is no risk to animals or children, as nematodes are a natural organism already present in small numbers within the soil. All that you are doing is adding enough extra material to deal with the problem of slugs. Once the slugs are dead, the number of nematodes reduces naturally to a normal level.
Harvest strawberries and leafy vegetables from the garden as soon as they are ripe. This will encourage additional cropping. Asparagus can be harvested until mid June.
With roses in bloom and strawberries ripe for harvesting, summer has definitely arrived in the garden. The long days and short nights offer maximum growing time for plants – and for weeds! This is a month when everything in the garden seems to grow extra fast.
Spending time hoeing the garden is absolutely essential as the weeds can quickly overtake precious plants. Hoe regularly to keep weeds under control. This will also keep the surface of the ground friable so that rain can easily enter the soil. Dry spells are common at this time of the year and newly planted annuals can quickly wilt if they are not kept well watered.
As you go round the garden keep watch on tall plants. They may need staking to give them some support, especially for heavy flower heads. Prune spring flowering shrubs, and remove dead flowers. Thin out large clumps of bluebells and daffodils as soon as the leaves start to yellow and die back. Replant the surplus bulbs under trees and other gaps within your flowerbeds. Tie in climbing plants such as honeysuckle and clematis.
Take a look at your hanging baskets as plants may be growing so quickly that they become leggy. Cut off the surplus grow to create bushy growth that will make a much better display as the summer progresses, and will also make the plant more drought resistant.
Pinch out sideshoots on tomatoes growing in the greenhouse as this will encourage fruits to develop. Cover the windows with shading to diffuse the heat of the sun and prevent plants from scorching. Keep watch on temperatures and be prepared to open windows as necessary.
In the vegetable patch, there will be many crops ready for harvesting including lettuce, radish, spring onions and early potatoes. Have seeds ready to re-sow for new salad crops in a few weeks time. Tie up runner beans as they will be growing very fast and plant out tender vegetables such as courgettes, squash and cucumbers.
June is always a wonderful time in the garden. Flowers bloom profusely, and the roses begin opening releasing their incredible fragrance. Simply strolling around the garden is a fantastic experience, especially in the evening twilight.
It also means that there is much to be done in the garden. Weeds continue to grow rapidly, as does the grass in the lawns. Hoeing is a continuous task, likewise mowing the lawn. Done regularly, it keeps the garden looking good throughout the summer.
Now that there is no fear of any frosts, you can plant out summer bedding plants like petunias, marigolds and lobelia. They are great for filling in gaps within the garden and, if kept well watered, they will quickly establish and expand rapidly.
Plant up containers and hanging baskets. Add moisture retentive granules to the soil mix so that water is released steadily throughout the day, keeping the plants in top condition and encouraging flower development.
Lift and divide over crowded clumps of snowdrops, bluebells, and daffodils as soon as the leaves begin to turn yellow.
In the vegetable garden, plant out tender crops such as French beans, outdoor tomatoes, courgettes and sweetcorn. Harvest salad crops regularly to ensure a constant crop of leaves, re-sowing on a fortnightly basis. Early potatoes will be ready for harvesting this month. Dig these up carefully as the small tubers can be easily overlooked.
Greenhouse windows should be covered in shade paint this month to prevent over heating in sunny weather. Open vents and doors to allow heat to disperse, and on really hot days damp down the surfaces to deter outbreaks of red spider mite. Elsewhere in the garden watch out for slugs appearing. Check the undersides of pots and containers as they often hide in these sheltered spots during the day time. Use some Nemaslug on the vegetable patch or around vulnerable plants.
Clip box, privet and yew hedges to keep them looking good and well shaped. Add the clippings to the compost heap, along with grass clippings. Turn the heap regularly to keep it well aerated. If it starts to look a little dry, add more leafy green material such as grass clippings. Always remember that you need a good mix of materials in order to ensure that the compost develops properly.