It’s irresistibly dangerous predicting the weather in a monthly magazine, but after such a cold spring, the wind centred in the northeast may treat us to a flaming June. Even if not, June is a busy month.
We have been putting thick layers of compost mulch between plants after hoeing out any weeds. It boosts strong growth, holds moisture and suppresses weeds. This increases soil life, worms come up to feed on it and the plants absorb the worm casts.
Moisture is key in a hot month, beans and courgettes need moisture to set fruit. If these plants failed on your first attempt, there is still time to start again in pots on a warm windowsill or greenhouse. For best results, when planting them out give them a deep watering, preferably through a thick compost mulch.
Nip out broad bean tops as soon as you see blackfly on them. Last year was the first for a long time when we had no blackfly at all, but keep your eyes open. All broad beans and peas around here have been stunted by hostile spring weather, only a foot tall and yet flowering in mid-May, so it’ll be interesting to see how big a crop we get.
What to sow this month
There really isn’t much you can’t sow in June, the only issue is keeping seeds moist—we will leave modules in a cool and shady spot until they germinate if it’s hot.
As gaps appear after first harvests make sure you fill the space with either transplants or sowings of beetroot, dwarf French beans, swede, cucumber, lettuce, swiss chard and bulb fennel. Sweetcorn sown early June should mature in October. It’s the perfect month for sowing carrots for winter use, keep the seedbed well watered. In clay soils, it’s best to water carrots weekly or they will split if there is Glastonbury-type rain. As the roots push up out of the soil, earth up over them, or apply a thick mulch between the rows..
Sow winter brassicas, sprouts and kale. Spacing of these dictates size of the plant—24” spacings for large, 15” for small cabbage hearts. Brassicas take a lot of space and will fill your garden with winter fodder.
After midsummer, it’s time to sow radicchio and endives, if you like them, as late summer is tricky for lettuce. Endives are ‘cut and come again’, radicchio hearts will be ready in autumn for a splash of colour.
All this talk of dry weather will surely make it rain cats and dogs if so try not to step in a poodle