Here is our Gardeners’ Diary entry for the month of June.
June is the month when we get the summer solstice and the month with some of the longest days of the year. We get extra light and more warmth throughout the midsummer month. Here at Grow West, June is the month where our growing really steps up a notch and we always get a big burst of growth across all of our growing areas. Our flowers start blossoming, there are lots of vegetables to harvest and plants (and weeds) seem to grow minute by minute. Extra sun means extra watering and hoeing to keep on top of the gardening. It is an exciting month in the garden and there are LOTS of things to do to make the best of it.
In the veggie garden…
June is the month when certain crops start getting ready for harvest and from then on, the rest of the summer is filled with lots of fantastic fruit and veg. In June, we are able to start harvesting lettuce and radishes, along with other salad leaves which are all perfect for making summer salads. Thankfully, these grow very well at Grow West, and fast too, which means we get a good amount of salad leaves to go in our veg boxes throughout the summer months. We tend to replant every two weeks to give us a steady supply of leaves!
June is also when we see our first crop of early potatoes and boy oh boy they taste good! But potato season is quite a long one so as well as harvesting, we will be planting more to fill our veg boxes during the summer. If you are growing your own potatoes at home, once you’ve planted them make sure you continue to earth them up as soon as they emerge above ground. Simply draw some soil over the top of the shoots to cover them again. You’ll also want to keep the compost of newly planted potatoes moist. If it is a warm June with little rain, you’ll need to keep on top of this! However, if we get some classic British summer rain, take care not to overwater your potatoes as this compacts the soil, squeezes out the oxygen and prevents the developing tubers from swelling.
June is also the month for planting out cabbages, courgettes, squash and sweetcorn. However, it is also the month when cabbage root fly and carrot fly are about (and very hungry!). To protect your delicate veg, use brassica collars on your cabbages and horticultural fleece to cover the rest of your veg.
With the extra sun and light, make sure you keep on top of your weeding across the board! If you want to get a good harvest from your veg patch or allotment, you want to ensure they don’t have to compete with weeds for light, water and nutrients.
In the greenhouse…
With June often being a warm, dry month, plants in a greenhouse need some extra TLC to ensure they stay healthy. We’ve had many a June/July at Grow West where the weather has gone warm and some of our plants have gone into shock from the heat (as have we!).
As a general rule, we suggest keeping a close eye on all the plants in your greenhouse throughout the month – we certainly do. If you can, use blinds or apply share paint to prevent your greenhouse from overheating. If you can’t, on warm days you want to ensure the vents and doors to your greenhouse are open to help with airflow and prevent any overheating.
Due to the heat in a greenhouse, soil can dry out very quickly. Check your plants daily and water them if the soil is dry. Try and do this outside of the heat of the day (first thing in the morning and the evening is the best time) to prevent any burning of leaves. If you want to be mega fancy, you can install an automated drip irrigation system, but our fantastic growers like doing it manually here at Grow West as it also gives us a chance to check for pests and the like.
Talking of pests…when it is hot, one of the best things you can do for your greenhouse is to damp it down to help increase the humidity. This will help to deter spider plants which you really, really don’t want!
For us, June and July are our big tomato months in the greenhouse! In previous years we’ve had greenfly attacks but this year and last, we’ve had great success in manually keeping on top of any pests by doing daily checks and brushing any off. We also start pinching our side shoots in June. Every time we water, we check the plant for any shoots sprouting just above each leaf, from the joint between the lead and the stem. You can pot these up to create new tomato plants – you’ll soon have a tomato glut!
In the flower garden…
Like in the vegetable garden and in the greenhouse, watering and weeding is key for flower beds in June. We regularly hoe our flower beds to keep weeds at bay and water daily to keep plants nice and healthy.
Our sweet peas always start coming through in June so to encourage more blooms throughout the season, we start to pick them as soon as we can. They make lovely summer flowers and always look beautiful in a small vase dotted around the house.
We also start deadheading in June for some of our flower varieties. This helps to encourage new growth and helps to extend the period of time your plants are flowering. It works particularly well for repeat-flowering types of roses and for flowers like oriental poppies.
With lots of extra light and (hopefully) extra water from your daily watering, you’ll find that plants in your flower bed will shoot up! As great as this is, you want to ensure you provide the right support to your plants throughout this growth spurt! Ensure you thin out drifts of hardy annuals if they are overcrowded to ensure they don’t try and outcompete each other. You also want to stake any tall perennial plants to prevent wind damage. When the temperature is warm enough, you can start planting out summer bedding plants, transferring them from the greenhouse to beds, borders, containers or hanging baskets, which will add life and colour to your garden. June is the month we start creating our hanging baskets and it is one of our favourite times of the year! Our colourful hanging baskets bring joy to our customers and to everyone at Grow West.
If you are putting together a hanging basket yourself, harden off and move your hanging basket and containers from the greenhouse into their final position. You’ll find that over the next couple of months, they’ll grow quickly! If they become ‘leggy’ trim off any excess which will encourage bushy new growth!
Catch you next month in our next edition of the Gardeners’ Diary! Happy gardening!