What To Do In The Garden In June

June Gardening - Hanging BasketsJune is open season in the garden, pretty much anything goes this month. Summer baskets and patio containers can be safely put on show, and beds and borders can be filled with your favourite summer flowers. All plants raised indoors or under glass through spring can now be planted out. Harvesting of your earliest vegetable sowings will begin in earnest and further sowing can be made outside.  With space becoming available in greenhouses and on windowsills you can start to plan sowings of biennials and perennials for next year’s displays,  and winter bedding can be sown ready for planting out in autumn.
Watering, weeding and feeding become essential jobs this month, and if you grow fruit and vegetables you’ll need to start thinking about protecting your crops from hungry birds.  Rolls of netting, fruit cages and net tunnel cloches will need to be called on.

We have a wide range of tips and advice to keep you more than busy through June, but don’t forget to take the time to sit back and enjoy the rewards of all your hard labours of spring as summer sets the garden underway.

Night Phlox Midnight Candy - June GardeningIn the flower garden

Still time to sow fast annuals
Running behind on the sowing season? There is still time to sow fast flowering hardy annuals in pots or borders for colour in as little as 6-8 weeks. If it’s fast colour you are after, sow the following in the next week or so: nasturtiums, night phlox, calendula, poached egg plant, swan river daisy, Californian poppy

Sowing perennials
A mix of hardy herbaceous perennials is an essential element in any successful border planting, adding seasonal shape, colour and interest for many years with minimal upkeep.

Costly as container-grown plants, perennials are no more difficult to start from seed than the more commonly sown hardy annuals. So for the relatively low cost of a few packets of seed you can plant up large areas with perennial permanence. You will also find varieties in our perennial seed range that are rarely, if ever, available to buy as mature plants. If you are looking for an extra special perennial for your garden borders and patio containers you really have to start with seed.

By sowing perennial flower seed in June, plants have time to put on good foliage and root growth before resting over winter. This gives them the reserves to grow strongly the following spring and offer good floral colour through the first summer and many more to come.

With so many to choose from, here is our top 10 perennial picks to give you a taste:

Carnation Picotee Fantasy Mix striking blend of scented stripes and picotees
Hardy Geranium Splish Splash – Masses of large striped blooms
Scabious Border Mixed Seeds – attracts bees and butterflies
Veronica Rose Tones – Good for borders and cutting
Echinacea PowWow Wild Berry – essential late season colour
Aubrietia Cascade Mixed – beautiful spring flower cushions
Delphinium Pacific Giants Mixed – tall elegant spires
Lupin Russell Mixed – Impressive early summer colour
Meconopsis alba – spectacular white flowered form of Himalayan poppy
Iceland poppy superb in cottage gardens

All Mr Fothergill’s seeds come with sowing and growing instructions, but for more detail read our handy sowing guide here

Interestingly, many of the shorter lived perennials are better treated as biennials, looking best in their second year and losing their lustre in their third and fourth years. Aquilegia, hollyhocks, lupins, sweet williams and many other popular perennials can be raised this way for better garden displays. We will look at biennials more closely next month.

Antirrhinum Candelabra™ Mixed F1 Plants - June GardeningTop tips for heavenly hanging baskets

Nothing shouts summer like a stunning hanging basket displays. Get the best from your baskets this summer with our simple tips for success:

  • Always use the largest basket and best quality compost that fits your budget
  • Mix water retaining gel with compost to get plants through the heat of the day
  • Mix slow release fertiliser with the compost or offer regular liquid feeds
  • A good planting rule for baskets with side planting is 1 plant per diameter inch, so for a 12in basket use 12 plants.
  • Halve this for baskets with no side planting capacity (6 plants to a 12in basket)
  • Add upright plants in the centre and trailing plants around the side.
  • Add one or two foliage plants for extra interest and texture
  • Remove the first flowers after planting up. Plants will concentrate on rooting and branching for a short period, and better flowering will occur as a result
  • Water regularly – at least once a day during peak of summer, and best done early morning or late evening
  • While watering, remove any spent flowers to prevent seeding and encourage a succession of blooms right through summer.
  • Add a basket tomato plant to your displays for an extra treat through summer.
  • Baskets can be heavy – do not water them until they are hung safely in place.

Gardening Weeding - JuneOther jobs for June:
Weed Control
Keep borders weed free with regular  hoeing of any open soil, and inspect closely around the base of ornamental plants – weeds have an annoying habit of quietly establishing right in the crown of prized border plants, making their removal difficult if deep roots are allowed to develop.
Planting out
Early June onwards is the time to plant for seasonal summer displays. All frost tender plants raised under glass through spring can now be put on show. To get the best from your summer borders see our handy planting guide here.
Slug and snail patrol
We’ve all fallen foul of slugs and snails in the garden. They hit indiscriminately, both in the border and the vegetable patch – even patio pot plants aren’t safe! Keep slugs from your prized plants this summer with one or more of the following:
Slug Pellets: Try to avoid chemical versions; bird-safe organic pellets are available and just as effective.

Material barrier: Get rid of slugs without killing them with Slug Gone. These wool pellets are placed around plants to fluff up and create a barrier or irritating fibres that the slugs won’t pass over.

Beer traps: Slugs dip in for a drink and can’t get back out again. Effective but a horrible mess to pour away!

‘Citrus shells’: Place your finished breakfast grapefruit or half a scooped out orange upside down in the border – slugs will gather below it and you can destroy them as you see fit.

Copper tape: Place copper tape around patio pots to create a barrier that slugs don’t like to pass over (they can still get through drainage holes though!).

Porridge oats: Place a dish of oats outside for the slugs to eat. It will expand once eaten, killing off the slugs.
Natural nematodes: Nemyslug is a natural biological control employing microscopic nematodes to do the nasty work for you. It is simply mixed into watering can and applied to soils every six weeks.

Veg patch - June GardeningOn the veg patch

Plant out half hardy and tender vegetable plants
Half hardy and frost tender vegetables raised under glass through spring can be planted out in earnest this month. It pays to acclimatise them first – frosts may be gone, but cold winds can still do damage. Place plants outside by day and move back under cover each evening for a few days before planting in the final positions.
Make a second tender sowing
Having planted out you can make another sowing for a second, later harvest.
Courgettes, squash, French beans, runner beans, sweet corn and tender herbs can all be direct sown this month.
Tips for tender veg:

  • Don’t plant too many courgettes – 2 or 3 plants should be plenty for an average household
  • Plant sweet corn in blocks rather than rows to improve pollination and cob setting
  • Plant dwarf beans in blocks rather than rows so the plants help support each other.
  • Give pumpkins and squashes plenty of room for their vine-like ground growth. For the largest pumpkins and squashes, pinch out all new flowers after 3 or 4 fruits have set.
  • Make sure to give peppers, tomatoes, chillies, aubergines, cucumbers and melons the sunniest spot when growing them outside, ideally sheltered from cold winds.

Other vegetables to sow outdoors this month:
Beetroot, carrots, broccoli, kale, peas, and salad leaves, spring onions,  swede, Swiss chard, turnips, winter cabbage, radish, endives, lettuce, Oriental leaves, radish, spinach.
For the longest harvest window and freshest crops from your summer vegetables, divide the remaining growing space to allow furthers sowings every two weeks through to mid-July. This should keep you picking into October- and possibly right through winter with hardy types.

In the greenhouse
Greenhouse crops should be in their final positions now.
In the Mr Fothergill’s polytunnel we grow our tomatoes cucumbers and melons in 10 litre bucket pots, but good results can also be had in growing bags.
We grow all our peppers and chillies in small 3 litre pots and then set these into growing bags, three per bag. The plants soon root through the pots into the bags which act as a feed and water reservoir. We have had our best ever results since adopting this method, and we urge you to give it a try.

Try something different: Three sisters planting
Take a tip from the Native Americans who grew sweet corn, pumpkins and climbing beans together in a symbiotic relationship, known as three sisters planting. A pumpkin is planted in the centre, surrounded by a block of sweet corn and a bean plant is added next to each sweet corn. Each vegetable draws on a different key nutrient to maintain growth, avoiding any major competition, and each helps the other in different ways:

  • Pumpkins (or squashes if you prefer) shade the soil and retain moisture with their large leaves
  • Sweet corn provides a climbing support for the beans
  • Beans fix nitrogen in the soil helping support the other two crops

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