June is one of the busiest months of the vegetable gardener’s year. Warmer weather and longer daylight hours make it the time to plant out any seedlings you have been raising – just make sure you protect them from slugs.
Like all plants, weeds put on a growth spurt in June taking up much-needed water and nutrition from your crops – so keep on top of them.
Mulch to suppress weeds and keep moisture from evaporating form the soil.
Net brassicas to prevent butterflies from laying their eggs and soft fruits to protect them from birds.
Carrot fly will become active as the weather warms up but cannot fly above two feet, so surround your carrots with mesh of that height.
Earth up potatoes so they don’t turn green die to exposure to the light.
Feed asparagus and leave the ferns to turn brown.
Build supports for beans and peas.
Feed tomatoes as soon as the flowers set and the tiny fruit appear.
Comfrey Tea Fertiliser
Comfrey tea is a free, organic and very smelly fertiliser which is rich in potassium and nitrogen. You will see lots of comfrey around the site at this time of year – if you don’t have any, ask your neighbours. Comfrey is very invasive, so if you are planning on planting it choose the variety Bocking 14, which is sterile so won’t self-seed.
Harvest comfrey leaves from established plants – wear gloves as they can irritate the skin. Fill a bucket about half to three-quarters full of comfrey leaves and place a brick on top of the leaves to press them down. Fill the container with water and cover to keep the flies out (and the smell in). The water will turn dark and very smelly in about 20 days. Dilute it by at least 50% percent before using. Comfrey tea is potent so a little goes a long way.
Wilted comfrey leaves can also be used as sheet-mulch manure. Place two or three layers around the base of plants or bury them in the soil 5cm deep next to crops including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, currants, gooseberries, and fruit trees; the high nitrogen and potassium content of the leaves will be almost immediately available to crops. Don’t use on leafy crops such as lettuce and spinach – the nitrogen boost may cause them to go to seed prematurely – or on rooting crops, such as carrots.
Tomatoes – feed with diluted liquid tomato feed once a week starting from when the first flowers show (feed is available in the Trading Hut Shop).
Watering : During June you will almost certainly start to water your crops. Watering is one of the hardest gardening tasks to get right, and one of the easiest to do wrong! In all watering tasks, aim for a good soak when needed, rather than a quick blast regardless.
Water the base of the plant not the foliage (which will attract slugs/ could cause sun damage to foliage), use a can with a rose or a very gentle spray on seedlings and young plants.
Weeding : use a hoe on warm, sunny days, or hand pull between rows.
Carrots : Carrot fly will become active as the weather warms up, so take preventative measures now by screening the area around your carrots with a 2 foot high barrier and enviro-mesh (available in the Trading Hut Shop) Carrot flies do not fly above two feet, so your carrots will be protected. It is the smell of the carrot which seems to attract them, so try not to disturb the carrots until you harvest. Very thin spread of the seed helps. If you have to thin your carrots, try doing it in the evening, when the carrot fly are not so active.
Netting : when planting out young brassicas, net them to prevent the Cabbage White butterfly laying her eggs, and to avoid pigeon damage later in the year.
If it has been a cold Spring, at this time, if you have already planted out tender plants, cover with cloches or fleece, until it warms up. If you haven’t already planted out, wait for warmer weather, the plants will catch up.