Gardening in June
Keep your pests in check: as your seedlings grow, their tender leaves will be the favourite snack of all kinds of pests, so check your garden weekly and manually remove pests, physically protect your plants and if necessary use the right biological control. Check my online class 'pest management as an organic gardener' for a full session on managing pests.
Water is key: Make sure your plants are well watered- we just went through an unusually hot period, and young plants need to be watered regularly and sufficiently, especially if you grow in containers. to check if watering is needed, pop your index finger in the soil all the way: if it’s dry - water now, if it’s moist- great but keep an eye on it as it will need watering soon, and if it’s soaking/ really wet - hold off your horses and do not water for a few days, or until you get to a ‘moist’ stage.
Get the best strawberries: if you grow strawberries, now is the critical time as the fruits are forming and ripening. Stop birds picking at them by netting your bed, and lay stray under the plants to avoid the fruits rotting where they are in contact with the ground.
Keep sowing: french and runner beans, peas, squashes. pumpkin and cucumber can still be sown now straight in the grown in their final location (you can also sow in modules of course). Turnips and Kohl Rabi (I love the 'Azur star' variety) can be sown now for an autumn crop. Keep sowing salad leaves and ensure they are in a semi shaded area as full sun might dry the plant and hinder growth.
Feed your soil: Keep your soil healthy by adding mulch to retain moisture (it can be compost, very fine wood chip or even grass clipping preferably mixed with compost or wood chips). If you have a wormery, use worm cast mixed in water (2 big handfuls for a 10l watering can) to water your plants every two weeks or so, especially your fruits like tomatoes, pepper, courgettes and chilli. No wormeries? You can make a good natural feed out of comfrey leaves by adding 10 crushed leaves to a couple of litres of boiling water, letting everything steep, and dilute the resulting feed around 1-10 to water your plants every two weeks (use gloves as comfrey leaves can be irritating).
Think about the pollinators: you winter brassicas will soon start to bolt (go to flower), and a simple way to support pollinators is to leave the plant to go to flower to provide food for insects. The second great thing is that most brassicas flowers are edible (and delicious), so you can add some lovely colours to your salads and toppings to your dips using kale flowers.
Prune your tomatoes: If you are growing indeterminate or ‘bush’ tomatoes, you are growing small bushy plants that don’t need much pruning. If you are growing ‘indeterminate’ or ‘vine’ tomatoes, then you are growing a plant that will need to be pruned to encourage fruiting, and supported as it grows tall with either bamboo sticks or string (like I did on the photo on the left). My next post later this month will be all about tomatoes, so keep your eyes peeled!