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Planning Retirement Online

The Kitchen Garden  

                                     June 2010

Vegetables and Herbs 

Broad beansJune should normally bring us some hot sunshine and, with the risk of frost now passed, those in the north should start to catch up with their southerly neighbours.
Also with the lengthening days there is no excuse for not getting on with things! Don`t worry too much about the exact dates for doing certain jobs, just work with the weather and your situation.

One of the main priorities in summer is keeping the weeds down. I prefer to do this regularly with a sharp hoe on a dry day when the weeds are just seedlings, that way they cannot recover as the remnants of their roots dry out quickly. Try to sharpen the hoe before you start and rub the stone over it now and then if necessary during the work. This really is the easiest way that I have found.

We should be able to start harvesting this month, particularly salad stuff, lettuce, radish, spring onion and maybe summer cabbage and early carrots. Thinning out the crop is important too and you can enjoy the thinnings of most vegetables in salads or just steamed lightly with a meal. Early potatoes should be ready at the end of the month, young turnips, beetroot , summer spinach and early peas should also be starting to crop, particularly in the south of the country. Use stout netting or sticks along the rows of peas and broad beans to give the plants something to cling to as they grow.

Ensure that you continue to water if there has been no significant rain for a few days, as a lot of crops are shallow rooted and will dry out quickly. You can use grass mowings or well rotted compost as a mulch for the most susceptible crops, which will also help to keep the weeds down.


Seed bedPlenty of things need to be sown this month if you haven`t already done so, as well as a continuation of salad crops. French and runner beans, swede, cauliflower, sweetcorn, squash, courgettes, cucumber etc, and sow again at intervals over the summer to give a continuation of crops through to winter. Plants that were started in pots now need hardening off prior to moving to their final positions, this will avoid shocking the plants with sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions.

Keep an eye open for pests such as aphid, red spider mite and whitefly for instance and try to use biological controls where possible, which seem to be the mainstream choice now. Nip out the growing tip on broad beans to discourage blackfly. Slugs and snails need their activities curtailing pretty swiftly at ground level and watch out for butterfly eggs and caterpillars on brassicas. These can be easily squashed or wiped off when small. Remember to protect against bird attack, particularly berries, by netting over where possible.



Strawberry plantsEnsure fruiting plants have sufficient water whilst the fruit is swelling and sprinkle some general slow release fertiliser around the base of the plants to help them feed. Thin out apples and plums if the crop looks excessive after the “ June Drop”. This is when nature does the initial thinning for you by shedding some of the set fruit and is not a sign of a problem with the plant.

Place straw around strawberry plants to keep the forming fruits clean and start to pot up runners if new plants are required for next year. I like to replace the plants every three years or so and I try to plant them out into their final positions in the autumn to give them a better start next spring. Continue to tie in new raspberry canes to straining wires to stop the wind from breaking them. Gooseberries are often ready towards the end of June, and continue to crop rhubarb, which freezes well if you have a glut.



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Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



RHS gardens


Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-

Do you take advantage of the DEFRA website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new, and special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



The Eden Project


The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...




Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 



Useful reading:-


"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced £5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is £6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

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