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The fruit and vegetable garden

June 2012

 

Vegetables

 

Previously in The Fruit & Vegetable Garden...

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

 


Fruit & Veg Garden Index

BroadbeansJune 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 the vegetable garden 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.

Plenty 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.

Fruit


GooseberryEnsure 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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