In the final part of our gardening series, Cinead McTernan gives you the lowdown on what jobs need tackling this month
Welcome to the third and final instalment in our three-part series, in which we are helping you to get your garden ready for the summer.
Now that the warmer weather has arrived, you'll be wanting to spend more time in the garden – and how lovely it will be after all the work you've done to get it up together. We're not quite there yet, though, and in this final part of the series I'll be explaining the last few jobs that need doing.
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Flowers to sow in June
You have to be patient if you’re sowing stocks – sow them in the ground now, or in a tray in a greenhouse, lightly covering them with soil, and they’ll be ready to plant out in late summer. Make sure to pinch out tips to encourage a nice, bushy plant so that next year, from April onwards, you’ll be rewarded with lots of heavenly-scented flowers.
Love-in-the-mist is perfect for pots and window boxes, as well as filling gaps in the borders. Sow thinly about 1/4 inch deep in fine soil (it’s worth raking and weeding before sowing). Thin out seedlings and transplant the spares if you have space, or give to friends. Water regularly for gorgeous late-summer blooms.
This beautiful umbellifer (umbrella-shaped flower) will bring some of that frothy hedgerow style to your borders and containers. Sow in raked, warm soil, and seedlings should appear within 7 to 21 days. Thin out when seedlings are large enough to handle – don’t let them dry out – and they’ll bloom right up until October.
As a result of a wet spring and a slow start to the summer, our gardens are a bit behind this year, so it’s worth trying a last-minute sowing of that most beautiful of cottage flowers, Larkspur. Sow outdoors as soon as you can, leaving about 25cm between each one, and keep your fingers crossed for a display of colourful spires come September.
“But this is a herb!” I hear you cry. In theory, this could have been included in the fruit and vegetables list, as the deliciously frondy tips go so well with fish and salads. However, it’s also a great green-filler for cut-flower displays, and so justifies its place in this category. As it won’t thank you if you disturb it once it’s established, sow seeds where you want the plant to grow, keep well-watered and support if necessary.
Fruit and vegetables to sow in June
Try sowing this variety of leek, otherwise known as ‘Atal’, which is a mild-tasting alternative to spring onions. Direct-sow liberally into containers or in borders, and don’t worry about thinning them out. Keep well-watered, especially during dry spells, and they will be ready to harvest within 12 weeks.
Traditionally sown on the longest day of the year – 21 June – this tasty bulb will be ready to harvest in the autumn, rather than in the height of summer when the hot, dry weather can make it bolt rather than produce a crop. A hungry plant, ideally you’ll have dug in plenty of well-rotted organic manure last winter. But if you're spontaneously sowing now, make sure you feed it regularly once established, and keep well-watered.
Perfect for soups and stews, winter squash is an excellent staple crop for those cold months. Dig in plenty of well-rotted organic matter and wait a week or two before direct sowing. Sow seeds on their side on a mound of soil, somewhere with a bit of space for them to spread out. Avoid over-watering and feed regularly.
Chances are you’ll already have your first courgette sowings producing a harvest, but if you make a second sowing now, you’ll be able to harvest those fabulous flowers, as well as more crops, into the autumn. Direct-sow two seeds into a hole that’s ¾ inch deep, and thin out the weakest seedling. Harvest regularly to encourage a continuous supply of courgettes.
A bitter-tasting type of lettuce, this colourful veg will brighten up dishes during late autumn and early winter. Sow directly in rows in the garden, or in large pots, and cover lightly with soil, making sure it’s a nice, sunny spot. Water well to help prevent them from bolting, and thin out when seedlings appear.
Other gardening jobs to do in June
While some of us might be mowing less frequently this summer, one thing that’s always worth paying attention to is lawn edges. Preventing grass from creeping into herbaceous borders cuts down on weeding and keeps your garden looking tidy, too. Use a pair of long edging shears to prevent back strain, and dispose of the cuttings on the compost.
Provide extra shade to help protect plants growing under glass, as temperatures rise during the height of summer – you’ll be thankful if you’re pottering in it, too. Use special shade-paint, or thin white paint with water, to act as a white-wash. Alternatively, special shades, netting or blinds are available to buy.
Just as plants are thriving in the warm weather, weeds will be getting off to a flying start, too. The easiest way to keep on top of them is by regularly using a hoe. Choose a sunny day and carefully push and pull the hoe in between plants and seedlings, which will cut off the weed’s stem and leaves without disturbing nearby plants. Leave the remains to wither on top of the soil.
Plant up hanging baskets
Have fun with colourful bedding plants to create eye-catching summer hanging basket displays. Choose a combination of trailing and upright varieties, to make the most of the basket’s shape, and go for both flowering plants as well as types of foliage, for colour and interest. Remember to water and feed regularly, and deadhead annuals to encourage continuous flowering.
Tackle floating weed, which can start to rampantly grow at this time of year. It’s simple to remove, using a net or bamboo cane to twirl and collect pond and duck weed – just like spaghetti swizzled around a fork! Don’t forget to leave it on the side of the pond for a day to allow aquatic creatures to return to their watery home, and then put it on the compost heap.
Do more with Boundless
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Photos: Getty Images