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June in the garden

Summer is here at last!

We’ve been waiting a long time for June to arrive: the slow build of blossom through March and April reached a crescendo in the peonies and irises of May, and now the garden has burst into glorious life, every leaf, rosebud and delphinium spire stretching happily towards the sun.

It’s a good time to pause and relish each colourful, richly-perfumed moment. So add inviting cushions to the garden chairs, surround benches with big pots full of brightly-coloured summer bedding and make time every day to sit back with a cuppa and a contented sigh to enjoy this most wonderful time of the year.

What to plant in June

It’s finally warm enough to plant out courgettes, sweetcorn, tomatoes and peppers. Tie cordon tomato plants to stakes for support, and pinch out the side shoots. It’s also time to sow tender herbs like basil. Fill a pot with seed compost and scatter basil seeds lightly over the top. Cover with a thin sprinkling of compost or vermiculite, water well and place in a propagator to germinate (or cover with a clear plastic bag and place on a sunny windowsill). Take advantage of the fabulous ranges of summer bedding available now and fill pots and hanging baskets with colour. Give all your container plants a fortnightly feed with a high-potash fertiliser (tomato feed is ideal) to encourage the development of flowers and fruit.

What to harvest in June

Early potatoes should be ready to harvest around 10 weeks after planting, once the flowers have opened, but do a little digging first to check – the potatoes should be the size of hens’ eggs. Keep harvesting lettuce, and sow more every two weeks for a constant supply through the summer months. And the arrival of summer means the start of the strawberry season, so net your plants to stop the birds getting to them before you do.

Top 10 June garden jobs

  1. Run a Dutch hoe over your beds to cut down annual weeds before they set seed. Ideally, do this on a dry day so that the weeds shrivel and dry up in the sun.
  2. Be waterwise – if you need to water, do it in the early morning or evening
  3. Mulch! Apply a layer of organic mulch around plants to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Mulching not only helps retain moisture during the hot summer months but also improves soil structure and fertility as it decomposes over time. 
  4. Mow your lawn once a week. During dry periods, mow on a higher setting.
  5. Watch out for aphids and slugs – remove them by hand if possible, remember not to spray when bees are active during the day.
  6. Pinch out the growing tips of fuchsias to encourage bushy plants
  7. Stake tall plants
  8. Thin out overcrowded drifts of hardy annuals
  9. Cut back the leaves of spring bulbs like daffodils and tulips once they have turned yellow
  10. Deadhead roses and pick sweet peas to encourage them to keep flowering

Clip privet, box and yew hedges (provided no birds are nesting in them)