Tuesday, 6 June 2017

June Garden Ramblings

Long awaited spring weather has arrived on the island. Happy dance!

The thermometer still seems to struggle to get up into the teens on most days, and mornings can be a bit chilly... Hah, whatever, we are all simply thrilled that summer crop planting time is finally here!

Cool weather crops have really enjoyed this extended cool, rainy season, thriving rather than bolting. Broccoli, radishes, kale, spinach, and lettuces are flourishing. Have grown the best broccoli of my life this year : )

Enjoy your cool weather crops now, don't save them 'for later' or for 'when they get bigger'. Harvest regularly as they will soon bolt in this new found heat.

New pockets of planting space will open up for your summer vegetables as you harvest these crops or compost the bolting greens.

What to put in those spots?

What to plant this month?

Squash. Pumpkins, zucchini, pattypans, all sorts of squash can be planted into the warm garden beds now. Start them from seed or starter plants, it is not too late! They will quickly take off.

Beans ... Often accidentally lumped in with peas, they actually have very differing needs. Beans love warm soil and heat, while peas love cool temps and the rainy season! Plant your beans now. You can even plant them at the base of your peas so that they are well on their way when you eventually pull out your tired looking peas.

I love pole beans grown up spiral trellises or lattice fences, as they use less garden space, but they do have a longer growing season (about 80 to 90 days). Plant both bush and pole beans for a continuous crop.

Wondering what to plant in the garlic bed once you harvest it? Bush beans have a short growing season, just 50 days! Loads of time to crop up before you start prepping the beds to plant your fall garlic again.

Carrots can be sown throughout the month of June. Plant a row here, a row there, as the space becomes available.

Carrots can be notoriously difficult to start as they take 10 to 21 days to germinate and must be kept moist till you see the little sprouts growing.

Sow your seeds, water well, cover the seeded area with a burlap sack. This will help to keep the soil from drying out too quickly. Water through the burlap daily.  A week after sowing the seeds, start checking for sprouting. Remove burlap when you see little carrot seedlings popping up.

Tomatoes! If you have not yet transplanted the tomatoes, they can go in the ground now. Bury them deep for a better root system with stockier and sturdier, healthier plants.

Peppers and eggplants. They thrive in pots better than they do in the garden. Pot them up or plant them up anytime now! Never use garden soil in pots, always use bagged potting soil when growing food or flowers in pots. Garden soil or loam will get too compacted, your plants will not thrive.

Beets - seeds
Corn - seeds or starter plants
Cucumbers - seeds or starter plants

Cabbage - starter plants
Brussels sprouts - starter plants
Cauliflower - starter plants

What else to do this month? 

Water. Set up up drip tubes or weeping hoses to deep water your garden beds.

Do not hand water with a wand, save that for baskets, pots, planters, and keeping seeds moist till they germinate. Hand watering will make your garden less healthy with shallow rooted plants, more prone to bugs and disease. It will also take up so much of your time that you will come to hate growing by the middle of the season.

Do not use sprinklers for anything but lawns. They get your foliage wet, which spreads powdery mildew and blights!

Invest in drip tubes or weeping hoses, plus a timer, if you are so inclined. I do not use a timer, but I use these weeping hoses in all my beds. I turn them on for 20 minutes once or twice a week, depending.

What to deep water once a week? Root crops, potatoes, onions, herbs, peppers ...
What to deep water twice a week? Tomatoes, squash, corn, brassicas, celery...  

Feed - Any plants growing in pots will need a regular feed weekly or bi-weekly. Use manure/compost tea or an organic liquid fertiliser.

If you do not yet have fantastic soil, your garden veggies may also require a boost as the season wears on.

For tea recipes and organic fertiliser ideas, see HERE!

Weed - Run a hoe between the rows once a week. This will remove any weeds that you can see and knock down any just starting to germinate. You will  have lovely weed free beds all summer long.

This hoe is called the 'Winged Weeder' and is the best hoe that I have ever used in my many, many years of gardening.

My wee backyard greenhouse biz is now closed for the summer, so I am playing catch up, excited to be playing in my garden again.. planting and seeding, watering and weeding.

Before sowing and planting, I had to remove hundreds of little volunteer Johnny Jump-ups from the beds. So pretty, but need the space for food!

Plant lots of companion plants in the garden.
The more diversity you have, the healthier your garden beds will be.  
Companion flowers and herbs bring in bees, hover flies, parasitic wasps, 
hummingbirds, ladybugs and so much more. 
Plus, they make the gardens look great, too! 

Happy gardening!

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