A magical month for gardeners

June, the month of weeding and watering. The official end of spring and – hopefully any fear of frost. Time of the longest day (we’ll avoid the doom-laden tick tock of the summer garden clock). The weeks of first harvest.

No more holding back, most everything can go into ground now. Time for the tender plants – tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, chillies – to find their outdoor home. Courgettes and squash can be sown outside. The same with French and runner beans. It’s already (sorry) getting late for maincrop carrots, summer beetroot, peas and mangetout. Your last best chance, too, to sow soft herbs, such as basil, dill, chervil, parsley, coriander. Time is moving fast now. There is a lot to do. To make hay, as they say, in sunshine.

Remember to pay attention to leaves: chards and beets. Start sowing the orientals: mustards, mibuna, mizuna. Find a sheltered, shadier spot for lettuces. Think about starting a bed for kale.

Plant out corn in blocks for successful pollination. Fill the cropping gaps with fast rocket and radishes.

Consider flowers. I favour calendula for its beauty and for companion planting. It attracts the good predators. Keep a wary eye out for cabbage white butterflies and caterpillars, blackfly, whitefly, greenfly, slugs and snails. Check protection for carrot fly, though we have given up, defeated.

Earth up potatoes. Soft fruits should start coming now. Take advantage, if you can, of the longer days. We’ll visit in the earlier morning or later in the evening to sow and water and weed. Often both on the same day.

Pay attention. Train your peas and beans up their climbing frames, sweet peas, too, if you have them.

June is the magical gardening month. Your food and flowers coming on stream. Try to remember, though, to stop. To sit, look, listen, and do nothing much. To simply wander round, stroke a plant, soak it all in. Be thankful. Happy days.

Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com





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