Tips from Alex – June 2017

June is upon us and we have had, at last, some much needed rainfall which has not only filled my water buts but really smartened up my lawn which was starting to show serious signs of stress.

On the vegetable front, I have managed to get sweet corn planted in the vegetable plot and made a second sowing so that I might get a longer production season. I have managed to get beetroot and carrots sown and they are now showing good progress. Both of these are under a mesh tunnel which protects them from birds and carrot fly. My first sowing of French and runner beans is now well established and starting to climb their support canes. I am now ready to make a second sowing, again to ensure a longer production period. Salad leaves are now making a useful contribution to the lunch plate and again, regular sowings will achieve a plentiful supply throughout the summer. Seasoned gardeners will know that not everything always goes to plan in the garden and today I have re sown my mange tout as the first sowing produced absolutely nothing.

As far as the greenhouse is concerned everything seems to be growing at a remarkable pace. The recent hot spell has meant some very high temperatures even with every last piece of ventilation in operation. Of course this has also meant that ensuring plants have adequate water is paramount and it is sometimes necessary to water twice a day. I’ve just picked my first cucumber and expect to be picking tomatoes within the next ten days. I’m greatly looking forward to this as home grown tomatoes have a far superior taste to those from your local supermarket. Don’t forget to regularly feed and remove the side shoots of tomatoes unless they are bush varieties.

​As far as eager anticipation is concerned, we are about to commence cropping our strawberries of which I grow four varieties. This anticipation is also shared by the local bird population and I have seen a grey squirrel running along the fence next to the strawberry bed so have lost no time in installing protective netting on the bed. Slugs and snails are also partial to the fruit so don’t forget to apply a suitable treatment to deter them.

​Most planting will be complete including the summer bedding now that the risk of frost has passed and it is now the gardener’s most useful tool comes into its own, the hoe. In order to ensure you get your best crops, a regime of regular hoeing is a necessity to keep weeds away from competing for the goodness of your soil.

​Happy gardening,

Alex  – June 2017