It’s finally summer! June sees the start of lazy summer days (including the longest day on June 21st), a garden in full bloom, and warm, dry weather that will encourage you to get out and about much more. Well, we say ‘lazy’ summer days – it’s anything but that for gardeners! There’s a huge amount to do in the garden in June, especially the veg plot, which needs constant attention if you’re going to get the most out of your harvest in August and September.
Flower borders will be busy filling out with early summer bloomers and annuals should be well established by now. The lawn will need cutting at least once a week, while ponds and wildlife habitats are incredibly busy with this year’s youngsters, fledglings and even the odd toad or two.
The extra daylight hours will be welcomed, as you’ll often be busy well into the evening looking after the greenhouse, watering, and planting out. Here’s a quick guide to what to do in the garden during June.
Your essential June checklist
- It’s time to lift and store tulip bulbs for replanting in the autumn. Make sure they dry out properly before you store them away.
- Wisteria plants will have finished their spring blooming by now, but those tendrils can grow incredibly quickly. Cut all the long side shoots back so that there are plenty of flower spurs next spring.
- Tall perennials need a bit of support now, especially delphiniums
- Early potatoes should be almost finished now, so lift the final plants and let the potatoes dry out before bagging and storing
- The sun is starting to get some real strength so make sure you water thoroughly, especially hanging baskets and pots. Start feeding too, using a slow-release feed like Gro-Sure Slow Release Plant Food.
- Open up greenhouses and polytunnels in the morning to allow plenty of ventilation
- Treat paths and gravel areas for weeds, and wash down stone paths with an anti-algae treatment to stop them going green.
- Mow the lawn regularly, and keep an eye out for dandelions and thistles, which will need to be dug out. Allow the patch to recover, or treat with a lawn patch treatment.
- Plant out tender vegetables such as pumpkins, squashes and outdoor tomatoes.
Flowers and borders
While the borders may be filling out nicely by June, there could still be a few gaps here and there that could encourage weeds to try and get a hold. Fill these spots with ground covering annuals such as lobelias or nicotiana, and make sure you water them in well so that they can get established quickly. If you want bedding plants to bush out rather than reach for the sky, pinch the tips out.
Summer-flowering clematis will be in full bloom now, so make sure they’re properly supported, especially climbing varieties. Rambling roses will need bringing back under control, too.
Your flowers will appreciate regular feeding from now on, so pick a feed specifically designed for flowering plants. It’s particularly important to make sure that hanging baskets and pots get a good feed as the nutrients in the compost can be quickly used up during the summer growth spurt.
If you want to establish a pond, now is the time to plant water lilies, as well as adding marginal plants like marsh marigolds and flag irises around the edges. You can also add extract of barley to keep the water clear.
The Veg Plot
All of your young plants should be hardened off by now, so as the soil has properly warmed up by June, it’s time to plant out crops like sweetcorn. Water evaporation can be a problem at this time of the year, especially if you have a light, sandy soil or conversely heavy clay, which can become incredibly hard if it dries out. The best way to counter this is to add a thick mulch of rich garden compost around the base of your plants, especially ‘greedy’ ones like courgettes and tomatoes. This will retain the moisture around the roots and reduce the risk of stressing the plant.
An evening stroll will reveal…snails! If you’ve kept up with the nematode treatment for slugs then you should be relatively free of them, but snails can still sneak in and snack on tender plants. Fortunately, they’re easy to spot and easy to get rid of.
Your herb garden should be doing well by now – if you have a patio then windowsill plants can spend the summer outside to get maximum benefit from sunny, south-facing spots.
A summer feed with either liquid or slow-release granular fertiliser like Westland SafeLawn will give your lawn that bright green flush of new growth, making it healthier and happier. Keep an eye out for thistles, though, which can seemingly pop up overnight. If your lawn takes a beating from kids and animals, you can use a patch solution to fill in any gaps. Keep the edges trimmed and tidy, or make life even easier by putting lawn edging in, which is long-lasting and a great way to keep your lawn from overgrowing into borders or paths.
The rest of the garden
- Compost bins are filling up fast, and in the summer heat they warm up quickly. Keep turning them to make sure the heat gets right into the heart of the pile and starts breaking down tougher woody matter.
- Roses are susceptible to blackspot at this time of the year, and while it might not cause any physical damage, it does look ugly! Use an organic herbicide spray to combat blackspot, mildew and rust.
- Keep greenhouses well ventilated and damp down the floor in the morning to create a more humid environment and to prevent young plants getting scorched. You may also need to shade south-facing sides to keep the temperature from rising too high.
- The birds should have fledged by now, so after you’ve checked for any late nesters, you can start to trim hedges and shrubs like privet and laurel.
- Vine weevils get going in June, so if you’ve had a problem with them in the past use a pesticide in your greenhouse to stop any infestations.