Gar­den tips for June

Scottish Field - - IN THE GARDEN -

While many peo­ple think it is now too late to sow seed, June is ac­tu­ally an ideal time for many crops. The soil is warmer at this time of year and seeds that are sown now get away to a quick start: of­ten catch­ing up with oth­ers sown ear­lier in the year. This year the Edi­ble Gar­den­ing Pro­ject team at the Royal Botanic Gar­den Ed­in­burgh (RBGE) will be sow­ing beet­root, broc­coli, salad leaves, let­tuce, radish, spinach and chard. Other favourites in­clude turnip, fen­nel, kale, peas, spring onion, pars­ley and co­rian­der. Once cov­ered over, it is im­por­tant to en­sure the soil is moist so wa­ter-in the seeds well. If the weather is dry, make sure you wa­ter seedlings thor­oughly as they are very vul­ner­a­ble to dry­ing out. Once they are grow­ing vig­or­ously it is time to thin them out to their cor­rect spac­ing. Find out how much space they re­quire from the orig­i­nal seed packet, a book or the web. Peo­ple of­ten find this dif­fi­cult as, hav­ing tended their pre­cious crops to this point, they don’t then want to pull them out. How­ever, it is an es­sen­tial part of the process as over­crowded plants will not thrive. You can, of course, eat the thin­nings – just give them a rinse and add to a salad for a tasty early home-grown treat. In most ar­eas the risk of frosts in June is min­i­mal, so it is pos­si­ble to plant out ten­der crops such as run­ner beans, French beans and cour­gettes that have been started off un­der cover ear­lier in the year. Re­mem­ber to harden them off be­fore plant­ing them out. This means grad­u­ally ac­cli­ma­tis­ing them to out­door con­di­tions. Plants that have been used to shel­tered con­di­tions can strug­gle with the shock of be­ing put out­side, and the cold and wind can dam­age fresh new growth. To avoid this, put them out­side for pro­gres­sively longer pe­ri­ods of time over the course of a week or two be­fore fi­nally plant­ing them in the gar­den. If you have not al­ready started run­ner beans, French beans or cour­gettes, you can now sow them di­rectly out­side. Win­ter bras­si­cas and leeks that were started off in nurs­ery beds or seed trays can now be planted into their fi­nal grow­ing po­si­tion. As al­ways, keep an eye out for pests and dis­ease. If you see a prob­lem, it is of­ten best to re­move it as soon as pos­si­ble to pre­vent it spread­ing to other plants. The most ef­fec­tive way of ward­ing off prob­lems in the first place is to give the plants the con­di­tions they re­quire to keep them grow­ing healthily. Make sure they are spaced, wa­tered and fed cor­rectly to pro­duce strong healthy plants that will have a bet­ter re­sis­tance to pests and dis­ease. Hope­fully you will be har­vest­ing the first crops of the year this month. Broad beans, let­tuce, radish, rocket, spring onion, peas and spinach could all be ready now. Pick crops reg­u­larly when they are in the op­ti­mum con­di­tion, this helps to pre­vent gluts and re­duce wastage.

ROYAL BOTANIC GAR­DEN, ED­IN­BURGH AR­BORE­TUM PLACE, ED­IN­BURGH TEL: 0131 248 2909 WWW.RBGE.ORG.UK

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