Gardening in June reflects the essential cussedness of life. The warm weather, sunshine and longer days bring one’s beds to life; also, of course, they cause weeds to flourish.

One is reminded once more that gardening is not an event, but a process. Never sit down and tell yourself that you have done the weeding – you have done Tuesday’s weeding, and tomorrow there is Wednesday’s weeding to do, and then there are five more days of the week. Many weeds can be kept in check by judicious use of the hoe. In the case of couch grass or field bindweed, one can forgive the occasional use of glyphosate – quietly, you understand, when no-one is looking.

The next problem is, of course, watering. English weather has always been unpredictable, and is becoming more so to an unpredictable extent. If you are short of time, it is better to give the beds a good long soak than attempt to give them a little every day. Try digging a few inches below the surface on a hot day, and you will see what I mean.

Shall we assume that the risk of frost has passed? Then French and climbing beans can be sown direct – also squash, pumpkin, courgette and sweetcorn. (Get the corn in pretty quickly – the longer the growing season, the sweeter the crop). Outdoor tomatoes can come out of the greenhouse, and remember to pinch out side shoots on cordon varieties. Cover your brassicas and strawberries with Enviromesh, to frustrate birds and butterflies.

As you sow, so shall ye reap. Those who have planned well should be eating their own new potatoes by now, and the over-wintered Japanese onions should be about ready. Pull them up to break the roots, and leave them lying on the soil for a few days before storage.

Jon Gunson, TTL


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