What to do in June

Container garden in June

June. Long, light, warmer days means your crops will grow fast this month. Go away for the weekend and you may notice your tomatoes and beans are an inch or two taller on your return. 

It’s also a busy month. There’s watering, feeding and caring for your fast growing crops. And if you want to keep up a supply of salads, leaves, peas, and beans for late summer and autumn, you’ll need to keep sowing. Dedicating a small space or shelf as your ‘seedling nursery’ is one way to ensure you always have a supply of seedlings when needed.

This month

  1. What to sow now
  2. Other jobs for June: feeding, pinching out, harvesting!

What to sow now

There’s a lot you can sow in June – and if you want to avoid gaps in pots later in the season (as crops finish), you can get ahead of the game by sowing some in trays or small pots now. Crops you can sow this month include:

Salads

Keep sowing rocket, lettuces, and other salads to maintain your salad supply over the summer. Salads can bolt or get tough in hot weather. Have some seedlings ready, and you can quickly replace them. As well as lettuce, good summer salads include purslane, texel greens, nasturtiums, pea and bean shoots.

Warm loving microgreens like basil and shiso grow really well a this time of year. Lovely to have for the summer months.
Warm loving microgreens like basil and shiso grow really well a this time of year. Lovely to have for the summer months.

Oriental greens

Best sown after the midsummer solstice (21 June), as they will be less prone to prematurely flower and go to seed (“bolting”). There are so many varieties including pak choi, mizuna, mibuna, chinese cabbage, red giant and chinese broccoli. All make excellent container crops and can either be eaten in salads or cooked in stir fries or steamed like spinach.

As growth speeds up in warmer weather, you'll start being able to harvest more to eat. At the beginning of the month you'll probably be getting lots of leafy greens, with peas, broad beans and potatoes following later in the month (depending on the year and where you live).
As growth speeds up in warmer weather, you’ll start being able to harvest more to eat. At the beginning of the month you’ll probably be getting lots of leafy greens, with peas, broad beans and potatoes following later in the month (depending on the year and where you live).

Peas and beans

Most types of peas and beans can be sown now to give you a fresh supply in the late sumer and autumn. French and runner beans are particularly rewarding and productive choices for containers.

Carrots, spring onions, beetroot, turnips

Can all be sown this month. I don’t grow many root crops – as you can only harvest them once (unlike salads, beans and tomatoes that produce for several weeks even months). Radishes are a useful catch crop (a catch crop is something you grow in an empty pot while waiting for it to be filled with something else), maturing in just three or four weeks. Spring onions grow well between salads and other leafy veg. They take up little space and the onion smell can help deter pests.

Courgettes, squash and cucumber

Sow before the end of the month and you can still get a good crop before the end of the year.

Herbs

Sow basil and green shiso now. Coriander and dill tend to bolt at this time of year – if you want a continuous supply through summer, you’ll need to keep sowing them.  Most herbs will have lots of fresh, soft growth at this time of year – which is perfect for taking cuttings. Good ones to try: lemon verbena, thyme, rosemary, sage and Vietnamese coriander.

Sage grown from a cutting. Cuttings from most herbs are easy to do and a great way of expanding your herb collection for free!
Sage grown from a cutting. Cuttings from most herbs are easy to do and a great way of expanding your herb collection for free!

 

2. Other jobs

Move tender plants to final pots

Once all risk of frost is passed in your area, tender plants (those that are damaged by frost) like tomatoes, chillies and aubergines can be moved to their final pots outside. Just be sure that they are well hardened off, first (for an explanation of ‘hardening off’ see April).

Pinching out and tying up

Keep pinching out the side shoots of vine tomatoes to keep them in order. (Vine tomatoes are vigorous growers, and will quickly grow into an unwieldy bushy if the side shoots are not removed).

Keeping checking that all climbing plants – like peas and beans – are securely tied in, particularly if strong winds are forecast.

I nearly lost these peas (top right) in a strong wind because they weren't tied up well enough. Peas in particular need constant checking and tying up if grown up poles - alternatively, they'll grip better to pea netting or pea sticks.
I nearly lost these peas in a strong wind because they weren’t tied up well enough. Peas in particular need constant checking and tying up if grown up poles – they grip better to pea netting or pea sticks.

Feed fruiting crops

Fruiting crops like tomatoes and courgettes need more food once they start flowering and producing fruit. Due to the limited size of a container, they won’t get all the food they need from the soil. For fruiting crops you want a liquid fertiliser that is high in potassium (K). A liquid tomato feed is perfect for all fruiting crops, not just tomatoes. Alternatively, if you have supply of comfrey leaves, you can make comfrey tea by soaking these in a bucket of water. It’s smelly but effective.

Tomatos and other fruiting veg need a top of potassium to fruit to their full potential. The easiest way to supply this in containers is to buy a liquid tomato feed. Remember that you can overfeed as well as underfeed - so follow the guidelines on the bottle and observe the results.
Tomatos and other fruiting veg need a top of potassium to fruit to their full potential. The easiest way to supply this in containers is to buy a liquid tomato feed. Follow the guidelines on the bottle and observe the results.

Keep picking!

Remember that most crops grow better if picked regularly. Pick beans and courgettes as early as you can to encourage the plant to produce more. Pick the outer leaves of salad crops, and the plant will usually grow more. And pinch out the tops of herbs to encourage the plant to grow bushy rather than lanky.

 

 

34 thoughts on “What to do in June”

  1. Discovered your website when looking for info on growing our Blue Lake climbing French beans. Picked up a lot of useful tips from your blog – thank you, However, having enjoyed growing climbers (Cobra variety) for 20 years, we are now using containers as new garden is smaller. After 4 weeks there’s no sign of flowers yet. Have cut off a lot of leaves as they were growing massive! So what should I do next?! Many thanks, Ann

    1. It may be that the compost you used was high in nitrogen, and that encouraged excessive leafy growth. Make sure they are getting plenty of sun and hopefully they will flower and fruit soon.

  2. Absolutely Fab in modern parlance, at 74years old and in lock down growing my food is a God send not only for physical health but mental health .
    I greatly appreciate the site many thanks.
    As for seeds That well known Auction site is a good source with quick returns that is where I get all mine (no going out)
    I am in South Devon any one else close ?

    1. So glad you are enjoying your food growing in South Devon, Trevor – and, I agree, brilliant for mental health, too! The site you allude to is useful for seed top ups – sometimes a bit variable in quality, but price and getting small packs quick is very useful! Mark

  3. Just discovered your website and blog – fascinating.

    Going to grow some more herbs and might try some chilli’s and tomatoes

  4. Hello everyone,

    Great to read everyone’s comments on here and to hear how you’re getting on. I’ve moved home from a place with a large garden with lots of bed to grow in to a much smaller house with a small, mostly paved (‘easy maintenance’) garden. I’m picking up on two of the points raised in this thread – water butts and fertiliser.

    Water butts – With very little space for these, I have few options with siting them due to only having one downpipe in the very tiny front garden and one down pipe in the back garden, which is right next to the kitchen window. Has anyone come across any inexpensive wall mounted or very slim water butts? From what I’ve found on the internet so far, I’m looking at over £500 for the cost of this project. Would appreciate any pointers.

    Fertiliser – I don’t currently have any comfrey, but do have an abundant supply of nettles in my son’s garden. Does nettle tea supply potassium?

    1. Hi Sally, sorry for slow reply, late catching up with comments this month. Nettle tea is primarily good for adding nitrogen and minerals. It may add a little potassium but it will not be a substitute for a good tomato feed or liquid comfrey.
      For water butts, it is worth checking out your local water company and council – sometimes they sell slimline water butts at subsidised price.

      1. Thanks so much Richard – that’s an excellent range to choose from and better than I had found so far.

  5. Wendy Cornwell

    I keep a daggy sheeps fleece in a large container -keep it topped up with rainwater- my veg and roses love the liquid feed from this- once a week

  6. Tomatoe food is also excellent for roses! If you have one of the jar like feeders attached to the hose, you can feed the foliage as well as blast away any aphids that dare to appear!

    1. Louise O'Donnell

      Banana skins are loaded with potassium, so they’re excellent for roses, tomatoes etc., just let them rot into the soils around the base of the plant. They seemed to act as insulation for roses during last winter-the worst ever- the roses are madly productive now, no sign of greenfly or winter damage.

  7. We will move to a house with a small courtyard which I seem to be the only one who sees it as inspiring and as the lush abundant place it could be. Well maybe lush and abundant will take a few years as my gardening succeses aren’t that big yet.
    I loved the peashoots but only my first attempt was succesfull the next all got moldy or dried out. But I am determined to keep trying.
    I do have a few herbs on our windowsill already. But this post just inspired me to try more herbs, some small cucumbers, salad, radishes and some small round carrots I found yesterday called “market 5”. And then just move the pots with us.
    And I am determined to build a raised bed at our new location for blueberries and raspberries.
    Well I will keep hoping for the best and some worms for my birthday. Lol

  8. Really neat that you have a sage plant forms cutting. I didn’t know it was possible with woody stemmed plants. How did you do it? In water?

  9. Hi
    I started having a small veg patch last year, with a few things to see how they did. My garden although larger than a patio or balcony is still a very small town garden surrounded by an ivy covered brick wall which… is home to the snails! But this year I am very excited and have got yellow courgettes, purple mange tout, tomatoes, french yellow beans, runner beans, salad leaves, garlic, spinach, a pot with peppers, basil sprouting….have I missed anything, all in planters or recycled containers. I also made my own water butt and a compost bin (this needs a re think though), oh yes calendula which I thought wasn’t going to flower but has and nasturtiums…….I’m now thinking what to plant when the peas and beans have gone. I enjoy your tips and they have been really helpful….wonder if I can get an allotment.
    Jenny

  10. Hi again!
    Your photos look good! Especially your peas, they are a lot bigger than mine. Maybe I was a bit late. Or I blame it on the wind. As you told me, covering the salads really makes a difference but I haven’t yet thought of a good solution to protect higher-growing plants from the wind. As usual, I have some questions. I thought you didn’t need fertilizer for peas and beans because they filter their own food out of the air, but I guess that’s only true for nitrogen?
    Thank you for the advice about feeding the fruiting plants, I guess that can really make the difference between a harvest like last year’s and something more satisfying. Do you think worm compost could provide the potassium needed or should I really buy this stuff? (Yes, my wormery is doing quite well! 😉 I was a little worried a while ago because they didn’t really touch their food. It turned out that the newspaper I used to cover the stuff wasn’t enough to make the surface dark -I’d drilled some holes into the lid- but now I’m using a thick old pizza carton and suddenly the come and eat!)

    1. Hi Sarah
      Nice to read your update.
      You’re spot on, when grown in pots, peas and beans do need feeding in order to get a good yield from them. Not as much as say tomatoes or courgettes but they still benefit from some. Your worm compost will probably provide some of their potassium needs – and you could add it as a mulch (ie a layer on top). However, if your worm compost is also rich in nitrogen, and you add too much, you might end up getting a lot of leafy growth at the expense of peas and beans! To increase the potassium content of your worm compost you could try and add lots of stuff that contains potassium – banana skins, for example, are a great source. Also comfrey leaves if you can find them (worms love them too – but add in moderation at first). The easiest way to add potassium to your crops is using a liquid tomato feed – although its called tomato feed you can use it on all fruiting crops. Or if you can find a source of comfrey (I used to get mine from the marshes in Tottenham) you can make comfrey tea which is very smelly but rich in nutrients, particularly potassium.
      I have the same issue re: wind and taller plants… I haven’t found a solution yet – but tying them in really well to strong stakes definitely helps. What a windy year its been so far. But a few sunny days predicted, hurrah!
      Mark

  11. Where do you get shiso from? I tried it in Japan and I would like to grow it but I haven’t found it here.
    I would add for anyone using a mini greenhouse to start opening it up for some of the day to allow air circulation and pollination, and not to bother trying to start beans off in it as they go mouldy before they have a chance to germinate! (at least that is my recent experience)

    1. In reply to Kate regarding rotting bean seeds. It was a long time before I realised that bean seeds don’t need much water whilst underground, and that it is so easy to over-water them. I then only watered the seeds in and left them to get on with it. Once above ground you can use more water! It is so easy to over-water a lot of things when one is wanting to make sure that the seeds and plants have enough. Just recently I sowed some white sage seeds, and although the instructions said keep moist, again, I just watered them in and there is good germination. A thin covering of vermiculite helps to keep moisture in if one is at all worried about the soil drying out, and it’s light enough for the seedlings to poke through.
      Sheila

  12. Enjoy your column and Facebook posts. My climate is very different from yours. I live in the mid-south region of the US, in Tennessee. Our temps are in the 90s here now. But I still enjoy what you post and consider your tips. Anyway, just a note.

    1. Very nice to hear from you Caroline. It sounds lovely and warm in Tennessee right now. Envious. Chillies and eggplants etc do very well for you, I guess? Such crops grow OK in the south of the UK but are borderline here in the north.

  13. Pingback: Links I liked (edition #4) | Things worth sharing

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