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Nature blog - Jenny Bourne

Introducing
The RPA Nature blog with Jenny Bourne.

Watch the seasons unfold right here at our very own allotments

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Tomatoes

Plant out any remaining outdoor tomatoes that have not already been transplanted. They need warmth and sunshine, and will benefit from the extra protection of cloches or open-ended plastic bottles. Vine or cordon varieties will need stakes or strong canes for support.

Protect tomato seedlings from slugs and snails with cloches made from cut-down plastic drinks bottles.

Protect tomato seedlings from slugs and snails with cloches made from cut-down plastic drinks bottles.

Aubergines

Plant out aubergines by the end of this month to give them as much time as possible to grow and ripen into good-sized fruit.

Brussels sprouts and cabbages

Plant out Brussels sprouts, the last of your summer/autumn and red cabbages, and the first of your winter cabbages. Fit them with brassica collars to deter cabbage root fly, and net them immediately to protect them from birds and cabbage white butterflies.

Cape gooseberries

Like melons, cape gooseberry seedlings can be planted out in a sunny, sheltered spot once the weather has thoroughly warmed up.

Cauliflowers

Cauliflower seedlings sown in spring for harvesting in summer and autumn should be planted out now.

Celeriac

Late June is probably your last chance to plant out celeriac; it is slow-growing, and needs time to develop to a worthwhile size.

Celery

Plant in rich, fertile soil prepared with plenty of well-rotted compost or manure – in a special celery trench, or in the case of self-blanching varieties, in closely spaced blocks.

Chicory

Transplant sugarloaf chicory or radicchio seedlings raised inside or under cover, but try to disturb the roots as little as possible.

Chillies and sweet peppers

Harden off young chilli and pepper plants grown under cover and if there’s no longer any chance of late frosts plant them out.

Transplant peppers to a sheltered site in full sun. Space plants about 50cm (20in) apart.

Transplant peppers to a sheltered site in full sun. Space plants about 50cm (20in) apart.

Courgettes, marrows, pumpkins, and other squashes

These can all be planted out in June, whether they’re for harvesting in summer or later in the autumn and early winter. Allow plenty of space, and keep them well-watered and mulched.

Turk’s Turban squash seedlings being hardened off outdoors before transplanting.

Turk’s Turban squash seedlings being hardened off outdoors before transplanting.

Cucumbers

Harden off outdoor or “ridge” cucumber seedlings and plant them in low mounds of earth enriched with well-rotted compost.

Endive

Once temperatures have really warmed up, plant out seedlings sown under cover in spring. Be patient: the colder it is, the more likely the plants are to bolt.

French beans and runner beans

Plant out dwarf bushes in rows or blocks, and climbers at the foot of canes. You may need to tie in reluctant climbers if they need a little encouragement to twine around their supports.

Herbs

Transplant container-grown herbs that you’ve either bought or propagated and raised.

Kale

In June you should be able to begin transplanting kale you’ve grown from seed. Wait until seedlings are at least 10cm (4in) high and disturb the roots as little as possible.

Melons

When temperatures have risen and there is absolutely no risk of late frosts, try planting sweet melon seedlings, either bought from a garden centre or raised yourself from seed. They need rich, fertile soil, a sheltered position, and lots of sunshine. A cold frame or polytunnel is more likely to give you success.

Sprouting broccoli

Plant out sprouting broccoli seedlings in a sheltered area where the soil is firmly packed down so that developing roots are able to support the weight of the growing plants.

Strawberries

Plant new, cold-stored, bare-rooted runners now for harvesting in about two months’ time. Pot-raised plants can be planted now, too, but it may be better to delay them until later in the summer.

Sweet potatoes

If you didn’t plant out sweet potato “slips” in May, you should do so this month. Plant them in deep, rich soil that has been earthed-up into mounds or ridges, and sink open-ended plastic bottles into the soil alongside them so that you can water direct to their roots and growing tubers.

Sweet potatoes need a lot of moisture; cut-off plastic bottles ensure all the water goes straight down to the tubers.

Sweet potatoes need a lot of moisture; cut-off plastic bottles ensure all the water goes straight down to the tubers.

Plant out

 

Vegetables

Aubergines

Brussels sprouts

Cabbages (red, summer, autumn, winter)

Cauliflowers (summer and autumn)

Celeriac

Chilli peppers

Courgettes and summer squash

French beans

Kale

Leeks

Marrows

Pumpkins and winter squash

Runner beans

Sprouting broccoli

Sweet potatoes

Sweet peppers

Sweetcorn

 

Salads

Celery

Chicory

Cucumbers

Endive

Tomatoes

 

Fruit

Cape gooseberry

Melons

Strawberries

 

 

 

Text and photographs copyright © 2010 Alan Buckingham.

 

Allotment month by month by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Allotment Month by Month
(Dorling Kindersley, 2009)
Grow Vegetables by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Grow Vegetables
(Dorling Kindersley, 2007)
Grow Fruit by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Grow Fruit
(Dorling Kindersley, 2010)