Continue sowing beetroot seeds in June – perhaps a few at the beginning of the month and a few at the end so that in September and October you’ll have some to harvest that haven’t grown too large. They can be stored for the winter if necessary.
Sow beetroot direct. Seedlings don’t like being transplanted.
Sow late sprouting broccoli seeds either where you want to grow them or in a seedbed for transplanting later. Depending on the variety, you should be able to harvest them in autumn or overwinter them for picking early the following year. This late in the year, calabrese is better sown where it is going to stay as it is a crop that doesn’t like being moved once the weather is warm.
This is the last chance to sow maincrop varieties that will be ready for harvesting in September or October.
All three sorts of chicory – Witloof or Belgian, sugarloaf, and radicchio – can be sown outdoors in June. The former will be ready for forcing during the winter.
Courgettes, summer squash, and marrows
If you don’t already have plants you’ve raised in pots, you can sow seeds directly outside now that the soil has warmed up thoroughly. Sow two seeds together and, once they’ve germinated, remove the weaker of the two. Leave plenty of space between plants as they spread widely and need a lot of room.
The beginning of June is probably your last chance to sow maincrop peas, mangetout, and snap peas. Towards the end of the month switch to a fast-maturing early variety. These should be ready for harvesting in about September.
Young pea seedlings are irresistible to pigeons and need protecting with nets or wire mesh.
Outdoor cucumbers are usually started off earlier in the year in pots or under cover, but if you sow some seeds outside this month they should give you a crop in August or September.
Sow curly or broad-leaved varieties outside for a crop in autumn and early winter. Germination may be erratic in hot weather.
Sow in situ and thin out if the seedlings are too crowded. High temperatures may hinder germination – which is perhaps why folklore has it that seeds are best sown at the end of the day, when the soil is cooling down.
Sow mizuna, mibuna, mustard greens, pak choi, and other Oriental leaves for salads when leaves are small, and for stir-fries when larger.
Sow if you didn’t do so last month. Thin out seedlings and if necessary cover with fine netting to keep off birds and cabbage root fly.
Sow another batch for harvesting in August or September before the roots become too large.
Traditionally, the best time to sow fennel is after 21st June, the longest day of the year. It’s said that the plants are then less likely to bolt. Modern varieties are more forgiving, so anytime in June should give you a crop in early autumn. Sow successively and sow more than you need in case some seeds don’t germinate or slugs gobble up your seedlings.
Sow a second wave of French beans to follow those that were sown outside last month.
June may be your last chance to sow seeds of herbs such as coriander, basil, chervil, fennel, dill, and parsley before the weather becomes too warm for them to germinate reliably.
Sow a second batch of seeds in seedtrays, modules, or pots ready for planting out next month. Alternatively, leave them in their trays – or even in seedbed somewhere on your allotment – and pick young leaves for salads.
Thin out kale seedlings once “true” leaves begin to appear.
Continue sowing seeds where you intend the plants to grow. Thin out seedlings if necessary, keep well-weeded, protect against slugs, and net to keep off birds.
Continue sowing seeds of Swiss chard and spinach beet.
Pumpkins and winter squash
These are usually started off earlier in the year in pots, but they can be planted straight into the ground in June. Prepare the soil by adding lots of well-rotted compost or manure.
Sow a few salad radishes in small quantities throughout the month for a constantly replenishing crop.
This is your last opportunity for sowing runner beans. With luck, seeds sown at the end of June may provide you with a crop as late as October – or at least until the first autumn frosts.
Sow runner beans direct outside, at the foot of canes or other supports.
Continue succession sowing of rocket, corn salad, summer purslane, chard, kale, mizuna, and other mixed leaves to use as cut-and-come-again salads.
Sow a couple more batches of seeds during the month to ensure you have a continuous supply through the autumn.
Courgettes and summer squash
Pumpkins and winter squash
Text and photographs copyright © 2010 Alan Buckingham.