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Nature blog - Jenny Bourne

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The RPA Nature blog with Jenny Bourne.

Watch the seasons unfold right here at our very own allotments

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Beetroot

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 beetroot direct. Seedlings don’t like being transplanted.

Broccoli

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.

Carrots

This is the last chance to sow maincrop varieties that will be ready for harvesting in September or October.

Chicory

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.

Peas

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.

Young pea seedlings are irresistible to pigeons and need protecting with nets or wire mesh.

Cucumbers

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.

Endive

Sow curly or broad-leaved varieties outside for a crop in autumn and early winter. Germination may be erratic in hot weather.

Lettuces

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.

Oriental leaves

Sow mizuna, mibuna, mustard greens, pak choi, and other Oriental leaves for salads when leaves are small, and for stir-fries when larger.

Swedes

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.

Turnips

Sow another batch for harvesting in August or September before the roots become too large.

Florence fennel

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.

French beans

Sow a second wave of French beans to follow those that were sown outside last month.

Herbs

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.

Kale

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.

Thin out kale seedlings once “true” leaves begin to appear.

Kohl rabi

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.

Leaf vegetables

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.

Radishes

Sow a few salad radishes in small quantities throughout the month for a constantly replenishing crop.

Runner beans

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.

Sow runner beans direct outside, at the foot of canes or other supports.

Salad leaves

Continue succession sowing of rocket, corn salad, summer purslane, chard, kale, mizuna, and other mixed leaves to use as cut-and-come-again salads.

Spring onions

Sow a couple more batches of seeds during the month to ensure you have a continuous supply through the autumn.

Sow outdoors

 

Vegetables

Beetroot

Broccoli

Carrots

Courgettes and summer squash

Florence fennel

French beans

Kale

Kohl rabi

Marrows

Oriental leaves

Peas

Pumpkins and winter squash

Runner beans

Swedes

Swiss chard

Turnips

Salads

Chicory
Cucumbers
Endive
Lettuces
Radishes
Salad leaves
Spring onions

 

 

 

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)