WHAT TO DO IN THE EDIBLE GARDEN IN JUNE
What can I sow now?
Peas, carrots, lettuce, courgettes, rocket, runner, borlotti and french beans, beetroot, sweetcorn, chard, spinach, salad onions, radishes
What can I harvest now?
Top tip… potatoes
New potatoes are at their best in June. I love growing them in pots since they take over my garden beds horribly and look pretty straggly and rotten after a while. I’ve tried so many different containers for growing potatoes, and have come to the conclusion that all those fancy spud tubs and deep potato planters are a waste of money. This year I’ve grown potatoes in normal terracotta pots (about 30cm diameter) and also special ’spud tubs’ – black plastic tall pots. I got more potatoes from the normal pots than the spud tubs. You can also grow them in any hardwearing plastic bag if that’s your thing.
The best way to harvest new potatoes is to upturn the whole pot onto a bit of plastic sheet or cardboard, keeping the plants undamaged, pick off the potatoes that look ready, then replace the whole thing in the pot and water and feed it with a liquid seaweed feed. This way, the plant barely knows it’s been disturbed and will continue to grow the little potatoes for a later harvest. It’ll also save you scrabbling about in the compost for hours in an endless version of lucky dip in which your fingernails get so filthy you’ll be moved on from public spaces.
Other things to do in June
Aphids like June because there are lots of new green shoots they can congregate on and suck the sap from. Blackfly can be a particular pain on broad beans. Keep an eye on new shoots for little green, black or brown wingless flies and blast them off with the garden hose, squish between your fingers (disposable latex gloves are good to have on hand for this!) or spray with organic insecticidal soft soap. I used to use diluted washing up liquid but apparently it’s not safe for the plant, so best to use the soft soap.
Pinch out the sideshoots of cordon tomatoes to stop them wasting energy on new growing tips rather than on the fruit that should be plumping up nicely by now
Keep on top of weeds. If you get them before the flower and set seed you’ll save yourself a whole lot of trouble
Keep thirsty crops such as potatoes and tomatoes well watered
The June is busting out all over garden salad
You will need
For the salad
10 or so new potatoes
6 golf-ball sized beetroots
A handful of radishes
2 handfuls of washed lettuce leaves
2 handfuls of podded broad beans
1 packet feta cheese
for the dressing
3 parts walnut oil
1 part white wine vinegar
Boil the potatoes and beetroots until tender. Rub the skin off the beetroot when cool. Steam the broad beans, then pop out of their leathery skins. Top and tail the radishes. While the potatoes are still warm, toss in a little walnut oil and white wine vinegar (ratio, 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil). Cut the feta cheese into cubes. Combine all the ingredients into a big bowl and toss well, pouring on more walnut salad dressing to taste.