June Grow your own

Continue sowing salad crops, such as beetroot, Chinese cabbage, pak choi and radish. Leafy salad crops may do better when sown in partially shady sites since hot dry weather can lead to bitter tasting leaves. Sow French, runner and broad beans, peas, squash, sweetcorn, and outdoor cucumbers directly into prepared beds outside. French beans are best sown in traditional rows, 45cm (18in) apart, at 15-22cm (6-9in) spacing. Sweet corn works best planted in blocks, at 45cm (18in) spacing, with two seeds per hole. Any seeds sown earlier under cover can now be planted out into the same block pattern. Runner beans need well-prepared ground and suitable supports (often a frame or wigwam of bamboo canes tied together with twine) for the shoots to twine around and grow upwards. Courgettes, marrows and pumpkins can still be sown outdoors in early June. Encourage good fruit set by hand pollinating. Although most winter brassicas need to be sown earlier in the season, turnips can be sown now for an autumn crop. Plant out tomatoes if this has not already been done. Train them up canes or string, and remove sideshoots from cordon tomatoes. Celeriac and self-blanching celery can be planted out this month. A well-prepared site with lots of organic matter dug in is essential. Outdoor ridge cucumbers can be planted out this month. They benefit from a site that has been enriched with lots of organic matter to help retain water. Plant vegetables sown indoors earlier in the season, including winter brassicas and sweet peppers. Peppers can only be planted out when all risk of frost has passed. Gaps between winter brassica plants can be used for quick-maturing catch crops, perhaps radishes or gem lettuces. Plant out artichokes that were previously sown under cover. They can be grown as perennials (in which case they need 90cm spacing), or as biennials (45cm spacing is sufficient). General Care Regularly feed ridge cucumbers with a liquid tomato feed, following the instructions given. Peas need staking with pea sticks, netting or pruned garden twigs. Continue to earth up potatoes not ready for harvest (unless planted through black plastic). Do not harvest asparagus spears from crowns less than two years old. Hoe between rows on hot days to make sure weeds dry up and die without re-rooting or they will compete for moisture and nutrients. Weedkiller might kill or damage your crops as well as the weeds. Water tomatoes and peppers regularly to prevent blossom end rot - a symptom of calcium deficiency due to erratic water supply. Material courtesy of www.rhs.org.uk

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