As June edges into summer, it could be safe to assume that the frosts are over though not guaranteed.. So harden off and plant out those varieties that have been brought on inside, making sure anything you do plant out is fed and watered and supported as needed. It is a good idea to have some fleece or newspaper to hand to cover plants outside should temperatures drop at night or hailstorms threaten
Keep sowing salad crops; baby carrots, beetroot, lettuce, rocket and radish. Choose partially shady sites for leafy salad crops since hot dry weather can repress germination and lead to bitter tasting leaves. French and runner beans, peas, squash, sweetcorn, and outdoor cucumbers can be sown direct outside, where you want them to grow. If you live ‘down south’ you can still sow courgettes, marrows and pumpkins outdoors. (I am a bit behind so have sown some courgettes in a large tub outside in the hope that I will get a late crop if the weather is kind here in North Wales.) Although too late for winter brassicas, ( these should have been started much earlier), there is opportunity for autumn crops of calabrese, turnips and kohl rabi if sown now.
- French beans are best sown in rows, 45cm (18in) apart, at 15-22cm (6-9in) spacing. I have also grown for or five in a large tub.
- Runner beans need well-prepared ground and a suitable frame to grow up
- Sweetcorn works best planted in blocks, at least 45cm (18in) spacing, with two seeds per hole. Any seeds sown earlier under cover can now be planted out into the same block pattern. Sow before mid June
- Try 3 Sisters planting - growing sweetcorn, beans and squashes together
For cottage garden effect, sow flowers such as alstroemeria, calendula, canterbury bells, cerinthe, clarkia, coreopsis, erigeron, forget-me not, godetia, night scented stock, poppies and sweet william. Poached egg plant - limnanthes douglasii and nasturtiums make colourful ground cover, flowering in 10-12 weeks.
- Nasturtium leaves, flowers and seeds are all edible.
- Poppies prefer to be sown direct rather than into a seed tray as they hate root disturbance. – if sown now, many varieties flower within eight weeks.
- Meanwhile, polyanthus, primrose and pansy can be started off under cover for planting out in autumn and winter baskets.
Don’t forget your herbs (often expensive in the supermarket and can be grown repeatedly for just a few pence worth of seeds). These tasty plants add fragrance to the garden while attracting pollinators and beneficial insects. Certain herbs are better adapted to grow during the heat of summer than others. Amongst the best herbs to grow for summer are basil, chervil, coriander, dill, fenugreek, oregano, parsley, sage, savory, rosemary and thyme. Sow either in open ground or containers in position to suit; some like full sun, others prefer the shade.