June allotment garden

Last revised: 27 February 2018

Seasonal reminders, hints and tips.

Should your early sowing have failed there is still time to sow seeds and plant seedlings and see a good crop before the season ends.

Most likely there are plenty of insect infestations which can be addressed either using systemic spray or a powerful spray of a soapy water mix.

If you have some bare ground that will not be used, sow green manure like phacelia which is quick growing and will protect the ground, giving back useful nitrogen to the soil and fibre when dug back in. Contact Site Manager if you want phacelia seed.

Plot and community paths

Please ensure paths are kept clear and well trimmed. With many more people on site at this time of year it is good to remove hazards and keep path well defined for those walking around.

Potato and tomato blight

Please read this article about Potato and Tomato Blight.

Fruit bushes and trees

Take early pickings and thin out the crop to allow remaining fruit to grow more freely and larger. Keep bushes free from competing weeds.

Check gooseberry plants for sawfly. Evidenced by half eaten leaves. Pick off the caterpillars and give plant a systemic spray or thorough and firm spray of soapy water. Soak the root area to drown any caterpillar that have fallen off or they will creep back again.

Peas

Sowing pea seeds before end of June is probably the last opportunity to get a good crop before the season ends.

Dig a shallow 5cm deep trench and soak with water. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per station about 10cm apart, or one seed per station 5cm apart. You should see shoots in about 2 weeks. Keep well watered, protect from birds, slugs and snails.

As soon as shoots begin to show, provide stakes or mesh to allow seedlings to grasp with the tendrils. Provide a fortnightly liquid fertiliser feed at the roots, not on leaves as this will damage plant and restrict growth.

Tomatoes

When planting tomatoes add a general purpose fertiliser in planting stations allowing about 45cm between plants. Push in a stake next to the plant which will be used to tie up stalk as the plant grows. Staking early avoid disturbing roots.

Bush varieties of tomatoes are considered hardier and better able to weather colder conditions. Look for blight resistant varieties as the allotment site is prone to the disease.

If you have plants growing already keep them watered to avoid blossom end rot and use a comfrey liquid feed, if you have made some, at the roots to promote plant health.

Carrots

The early sowings should be producing small carrots suitable for picking and at same time thinning out the rows which allows other plants to grow larger. Over time aim for about 15cm between carrots and continue picking as needed.

Cover carrots with fine fleece to reduce incidence of carrot fly.

Potatoes

Earth up potato haulms as new potatoes grow from the main stalk, not the roots. Covering the haulm also limits surface area for blight disease to land on.

Potatoes will colour green when exposed to direct sunlight and become inedible, poisonous to some. Some will grow near the surface and need covering with earth. Earthing up will provide the opportunity to remove weeds from mound and between rows, which also reduces incidence of blight disease.

Water roots, not the leaves, regularly to avoid drying out. One technique is to water between the rows. Do not think a rain shower is enough. Intermittent watering causes variation in growth and lowers resistance to disease.

Brassicas

Cabbage white butterfly, fine net

Pick off caterpillars

Broad beans

Pinch out tips of plants to stop plant growth and dissuade black fly. Removing water pressure in plant stem on which the flies rely will reduce the infestation. A powerful spray with soapy water will wash of the bugs. Saturate the ground around the plant roots will drown those that dropped off.

Leeks

For planting leeks, soak the seedlings in water to loosen the soil and plants to be easier to untangle roots.

Make a 25mm diameter and 10 to 15cm deep hole in the ground using an old broom stick or dibber. Using a fine watering rose fill the hole with water and carefully drop a seedling into the hole with more water to help push the roots down. More water will gently close earth around the seedling.

Sweet peas

Sowing now should provide flowers for late summer.

Water the ground well and sow 2 or 3 seeds 5cm deep and 5cm apart near runner bean poles or something the plants can grow on to.