I love the month of June. The weather is starting to warm, everything is growing quicker, the risk of frost diminishes and interesting looking crops such as coloured beans and squash can be planted out or sown. You may even be harvesting potatoes, broad beans and peas along with salad leaves and ripening summer strawberries.
Some jobs for June:
- Plant out or sow runner and French beans (if you haven’t done so already), courgettes and squash
- Plant out sweetcorn, pumpkins, kale and purple sprouting broccoli
- Start feeding tomatoes, pinch out side shoots on cordon varieties
- Snap off onion and garlic scape (flower spikes) as they appear
- Keep the hoe and watering can busy!
- Keep sowing carrots, beets, salad crops, spring onion and radish
- Make June the last month to harvest your rhubarb, allowing it to rest
- Pinch out the growing tips of broad beans once the pods start to form to discourage black fly
- Harvest peas, early and second early potatoes, autumn sown broad beans, salad crops and strawberries
- Tie in Runner Beans as they grow
- Sow Florence fennel where they’re to crop
- Plant a herb bed
- Ventilate the greenhouse
- Transplant or ‘dib in’ leek seedlings once they’re the width of a pencil.
- Keep sowing beetroot, kohl rabi, radish, spring onions, lettuce and peas every two weeks
- Weed in-between onions and garlic
- Plant the last of your seed potatoes
- Cut out flower spikes from the middle of rhubarb crowns
- Check support for summer raspberries, blackberries and other hybrid berries, tie in canes.
- Thin out crowded raspberry canes if you didn’t do it last month
- Plant out sunflowers and other half-hardy flowering annuals
- Thin carrot seedlings and consider sowing more rows
- Plant out sweet pea if you haven’t done so already
- Harvest crops when ready and enjoy!
There hasn’t been much going on in the vegetable garden lately, persistent heavy rain and gusty winds constantly prevent any real activity from happening. The greenhouse is heaving with plants crying out to be planted out, I’ve yet to sow a bean seed, carrots are just a disaster and I’ve just about given up trying to keep the summer raspberry canes tied in to their support, they’re trailing on the ground again and that’s where they’re probably safe to be honest. More high winds are set to batter our region this weekend.
Aside from letting the hens out early in the morning, some days I haven’t bothered to venture outside for fear of a tree landing on my head. Our neighbour suffered substantial damage to her fence and garden when a huge tree came down, the noise and destruction was horrific but luckily nobody was hurt. But, there’s some good news with all this wet weather we’re having; potatoes, strawberries and onions are thriving, the lawn is looking the best it ever has and lots of small frogs are regularly visiting the wildlife pond, and being quite brazen about it too.
I don’t miss all the watering this time of year usually requires, but, please, a break from the wet and wild weather would be nice. I’m starting to lose enthusiasm.
I could cry when I look at this photo, this is how my carrots usually look around about now. The growing season this year has been a real mixed bag of baking hot or wet cold weather, it’s been either one or the other. My vegetable garden doesn’t know if it should spring into life or slink underground for cover.
Recently I’ve had a problem with slugs and snails eating my carrot seedlings at night (let’s face it, they have the upper hand with the weather being on their side), I found evidence of their night-time activities – sparkling slime trails across the surface of the soil and carrot seedlings half munched or gone completely. I placed a covering of prickly holly all the way round the rows and sowed more seed, I thought this would stop the little rascals in their slimy tracks, and for a while it appeared to be working.
Up popped my carrots once more, thanks to a spell of warm weather. All was looking good for a while, then the rain and cold came back and all 3 rows of my beautiful little carrot seedlings vanished. Gone. Almost as if the ground opened up and swallowed them whole, in one fell swoop. The carrot seed I’m using is fresh this year and I’ve rotated to avoid roots being in the same bed for 3 years running, the strange thing is the parsnips in the same bed are growing like the clappers and have remained untouched all the way through. So, this has got me thinking; Have I bought dodgy carrot seed? Are slugs and snails around these here parts partial to carrots only? Are slugs and snails actually to blame? Will I ever pull carrots this year?
I can only assume the weather has produced a bumper amount of slimers and they’re really enjoying my carrot growing efforts. I’ve never had a problem with slugs or snails to this extent before, I’m not one to go shaking slug pellets everywhere as I’ve never been into harming wildlife or my pets. Beer traps are just yucky things to deal with so I won’t be going down that route either. Perhaps I should give something like organic slug pellets a try (are they actually safe?) or sow in large pots, off the ground?
Are you having problems this year? Go on, tell me and make me feel better.
I’ve decided to give a home to another pair of rescue hens, recent events spurred me on to make contact with Little Hen Rescue again, to put my name down for their next rescue which is happening on 7th July. This rescue is for hens currently in the new ‘enriched’ cage system, barren battery cages were changed over to the new enriched cage system earlier this year – call them what you like but to me an animal in a cage is still barbaric, scratch pad and a bit of nesting material or not.
The birds are approximately 18 months old and up for slaughter unless homes can be found. I will be bringing home two ladies from the Cambridge collection point on 8th July, it has been a few years since I collected rescue hens and I’m super excited for the life they will have here.
To keep up to date with forthcoming rescues, please take a look at the collection and rescue dates via the Little Hen Rescue website http://www.littlehenrescue.co.uk/Pages/Updatesonrescues.aspx
Collection from Norwich and Cambridge with an occasional collection point in Essex. If you would like to give a home to some deserving hens, email to express your interest and book a time with the co-ordinator via the website here: http://www.littlehenrescue.co.uk/Pages/Adoptinghens.aspx
If you would like to learn more about enriched cages, watch this video filmed inside a farm operating these cages in the UK. I will warn you, it will probably make your heart bleed.
It has been a tough old ride with my chickens lately. Yesterday morning I opened one of the coops and discovered Dot, one of my old ex battery hens had died suddenly in the night. Another of my old girls, Ethel was diagnosed with cancer a while ago. She was doing really well on supportive care but recently time had caught up with her and today she was finding her condition hard to cope with. It’s heartbreaking to see a hen literally use every muscle she has to take a breath. I believe the death of Dot worsened matters, they were literally joined at the hip. Today I took Ethel to my very supportive avian vet and allowed her to go, ending her suffering.
Goodbye old girls x