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6 June 2013

June Tasks for the Vegetable Gardener

June is a busy time for the vegetable gardener with crops to tend and others still to sow. Below is a list of jobs that you may need to tackle over the next few weeks, depending on what you are growing.

Start picking your first early potatoes - not really a job but one of the high spots of the gardening year!

Harvest asparagus until the end of the month, then allow the shoots to grow to feed the roots for next year’s crop. However don't harvest asparagus spears from crowns less than two years old.

Before planting out young plants that have been raised indoors or in a greenhouse, remember to harden them off to accustom them to outdoor conditions.

Don't plant out frost tender crops until after the last frost and keep some temporary protection handy e.g. fleece, sheets of newspaper, in case you look like getting caught out by a late frost.

Sow french, runner and broad beans outside in prepared beds. I have already planted broad beans and french beans which I started in the greenhouse but intend to put in another row of french bean seeds. Your beans will need a framework of canes and netting or a wigwam of canes to climb up.

Squash, sweetcorn, outdoor cucumbers and peas can also be sown directly into prepared beds outside. Peas will need support from pea sticks or netting in due course, while sweetcorn is best planted in blocks with at least 18 inches between plants. Now is the time to plant out any sweetcorn grown under cover.

Marrows, courgettes and pumpkins can still be sown outdoors in early June in the south.

Continue sowing salad crops, such as beetroot, radish and lettuce. These can be slotted in between rows of beans etc.

Celery and celeriac can be planted out in early June into a well-prepared site with plenty of organic matter. This also applies to outdoor cucumbers, which benefit from a regular dose of liquid tomato feed.

You can now plant out vegetables sown indoors earlier in the year such as winter brassicas and sweet peppers, though don't plant the latter until all risk of frost has passed. They will benefit from being protected by cloches.

You can still sow turnips, calabrese and kohl rabi for an autumn crop.

Regularly hoe your vegetable garden to keep the weeds down.

Earth up potatoes unless you are growing them under plastic.

Water tomatoes and peppers regularly to reduce the chance of blossom end rot.

Start treating potatoes and tomatoes against blight.

There are lots of pests about ready to attack your crops so look out for flea beetles on brassicas and asparagus beetles and their larvae.

Reduce the risk of aphid attack of your broad beans by pinching out the tops once the lowest flowers have set.

Protect your plants from carrot fly by covering them with a fine mesh.

Prevent the problem of grey mould and brassica downy mildew on your brassicas by removing any yellowing leaves as soon as they appear.

Remain vigilant against slugs.

I hope you enjoy a good month's gardening.

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