The easy way to keep on top of all your summer gardening jobs

·4-min read
june gardening jobs how keep on top of garden 2022 summer - GAP Photos / Andrea Jones
june gardening jobs how keep on top of garden 2022 summer - GAP Photos / Andrea Jones

One of the pleasures of life in the early summer garden is being able to enjoy the natural processes evolving all around us. Our gardens need tending regularly, particularly pots and containers: seedlings and young plants depend on us for most of their needs.

Of course it's a nice thought to simply sit outside and enjoy the hot weather we've been enjoying - but you'll feel much better for it if all your gardening jobs for the month have been ticked off the list.

Take a few minutes each day to remove spent flowers; water and feed your plants to enjoy a summer of fruit and flowers – and don’t forget to think about your houseplants as holiday season is upon us. In June, little and often can lead to great results.

Your easy gardening job list for June

Protect strawberries

Everyone loves a fresh strawberry, including birds. As your precious strawberries are forming and colouring up, protect them from being devoured by birds who cannily wait until the fruit is near-perfect before they strike.

It’s easy to build a small fruit cage with bamboo canes slotted into plastic connecting balls. These cost around £15 online (search Build a Ball fruit cage). Cover the frame with bird netting anchored down well to protect the fruit, then you can pick it when it’s ripe.

Keep plant roots healthy

june gardening jobs how keep on top of garden 2022 summer - GAP Photos / Fiona Lea
june gardening jobs how keep on top of garden 2022 summer - GAP Photos / Fiona Lea

Healthy root systems mean healthy plants. Trees have to compete with grass for water and nutrients which can slow their growth.

By making a clear circle around the base of the tree, you remove that competition: score a circle in the turf around the base (about 1m from the trunk) and clear the grass, exposing the soil.

Throw some Growmore on the soil, water well and mulch with manure or compost. Keep the soil free from weeds and your tree can enjoy air, water and food uninterrupted.

Make houseplants from cuttings

The dramatic houseplant Begonia rex can be propagated from leaf cuttings. It’s really simple and a fun project to try. Remove an entire leaf and turn it upside down. Make several cuts at the junctions of veins all the way through the leaf using a sharp knife. Now place the leaf right side up on the surface of a seed tray which is a mixture of half sand and half peat-free compost.

Secure the leaf in place with a few small stones or wires bent to form pins. Water well and place on a cool windowsill, away from direct sun and wait for young plants to emerge.

Tend plant pots

june gardening jobs how keep on top of garden 2022 summer - GAP Photos
june gardening jobs how keep on top of garden 2022 summer - GAP Photos

It’s that time of year where regularly tending pots is important. This means establishing a routine: water, feed and deadhead.

As a rule of thumb, don’t allow containers to dry out, water them daily or every two to three days, depending upon weather and their position in the garden; pots in hot sun need more attention than those in shade.

Keep going with Feeding Friday, giving pots a dose of liquid tomato feed each week. Finally, encourage more flowers by removing spent ones.

Two projects to plan this season

How to grow cucumbers

cucumbers june gardening jobs how keep on top of garden 2022 summer - Getty Images 
cucumbers june gardening jobs how keep on top of garden 2022 summer - Getty Images

If you’re growing cucumbers or melons, make sure that you keep humidity levels high in your greenhouse. Both will grow happily in a large pot or two plants to one growbag and both are best grown in a greenhouse or a warm and sheltered spot outside, ideally against a sunny wall.

If you can get into a habit of damping down (sloshing water on the slabs or soil) of the greenhouse floor each morning, it will help keep down red spider mite which can be troublesome.

I’ve discovered that by feeding cucumbers and melons each time I water them, the yields are much greater. Give a half dose of tomato feed at each watering. Look out for all-female varieties of cucumber like ‘Carmen’ which give lots of tasty fruit.

While you’re away...

As you allow yourself to think of holidays again, remember that houseplants still need care when you’re away. The main issue is plants drying out while you take in that sunshine and sauvignon.

My tip would be: the day that you set off, take an old towel, soak it with water and place it in the bottom of your bath. Water houseplants then put them on the towel; they will take up any water they need through capillary action. These dark, damp conditions won’t harm them for a week or two; they’ll tick over until you get back.

Tom Brown is head gardener at West Dean Gardens, West Sussex. Follow him on Twitter @HeadGardenerTom and Instagram @tombrowngardener

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