Birds, Gardening Year, Planting, Scott, Watering, Weeding

June Gardening Jobs

In June we have the longest days of the year in the UK, which means more sun and more growing time for your garden plants. You can achieve a beautiful abundant outdoors in June if properly managed and planned. Be wary, the extra hours of light will also be helping weeds, so it’s important to keep on top of things to enjoy the best of what June has to offer your garden. 

General

garden lawn

  • Water your lawn
    • An inch of water a week on your grass will be enough to keep it from going brown. Deep watering once a week is much better than regular watering every day.
  • Control weeds 
    • Use a handheld fork to remove individual weeds from the root.
  • Plant summer beds 
    • Get your summer bedding plants into the soil so they can take advantage of the extra hours of light.
  • Check and water 
    • Check the soil around your plants regularly, digging your finger into the soil to see if there is moisture underneath. Water accordingly when the soil appears too dry. 

Plants

summer bedding

  • Protect from pests 
    • Most aphids can be dealt with using a spray bottle filled with a simple solution of water and a little washing-up liquid. This will deal with greenfly and aphids without damaging your plants. 
  • Plant out summer bedding 
    • Fill your flower beds and borders for a colourful display. Discover our selection of summer bedding plants. 
  • Grow sunflowers 
    • Now is a great time to grow sunflowers from seed; a fun project for getting the kids involved with the outdoors. 
  • Sow Nigella seeds 
    • Also known as love-in-a-mist, these unusual looking flowers can fill an area of your garden with charming blue whilst providing pollen for bees and butterflies.
  • Sow Nasturtium seeds 
    • These colourful plants are fast-growing and will quickly fill any gaps you have in your bedding. They can also be trained up trellises and arbours to provide interest at different heights. 

Animals

Blue Tit on a branch

  • Top up birdbaths 
    • Keep your birdbath topped up to provide a place to drink, wash and cool down. For birds, not your family
  • Top up bird tables 
    • This time of year most birds will be collecting bugs for their young (a bonus for pest control), but bird tables and feeders are still needed for a quick energy top-up for hard-working bird parents.
  • Avoid trimming hedges 
    • Be careful when trimming hedges as birds can be nesting inside.
  • Allow some weeds to flourish
    • Letting a small part of your lawn to grow wild will be incredibly beneficial for all sorts of wildlife. It can provide a habitat for insects which in turn will support the growth of birds. Just be sure to mark it separate from the rest of your garden to keep it in check! 

What June gardening jobs have you been up to this month? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

Scott at PrimroseScott Roberts was a copywriter making content for the Primrose site and blog. Nowadays he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

 

Allotment, Container Gardening, Gardening, Grow Your Own, Planting, Watering, Weeding

Eating vegetables you’ve grown yourself can be really satisfying. Not only is it healthier and cheaper, but it can taste better, and it’s more eco friendly. The hardest part of learning to grow your own is knowing how to start your first plot. In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to start your vegetable patch successfully.  

Pick the right location.

The location of your vegetable patch is key to growing good fruit.  The best place  will have: 

    • 6 hours of sun –  your vegetable plot will need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. You should also avoid setting up under a tree or in the shadow of your home. 
    • Moist, well-drained soil –  water pools in badly drained soil and this can end up killing your plants. Consider using a raised bed or raking your soil to get better drainage. 
    • Calm spot  –  avoid places that receive strong winds that could knock over your plants or keep pollinators away. Try to avoid areas with high footfall and places that are known to flood. 
    • Have a nearby water source –  your vegetables will need a lot of water before they are ready to harvest. You should place your plot near an outdoor tap or water source if you don’t want to carry it all. Consider setting up a water butt closeby is possible.

Choose a plot size

How big should your first vegetable patch be? For a beginner, we would suggest starting small and manageable. You need around 200 sq. ft (about the size of a one-car garage) to feed one person for most of the year. If you can start with this size, great, but a veg trug or small raised bed can also get great results. For more control or if you are only looking to dip your hand into home growing, why not consider starting by growing your veg in a container. 

Set up your Plot 

© Copyright David Robinson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Before you start planting your first veggies, you should take a few steps to make sure you are planting them in the best conditions possible. 

  • Remove any weeds
  • Dig over the soil to about one spade deep
  • Break up the soil to aerate – remove any stones or weed stems
  • If using a raised bed fill will good quality well-draining soil

Now your soil is ready, divide your bed into sections (you can mark these out with string if you want). Try to keep one crop in each section and stagger them between sowing, growing, harvesting and being empty to get a constant yield. 

Choose your crops 

Knowing what to grow in your first vegetable patch can be difficult as there are lots of choices. 

Good vegetables for beginners to grow

TomatoesGreen beansChard
CourgettesLettuceSpinach
PeppersBeetrootKale
CabbageCarrotsRadish


But ultimately the decision is up to you. No matter what you want to plant always consider a few things before making your choice. 

  • Choose what you (and your family) like to eat –  If no one likes brussels sprouts, don’t bother planting them. But if your love green beans, put more effort towards growing a big crop of beans and nothing goes to waste.
  • Be realistic about how many vegetables your family will eat –  Be careful not to overplant, as you will find yourself with too many plants on your hands. 
  • Consider whats in the shops – Your favourite veg not in your local shop? Why not grow them instead of carrots and tomatoes. Also, homegrown herbs are far less expensive than those you buy in-store.
  • Growing times –  Planning a summer holiday? Some veg like tomatoes and courgette grow strongest in the middle of summer. If you’re gone, you will need someone to look after them, or they will suffer. You can also grow cool-season crops such as lettuce, kale, peas, and root veg during the cooler months of late spring and early fall.

Where and when to plant

The success of your vegetable patch will depend a lot on when and where you plant your vegetables. 

  1. Plant for the season – There are “cool-season” vegetables that grow in spring (e.g., lettuce, spinach, root veg) and “warm-season” vegetables that aren’t planted until the soil warms up (e.g., tomatoes & peppers). Plant cool-season crops after spring frost and warm-season crops in the same area later in the season.
  2. Plant tall vegetables on the north side of the garden –  So they don’t shade shorter plants. If you do get shade in a part of your garden, save that area for small, cool-season plants. 
  3. Annual or Perennial – Most vegetables are annual (planted each year). Asparagus, rhubarb, and some herbs are perennial. If you’re planning on growing, these make sure you provide permanent locations or beds.
  4. Maturation time – Some crops mature quickly and have a very short harvest period (radishes, beans). Other plants, such as tomatoes, take longer to produce but will do so for longer. These times are usually listed on the packet, and you should aim for a combination of both. 
  5. Stagger plantings – If you want a constant supply of vegetables, you don’t want to plant all your seeds simultaneously, or they will need to be harvested at around the same time!. Stagger plantings by a few weeks to keep a constant supply. 

Planting your vegetables

You have a couple of choices regarding getting new plants to grow in your garden; you can buy nursery plants ready to go or grow from seed. Each has its own advantages. 

Starting From Seed Nursery Plants 
Cheaper Less work 
Can control how your plant is grown from the start Easier to grow
More Varieties to choose fromTakes up less space 

Nursery Plants: 

Planting a nursery plant is simple. Follow the instructions on the plant label, and you’re ready to go, be careful to give each plant enough space to grow in the future. 

Growing Vegetables from seed: 

Growing from seed can take more time, but you have much more control over how your plants end up. Starting your plants indoors gives them a higher survival rate than those grown indoors.  

Top tips

  1. Make sure your containers have drainage holes – You can use recycled pots, egg boxes or yoghurt pots. Seed trays and flats are good choices and can be reused year after year. Biodegradable pots are great too. 
  2. Plant seeds at the proper depth – Check the seed packet for planting depth. Be careful not to plant any deeper than the directions – a good rule is to plant the two-to-three times as deep as the seed is wide.
  3. After sowing, put your container somewhere warm – On top of a fridge or near a radiator are good spots. Check your pots every day for signs of growth. 
  4. Keep seed-starting mix moist – Seedling roots need both air and water. Keep the mix moist but not wet.
  5. As soon as seedlings emerge, place pots in a bright location at room temperature – A sunny window will do
  6. Once seedlings have two sets of leaves thin out – You want one seedling per pot. Choose the healthiest, strongest-looking seedling to keep.
  7. Plant outside when you have three of four full-sized leaves.

Vegetable Care Tips 

Fertilize 

 Use a diluted all-purpose fertilizer before planting and once in the middle of the growing season.

Mulching 

Apply mulch in the spring after the soil has warmed

Watering

Getting your watering right is a key skill in getting your vegetables to grow as well as they can. A moisture meter is a handy way to help yourself out. It also helps to know the signs of under or overwatering. 

You’ve underwatered if: You’ve overwatered if: 
Dry soil around the stems There is soaked soil around plant stems.
Stunted Growth Mould or moss is growing on the soil.
WiltingWilting
Dead Leaves Yellowing of leaves
Brown Leaves Dead leaf margins

Common pests and how to treat them 

 

AphidSmall sap-sucking insects that can be found on the leaves of your plant. Spray with a steady stream of water or plant safe soap. You can also release predatory insects such as ladybugs or prune off the most heavily infected leaves.
Cabbage WormBest Picked off by hand and use a floating row cover to keep the adults from laying eggs on crops. 
Corn EarwormTilling in the spring and autumn will expose pupae to predators, weather and wind. Pesticides will also work.
Cucumber BeetleHandpick beetles frequently. Adults can be sprayed with a botanical insecticide. After harvest, remove garden debris to reduce sites for overwintering.
CutwormUse toilet roll tubes to make collars and place around the stems of seedlings ( half above and half below the soil). Beneficial nematodes can be added to the soil and hand remove caterpillars after dark.
Flea BeetleTo avoid peak populations of flea beetles, avoid planting your crops until later in the season. Add beneficial nematodes to the soil and use floating row covers to keep pests off plants.
Slug & SnailEdge garden beds with copper tape to deter slugs and snails. Shallow pans of beer placed in the garden will trap them, then collect and destroy daily.
Squash BugCheck the undersides of leaves, and hand remove squash bugs. Keep plants off the ground with trellises. If the infestation gets too bad, use floating row covers and a botanical insecticide.
Tomato HornwormCheck the leaves for large green caterpillars) and hand remove. Till gardens in the fall to destroy pupae in the soil.

Diseases

Wet weather, inadequate air and low and poor drainage are all causes of plant disease. You can prevent disease on your vegetables by

  • Choosing disease-resistant plants 
  • Water and fertilize plants properly.
  • Rotate crops
  • Keep your growing area clean.

Some common diseases include: 

Bacterial Leaf Spot: Mostly affecting cabbage-family crops, peppers and tomatoes. Infected foliage has small, dark brown or black water-soaked spots. These spots will dry up and crack, leaving holes and leaves may drop prematurely. Apply copper-based fungicides every 7-days when symptoms first appear to prevent from spreading. Control can be difficult in wet weather.

Clubroot: Caused by a soil-inhabiting fungus and infecting cabbage-family plants (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage). Infected plants have swollen, misshapen roots and wilt in the heat. Older leaves turn yellow or drop off. Plant disease-resistant varieties and rotate vegetable crops.

Common Rust: Reddish-brown powdery spots that rub off when touched appear on leaves. Prune plants and remove weeds to provide good air circulation. Hand-pick infected leaves and remove and destroy seriously affected plants. Apply sulfur fungicides to plants early to prevent infection or to keep light problems from spreading.

Late Blight: Mostly affecting tomato and potato plants, this disease appears late in the growing season. Look for water-soaked, grey-green spots on leaves. As the disease matures a white fungal growth may form on the undersides. Select resistant varieties when available and dispose of all infected plant parts. Water in the morning to give plants time to dry out during the day. Copper sprays can suppress some outbreaks.

Mosaic Virus: This disease appears as mottled green or yellowish coloured plant tissue. Plant growth is often stunted, and leaves may curl. There is no cure for the mosaic virus so remove infected plants immediately. Plant disease-resistant crops and reduce the number of disease-carrying insects (aphids, leafhoppers) can spread the virus. 

Wilts: Affecting many vegetable plants, causes wilting and yellow blotches on the lower leaves. Choose resistant varieties when available and control garden insects, such as cucumber beetles, who are known to spread the disease.

It can be a steep learning curve when first learning how to plant your own vegetables, but as soon as you harvest and cook with your first crop, you will realise how satisfying it can be and be hooked. Find everything you need for a successful home garden here. We’d love to see what you’re doing with your home garden so let us know how your homegrown vegetables are doing on Facebook or send us a picture on Instagram with the hashtag#MyPrimroseGarden for a chance to be featured.

Gardening, Gary, Grow Your Own, How To, Plants, Watering

 

Most of your plants need regular watering to survive, and the hotter it gets the more water they need. Watering big gardens and allotments can become a chore that takes time away from your other garden maintenance. Irrigation has been used to water large areas since the ancient Egyptians dug channels through their fields to divert river water. Luckily, you have a few more options available to you beyond diverting rivers. 

Irrigation types 

Irrigation works by supplying controlled amounts of water to your plants at set times, and there are a lot of ways you can do this. The method that is right for you will depend on how much sun your garden gets and if your plants have similar or different watering requirements

 

Sprinklers 

 

Easy to install and simple to maintain, the sprinkler system replicates rainfall by supplying water from above the plant. This is an easy way to water a large garden and if you get a simple lawn sprinkler can be one of the cheapest. There are advantages and disadvantages to a sprinkler system, and its usefulness will depend on your need: 

 

Advantages Disadvantages 
Covers a large areaCan cause overwatering
Can be automatedProne to disruption from wind
Can be used anywhereSome systems can be expensive to install
Low maintenanceNot the best system if you have different watering requirements

Soaker hose

 

These hoses are made of porous materials and release small amounts of water directly into the soil. More often used in vegetable patches and under hedges, this method of above-ground irrigation might be the best option for you if you want to conserve water. 

AdvantagesDisadvantages 
Conserves water Requires regular maintenance
Conserves soilTime-consuming initial installation 
Can be automated Low output
Waters soil directlyLimited coverage 

Drip Line Irrigation

 

Drip line irrigation is similar to a soaker hose but allows you more control over how much certain parts of your garden get watered. These systems can be placed at ground level or put over your plants if a more advanced line and nozzle system are used making it a good irrigation system for hanging baskets.

Advantages Disadvantages 
Conserves waterTime-consuming set up
Adjustable output Can be prone to clogging 
Long lifespanSlower than other systems 
Can be automated More advanced systems can have a big setup cost

 

Self-watering containers

 

These specialized containers are a great solution to keeping your plants watered if you are away for a short trip. These pots  have an upper pot that holds the soil and plant, while a lower reservoir holds the water and feeds it to the soil. Usually, these pots hold enough water for a few days, depending on the weather and evaporation rate – all you need to do is refill the reservoir. 

Tree bags 

Trees and shrubs need slow, deep watering to become established. Tree watering bags are put around the base of the tree and filled with water where they will slowly release it into the soil surrounding the rootball. They are an inexpensive and water-saving way of establishing 

Automate your system 

 

If you are going on holiday, are away a lot or want to spend time on other gardening jobs then automating your watering is one of the best things you can do. Setting up a basic automated system is simple and can be done in a few steps, all you need is a timer that attaches to your outdoor tap – this can be mains or solar-powered.

  1. Make sure your hose pipes and sprinklers are set up so you have total coverage of your garden 
  2. Attach your timer or regulator to your water source and set the times
  3. Connect everything together with
  4. Do a test run 
  5. Enjoy

 

Once you have the right irrigation set up you will find yourself with much more time to enjoy your garden and get the rest of your jobs done, making this a must-do job for the serious gardener.

Gardening, Watering

Your garden runs on water. Flowers need it, ponds need it, and water features need it. But how do you keep your garden supplied and avoid racking up big water bills? Store rainwater.  

The Benefit Of Storing Rainwater

Why store rainwater? 

Control your own supply

Unpredictable weather, especially in the UK, can make it hard to always have water when you need it. Being able to store rainwater throughout the year means you can control your own supply. You won’t have to rely on the tap or be restricted by hosepipe bans in the summer when water companies may struggle to supply. Hotter summers are only going to become more likely as we move further into the climate emergency, so storing rainwater is a great way to keep your garden irrigated.  

Save money on water bills

By watering your garden from the tap you can add a large amount of excess water to your bill. This need not be the case if you are able to store rainwater for your garden and get independence from the tap. 

Why is rainwater better than tap? 

Tap water is rainwater that has been treated to make it safe for drinking. The same processes that make water safe to drink however also remove many benefits that water has for our plants.

Benefits of Storing Rainwater

  1. Rainwater is 100% soft water. It’s free from salts and chemicals that are found in drinking water. The salts in tap water can build up in your soil and are tough on the roots of plants and affect their growth. Rainwater doesn’t have this effect and will create a better growing environment for your plants 
  2. Rainwater is slightly acidic – most organically grown plants prefer slightly acidic soil with pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5 which is slightly on the acidic side. Luckily rainwater fits into this range, making it ideal for almost any plant you want to grow, almost as if nature intended it that way.  
  3. Stored rainwater contains some organic matter – If collected from your rooftop or greenhouse guttering,  rainwater will contain traces of organic material. This will enrich the water with nutrients and improve your soil similarly to how fertilizer does
  4. Rain contains nitrates—  Nitrogen is one of the three key nutrients that plants need to thrive. It is necessary for the development of lush foliage, but it’s not usually absorbable by plants. Unless broken down into nitrates which they can only absorb from the soil, so watering with nitrate-rich water is key to lush growth 

How to store rainwater 

Collecting and storing rainwater is as simple as diverting water from your guttering to a tank or waterbutt. How you do this is up to you, but there are some common tactics: 

Divert water from your downpipe – If your waterbutt isn’t directly under an outflow from your downpipe, then consider attaching a diverter to your downpipe, or fix guttering to your greenhouse or shed and divert it. However you choose to divert water it is definitely worth doing, and waterbutts come in all shapes, sizes and designs which means you are sure to find something to fit into your garden.