Thursday, May 21, 2009

June work in the community garden

This is just a guide to what we can be at in the Community garden. As we can only hope the weather improves so the plants get some sun shine as well as ourselves.

Willie B. ;>)

June should bring us a hot sunshine filled month with the risk of frost passed and those in more northerly parts should be able to catch up with those in the south. We're also moving towards the longest day, June 21st being the summer solstice so there is plenty of daylight to let you get on with things.

There is a lot to do in June but the rewards for our efforts are coming in the harvest.
Salad crops should be available, lettuce, spring onion, radish etc, Summer cabbage and early carrots. With carrots the later thinnings can provide a great addition to a salad or just steamed with a cooked meal.
The early potatoes will be coming in this month. Because your potatoes will be going from ground to pan in a matter of minutes you will discover a truly wonderful flavour.
Beetroot, young turnips and summer spinach may all be welcome fresh additions to your diet.
The early peas could well be cropping in June, especially in the south

Sowing, Planting and Cultivating

As with May, we really need to keep on top of the weeds. Hoeing them off as small seedlings will make the job far easier than waiting for them to grow and send their roots down. Hoeing is best done on a dry day so that the weeds do not have a chance to recover. Don't forget to sharpen your hoe before you start and frequently as you use it. Keeping a small sharpening stone or file in your pocket will make this more convenient.
Continue thinning out your carrots, parsnips, beetroot etc. As I said above, later carrot thinnings can provide a tender and tasty addition to a meal.
Water when required. Your best measuring instrument for water is your finger. If the top of the soil looks dry, insert your finger into the soil. If it's dry at the tip, then you need to water.
Don't just sprinkle a few drops on the surface, it probably won't penetrate and do any good. Far better to give a good soaking less frequently that will get to the roots of your crops.
In very dry weather, keeping the surface friable by hoeing will help keep the water from getting to the surface by capillary action and then evaporating away. It also helps water soak in when you do get some rain.

You should be able to plant out brassicas now. Broccoli and Calabrese, Brussels sprouts, summer cabbage.
If you have started beans in pots, both runner and French these can go into the outside too. Leeks may well be ready to move to their final position. Ideally they want to be about pencil thickness. Don't follow the old guidance to trim the leaves and roots when transplanting leeks. It has been proven to be of no benefit and is counter-productive. Celery can go out now as well.
Outdoor tomatoes can go to their final position now. When moving plants from greenhouse to outdoors it is a good idea to condition them to the move. Take them out in the day and put them back at night for a few days or move from greenhouse to coldframe. This avoids shocking the plant by a sudden and drastic change in climate.

There is a lot to sow this month and with many crops you can sow one set and then a few weeks later re-sow to give you a succession of fresh vegetables at the peak of perfection. In dry weather it is a good idea to soak your seed drill before sowing and then just water with a fine rose after.
French and Runner Beans
Maincrop peas
Courgette and Marrows
Beetroot, french beans, carrots, kohlrabi, peas, lettuce, endive,radish should be sown at intervals throughout the summer months to provide a constant supply Successional sowing ensures you always have fresh crops at the peak for your table

In the greenhouse
Keep pinching off the side shoots with your tomatoes and keep an eye out for pests such as aphids, whitefly, red spider mite. If you are subject to attack by these pests it is worth checking out biological controls as these are perfectly safe to use and, used correctly, more effective than traditional chemical controls. Many of the chemical controls of the past are no longer available anyway so the organic alternatives are now the mainstream choice.

Make sure your fruiting plants have sufficient water when the fruit is swelling. This is critical to a good crop.
Thin out plums and apples in June. Better to have one reasonable apple than three miniature marbles. Nature naturally tends towards this and sheds excess fruit. This is known as the 'June Drop'. It's best to thin out after this.

General Tasks
The infantry of slugs and snails are attacking at ground level so take action to keep them down and the air force of birds are coming from the skies to eat your crops. Don't forget the netting.
The butterflies are about now as well. Beautiful as they are, check the undersides of your brassica leaves for the yellow or white eggs that will hatch into caterpillars and devastate the plant. You can squash them, wipe or wash them off easily at this stage.

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South Circular Road Community Food Garden Project

The South Circular Road Community Food Garden Project started in April 2007. We have a derelict site on loan from ST Salvage Company that we have converted into a community food garden. This is a continuation of the initial successful Dolphins Barn Community squatted food garden that was on the canal from 2005 -2007.