Monthly Tasks: Elder Stubbs Charity allotments is a member of NSALG (National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners) and their website gives a lot of useful information (www.nsalg.org.uk). This monthly task list is based predominantly from information from them.
Overview: Usually the risk of frost has passed by now, and with longer days comes more sunshine and time to be in your allotment. If the weather is dry , then water your seed drills well before sowing any seed – this way the young plants will develop a good root system.
Harvest: Beetroot, broad beans, cabbage, cauliflower, early peas, lettuce, rhubarb, spring onions, radish, spinach can all be harvested now. Lift the earliest potatoes towards the end of the month and continue earthing up the rows of your other varieties. June is the end of the asparagus season, so stop cutting and give the plants a top dressing of good compost to help build up the crowns for next year. Start to harvest the first of your soft fruits.
Sowing and planting: Successional sowings of beetroot, kohl rabi, lettuce and winter cabbage seeds can all be done now – follow the instructions on the back of the seed packets, but it is worth starting them off in trays and then transferring them outside after a couple of weeks. Sow every 2-4 weeks for a continual supply of produce.
Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflowers, celeriac, courgettes, outdoor cucumbers, French and runner beans, leeks, pumpkins, squashes, sweetcorn, outdoor tomatoes, can all be planted out into their final position now. As with all young plants water in carefully and protect from birds with netting.
- Hoe at every opportunity to remove weeds and break up the soil. This allows water to soak down into the earth.
- Train in climbing beans and continue to put in support for your peas. Water along the rows of peas to swell the developing pods.
- Carry on with thinning out of seedlings of earlier sown crops.
- Don’t allow plants growing under glass to dry out or overheat.
Pests and Diseases: Watch out for aphids (black fly on broad beans and greenfly on various crops) and thrips on brassicas – You can spray the plants with soapy water (diluted washing up liquid) or squash the flies between your thumb and finger. Insecticides are available including one based on rapeseed oil.
Broad beans – If blackly are collecting at the tips of the plants often made noticeable by lots of active ants, you can reduce the risk of infestation by pinching out the affected tips of the plants which can be composted.
Carrot fly is a particular problem between May and September – when female flies lay their eggs. The problem can be reduced by growing resistant varieties (eg. Flyaway and Resistafly). Low flying female flies can be deterred by covering with a horticultural fleece or placing 2 feet high barriers around the plants. Biological control with nematodes can be bought from mail order companies.
Cabbage root fly attack the roots of brassicas. Female flies lay their eggs on the soil by the stem of the plants. If this has previously been a problem when transplanting the young plants, place a piece of carpet or cardboard around the base of the plant to create a collar, this will stop the flies from laying their eggs on the soil.