In this month’s June Allotment Tips, Lee talks about all things pest control, seasonal vegetables and joyous strawberries!
By the end of May, most tender crops were planted out on the allotment. It is always satisfying to reflect on the bigger jobs that are now ticked off, during what has been a busy few weeks. The threat of frost may have all but disappeared but now we keep our fingers crossed for good the establishment of our important summer favourites.
Save Your Rain Water
Keeping transplants moist while they establish is of critical importance. I’m a big fan of spot watering rather than indiscriminate watering.
That said, I’ve got three water butts that seem to fill up quickly and empty just as quick!
It is very satisfying saving rainwater and it saves a walk to the nearest tap.
Blueberries and Camellias prefer rainwater and this is best supplied from a water butt.
As we approach mid-summer I settle in a routine based on my available free time. Tasks are generally based around weeding and watering. During dry weather, I get the hoe out as often as possible to tackle any new weed seedlings. It is good to get them under control before they can develop.
I try to visit the allotment at least three times per week for at least an hour each visit. Other allotmenteers visit once per week for longer and this can work just as well. Our plots have to fit in with our lives and having an allotment should be fun and pleasurable rather than an obligation.
Slugs, Snails & Pest Control
The threat of slug and snail damage is at its greatest now, especially after rain. The soft sappy growth of our young transplants is particularly vulnerable.
I use Slug Rid for protection just after the planting out stage. The pellets are suitable for use in organic environments. I’m also a big fan of copper protection for plants in pots and containers.
Outdoors I’ve seen copper slug rings and also nematodes used to good effect on plots. It can also be good fun to visit the plot on a damp late evening and remove those slimy molluscs by hand!
Cabbage White butterflies are a real threat to brassica plants during summer. I use butterfly protection netting to deter butterflies by making a tunnel supported by hoops. Care does need to be taken not to inadvertently leave any openings for the cabbage whites to sneak in!
It is also worth placing protective cabbage collars around the stem to combat the threat of the cabbage root fly.
Checking On Your Sprouts, Beans & Carrots
Mid-summer is a good time to check your Brussels Sprouts for firmness around the roots. A lack of firmness is a major cause of the sprouts being blown or lacking in tightness at harvest time.
Do check your runner beans at this time of year. Sometimes they need tying into the canes to encourage them to get into the habit of climbing.
If you need to thin your carrots the best time to do this is in the evening. This will deter carrot fly as they are less active later in the day.
Dwarf French Beans are a heat-loving crop and there is still time to sow a successional row or two directly. They grow surprisingly quickly if they are in sunny well-drained soil.
Joyous Strawberry Crops
Joyously our strawberry plants will soon be cropping. This is always one of the wow moments of the allotment year. I cover my strawberry beds with a strong protective netting once now after pollination of the flowers. This offers protection from birds as the fruit ripens. Towards the end of the cropping period, even the birds seem to get fed up with the fruits. I’ve observed this, as I tend to leave the last few plants uncovered and the fruit generally remains in situ. Understandable, I guess, when you think of all those red berries on an average-sized allotment site!
Veg Coming Into Season – June Allotment Tips
There are plenty of other vegetables that are coming into season. The first early potatoes should be ready in June. Simply scrape away the soil or compost to reveal any tubers that are a good enough size to eat. The remaining tubers can be left attached to the plant to grow on a little longer as required.
Overwintered broad beans, lettuce, early peas, radish and spring onions should be joining the harvesting party too. This truly is an exciting time of year where we begin to reap the fruits of our endeavors.
We hope you have enjoyed our June Allotment Tips and stay tuned for more in June.
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