What to plant in June

June is the time to sow courgettes, squash, carrots and basil…

What to plant in June

Basil

Fresh leaves of this wonderfully aromatic herb enhance many summer dishes, and are cheap and abundant if you grow your own. The plants need plenty of warmth and good drainage – conditions best provided by growing them in pots.

  • For each plant, sow 3-4 seeds in a small (8cm) pot of multi-purpose compost and keep it on a warm windowsill until the seedlings emerge. Let all the seedlings grow up, to achieve a bushy plant more quickly. Alternatively, buy plants from a nursery or garden centre.
  • Once the danger of night frosts has passed, move the pots outside to a sunny, sheltered spot.
  • Water when the compost is dry; don’t wet the leaves.
  • Pinch out the tips of the plants (nip off the top two or three leaves on each new shoot with your fingers) when they reach 15cm high – the first harvest.
  • Once the plants bush out and their roots fill the pots, plant them into larger 16-18cm pots.
  • Keep harvesting the shoots, and feed the plants regularly with a general purpose plant food.
  • However, don’t expect them to last all summer – make another sowing in mid to late July.

Varieties to try
‘Sweet Genovese’ is the common shop variety. Types with different leaf colour and shape, or taste: scented ‘Lemon Basil’: decorative ‘Purple Basil’: tiny-leaved ‘Greek Basil’

Courgette and squash

 

You can harvest courgettes when they are tiny and use their edible flowers – they taste great filled with soft cheese, battered and deep-fried. Also try growing the round or scalloped summer squash. They are both vigorous plants, so need to be grown in a bed or a very large, deep container.

  • For both courgettes and squash, sow 2 seeds 1cm deep, in late May, cover with a glass jar to provide warmth until the seedlings emerge; then remove the jar and the weakest seedling. Or buy a plant at a garden centre. Allow each plant at least a 60cm x 60cm space.

Varieties to try
Courgettes: ‘Midnight’
Squash: ‘Green buttons’

Carrots

Baby carrots, pulled when sweet, are worth growing even in a small space.

  • Space seeds thinly, 1cm deep, in rows across a vegetable plot.
  • Aim for seedlings 2cm apart. Harvest as soon as they reach edible size (around seven to 10 weeks after sowing).

Varieties to try
‘Mignon’: orange baby roots ‘Harlequin’: a mix of coloured carrots

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