One of the effects of lockdown was that garden centres were unable to open for a period of time, meaning that it was hard to get hold of things we usually rely on such as seeds and compost. Now garden centres have opened up, but it's already June! You may be forgiven for thinking that it's too late, and the peak season for getting seeds and young plants has passed. However there is still plenty of the growing season left to enjoy! So here we will have a look at what can still be grown this year.
Remember it is only three weeks since the usually accepted ‘safe’ date of gardens becoming frost free and for tender plants to be moved or left outside. It is possible to start plants now that we would usually have started a month ago and still get blooms or produce, especially if we have a warm and sunny late summer period.
Even if we cant grow from seed, we maybe able to find young plants or plugs in garden centres or from neighbours, friends and community groups.
Plants that grow fast and mature early and are harvestable throughout the year can be planted and raised. For example radish, spring onions and salad leaves.
Direct sowings of seeds that would usually take place in May can still be undertaken. The earth will have warmed considerably by now, and the plants should still have time to mature before the growing season ends. These include beans, corn, marrows, pumpkins, courgettes and cucumbers. They could be given a good start by placing cloches over them.
If you can find young plants of peppers, aubergine and other exotic vegetables, they will still have time to mature this year.
Vegetables which mature later in the year in autumn can be sown outside now including turnip, beetroot and carrots. Winter crops such as winter cabbages, brussel sprouts, swede and parsnip can also be sown now. June is also a good month to sow Chinese cabbage, spinach beet, chicory and endive.
Hardy annuals such as some chrysanthemums, cerinthes, cornflower and nigella can be sown now for a late autumn display. Usually these are planted earlier in the year, but flower in mid-summer.
Half hardy and tender annuals such as pelargoniums, primulas and begonias can be grown on if you can find young plants in garden centres.
Biennial plants that you want to use for spring bedding can also be sown now such as stocks and 'forget-me-nots'. Perennials can also be sown now to produce strong enough plants to survive the winter so they can make large enough plants to withstand the winter. Varieties with larger seeds can be started directly outside, while those with finer seeds are better started in pots or trays. Primulas and violas can also be started now. They could also be sown later, but will require shading.
Perennials with fine seeds are best sown indoors in trays or individual pots. Larger seeded varieties can be sown outdoors in seed drills. Remember the smaller the seed, the shallower the drill. Primulas, violas and pansies can also be sown now too, but at this time of year it is best to provide the seedlings with light shade.
Now is an ideal time to take softwood and semi-ripe cuttings to increase numbers of plants that you may have been unable to get enough of. These can be taken from plants like pelargoniums and impatiens.
Remember there is still plenty of time to plant up containers and hanging baskets with young plants for a fine summer display.