What's in season: June
By the time June arrives, summer is definitely in the air - or at least in the vegetable patch.
June is a high point in UK gardens. The first spring-sown crops are finally ready to harvest and fruit bushes are dripping with jewels.
Whether you grow your own, visit farm shops and farmers markets or shop in supermarkets, you should find a wealth of seasonal British crops to enjoy this month.
Vegetables to harvest or buy
- Broad beans
- Courgettes and summer squash
- Globe artichokes
- Spring onions
- Baby carrots
- Spring cabbage
- New potatoes.
Fruit to harvest or buy
This month we're talking about strawberries
Quintessentially British, the strawberry conjures up thoughts of picnics, tennis and all things summery. Although imported strawberries are available in supermarkets for many months of the year, June is the month to eat locally grown ones which have been ripened outside in the summer sunshine. They should be especially sweet this year after all the sun we’ve had.
In National Trust kitchen gardens, strawberries are doing well, though lockdown has meant less watering and netting from birds. With fewer visitors and cafes only just starting to open back up, this year it may be the deserving gardeners who get to enjoy the harvest.
Growing your own strawberries gives you the advantage of trying varieties you cannot get in the shops. While commercial growers favour firm types with bright colour and large, uniform size, home gardeners can choose for flavour alone. Particular favourites are ‘Royal Sovereign’, ‘Gariguette’ and ‘Mara des Bois’.
Harvesting in the garden
Harvest broad beans from the bottom of the plant first. You can pop open a pod to see if the beans inside are big enough.
Pick the first courgettes when they are still small and tender, perhaps even with their flowers attached. It won’t be long before you have far more than you know what to do with.
Leafy herbs and cut and come again salad leaves need regular harvesting to encourage fresh new leaves. Snip them with scissors or snap off individual leaves as needed.
Whole lettuces need to be harvested as soon as a head has formed – left too long and they will flower and turn bitter.
Thin out rows of spring onions, carrots and beetroot by harvesting a few when they are really small, allowing the others to fatten up and fill the space.