It may feel like you’ve slightly missed the boat when it comes to growing from seed this year. Social media has been a-buzz with gardeners posting their newly-sown chili seeds since February – or even January, for the really keen ones!
Or it may be that you’re a new gardener and not really yet in the habit of thinking about gardening before the clocks go back, or before the frosts have finished bringing a chill to the morning air.
But don’t worry! This year of all years the frosty April has bought us all a bit of time. The garden has been slow to wake up and warm up, which means that sowing a bit later is in fact a crafty move, and you’ll have avoided losing any tender seedlings to the late cold snaps.
So if you’re thinking of getting some seeds started for late-summer colour or to fill your late-summer table with edibles, what can you plant?
Here are our suggestions for some easy seeds for planting in June.
These easy-to-grow cheery beauties tick both boxes – edible and ornamental! They’ll cheer up any part of the garden with their bright colours. Insects love them, so they’re great for the veg patch, to ensure good pollination of your edible plants. And you can eat the nasturtiums too! Add the peppery leaves to salads, and the flowers are edible too.
‘Love-in-a-mist’ is a cottage garden favourite which will flower this year from a June seed sowing. The blue form is the best known, but you can buy it in shades including pink and white. It will give your garden a jolt of fresh colour in late summer, and then leave sculptural seedheads which look lovely in flower arrangements.
There’s nothing which says ‘summer’ like a gently nodding lofty sunflower. Sunflowers are a great family gardening project. They’ll quickly reach for the sky – why not make it a competition and see who can grow the tallest sunflower? Pollinators love them, and at the end of the summer you can leave the heads on, for garden birds to eat the seeds.
If you’ve only just turned the heating off and haven’t even thought about salad as a main meal yet, there’s time to grow your own. Beetroot, lettuce, pak choi, rocket and radish will all do well and crop quickly. Make fresh sowings every few weeks to give fresh leaves from now until the end of the summer.
The first weeks of June are not too late for courgettes, marrows and pumpkins, especially if you’re in a more southerly region of the UK. This is another great family gardening project - get the kids involved, so they can grow their own Hallowe’en pumpkin! The seeds are large and easy for little fingers to handle, so this makes a great family project. And courgettes are well-known for being a crop which keeps on giving – you won’t need many to feed the whole family for months!
These giants grow super-fast, so there’s still time to sow from seed and get a crop at the end of the summer. Do try to get them started by mid-June, as you want to have enough late-summer sun to allow them to ripen properly and grow sweet. Plant them out in a grid pattern rather than a row, as sweetcorn is wind-pollinated and a block gives a better chance of pollination than a long line.
So get planting in June to enjoy the fruits of your labour in late summer!