June Gardening Newsletter
Dear Fellow Gardeners,
It’s happening all over again all over the country. The green fields of Ireland are turning brown again. I thought we learned after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Glyphosate (the active ingredient of RoundUp) as a possibly carcinogenic and many other independent studies showed harmful side effects of glyphosate on both the environment and on human health.
I was so looking forward to the lush green Irish countryside with it’s beautiful road verges covered in a blaze of beautiful wild flowers so important not only for bees but for the whole web of life. These beautiful last havens for wildlife are now being eliminated by the man with a mask (and hopefully he is wearing a mask).
Since the WHO warning, Irish politicians have decided that only people who have completed a training course in spraying it safely are allowed to purchase this dangerous chemical.
It’s quite obvious – there is no reduction in RoundUP use in Ireland. Farmers are using it to spray fields before reseeding, for roadsides and worst of all for ”desiccation of crops”. This is the most harmful practice of all. What it means is that farmers spray their cereal or potato crops about 2 weeks before harvesting. This makes harvesting easier and of course keeps a substantial amount of glyphosate in the crops. Every one of us has glyphosate in our bodies. It’s regularly found in our urine and even in mother’s breast milk and they really still try to tell us it’s safe.
Our own agricultural state body – Teagasc- who carries out research, advice and information on farming in Ireland still recommends this practice. Even agricultural colleges and universities in Ireland are still laughing and snubbing organic agriculture and one of their biggest topics is fertiliser and pesticide applications. The reason for this is that universities are now funded by large co-operations from the fertiliser and pesticide industries and they want universities to prove their own point. I just wonder – are they not in the slightest bit worried about the millions or billions of Euros of lawsuits they could face in the future?. The evidence is there – an official body like the WHO warned us of the dangers and yet the state’s agricultural bodies still recommend its use. This Roundup story like all other pesticide stories may be one of the biggest cover up stories in agriculture.
What can we do?
Talk to your local Co. Council and ask them to stop spraying roundup – at least in public places. If they want it neat – they can mow or strim.
And also please sign the European Citizen’s Initiative to ban RoundUp.
Here is the link:
Now back to basics – Vegetable Growing:
What to do in June
Apart from a few more sowings and plantings there is relatively little to do in the garden apart from maintaining your crops. Keep hoeing and weeding. Your plants are still at a vulnerable stage where they can very easily get swamped by weeds.
Thin all your direct sown vegetables when they are still quite small to the required spacing. If you neglect thinning you will only be able to harvest tiny and often mis-shaped vegetables. You should not replant thinnings especially from root crops.
During dry spells you may have to water your outdoor seedlings.
You can still sow carrots, beetroot and peas if you missed the sowing in May. And you can continue with successional sowings of radish, turnip and annual spinach.
You can still sow kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, Florence fennel, oriental salads, lettuce, and scallions into modular trays. June is a good time to sow your purple sprouting broccoli.
You can plant out your late leeks, winter cabbages, Brussels sprouts, calabrese, kale, kohlrabi, swede, turnip, lettuce, scallions, celery, celeriac, spinach and chard.
Early June is also the best time to plant out your courgettes, squash, pumpkin, sweetcorn, French beans and runner beans after they have been hardened off. Only plant them out if it is warm. They would benefit from a cloche for the first
Finally you can get a reasonable harvest from your garden. You may have some lettuce, scallions, radish, turnip, early cabbage, early potatoes (towards the end of the month), early peas, broad beans, spinach and chard.
Watch out for the cabbage white butterflies. When you see them flying around you should check the undersides of any brassica leaves and look out for the small yellow eggs which turn into caterpillars and ruin your plants. The earlier you spot and remove them the better.