What to plant now
Anything goes, folks! June is probably the only month when you really can plant anything. A final sowing of quick cropping summer harvests like lettuce, radishes and peas can go in this month. Just sow them in shallow drills directly into the soil.
If you didn’t manage to sow tender veg indoors during the spring ready to plant out after the frost can be sown direct now – French beans, courgettes, cucumbers, you might even have time to squeeze in an aubergine. I find these later, outdoor sowings often catch up with the ones I sowed indoors anyway.
And the winter harvests are ready to sow now as well – kale, winter cabbages, sprouts are all happy to be sown in June for transplanting in late July.
The only plants that might not have time to dash from seed to crop before the autumn chill sets in are pumpkins. And leeks might struggle too. But aside from that, the world is your oyster. Or your veg patch.
What to harvest now
With the funny (ie: cold) start to the year, most kitchen gardens are behind where they might expect to be. My peas and radishes, for instance, are just ready to pick, which is 4 weeks later than usual. The broad beans too are slow. I’ll pick the first baby pods this week and pretend it’s still May.
At times like this, I wish I were a more organised grower. Organised growers sow their broad bean seeds in autumn. The seeds germinate and have time to grow into tough little seedlings before winter arrives, which, astoundingly, they survive, ready to start growing again at the first sign of spring and producing a harvest 4-5 weeks before their spring-sown cousins.
What to cook with the harvest
Whenever you sow your broad beans, the harvesting of them is a joy and can last for several weeks if you plant enough and eat them quickly so they don’t grow fat and floury. Use the small, early beans when livid green sweetness is required, like the bruschetta below, then save their big, mealy brothers for dips, mash and soups.
These bruschetta are made for relaxed summer drinks in the garden. They look effortless and thrown together, but they taste delicious. I’m afraid I must insist on fully naked broad beans for this recipe. You and I both know it will be worth the effort of double-podding and there’s so little else to do in the preparation of this dish that you can't begrudge me one fiddlesome job.
Quinoa and Broad Bean Falafel from The New Vegetarian by Alice Hart
Both fresh and dried broad beans here, and a brilliant contrast of sharp pickles to offset the sweet bean falafel. Scoop them up with a flatbread too if you feel like it.
Find the recipe here.
Hot Yoghurt and Broad Bean Soup from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
The soup here is like a milky white canvas for the vibrant green broad beans. Not only does the colour set off the bean topping, but the soup’s flavour – rich, creamy and sour – goes beautifully with the bright beans.
Get the recipe here.