July is always an exciting month for gardeners as there is always so much happening across so many varieties of plants. So, we’re here to make sure you have some fresh vegetables to eat during the Olympics.
You are going to be chock-a-block this month with things to sow such as: Basil, Pak-Choi, Beetroot, Calabrese, Radish, Carrot, Lettuce, Parsley, Turnip, and Pea. Make sure you space out your seeds with plenty of room and – for those plants germinating indoors – not too cold or wet, otherwise they may be a no show.
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As for growing this month, container plants with swelling fruit/pods should be kept well and evenly watered. Don’t forget to trim the side shoots of your trained forms of Red and Whitecurrant, Apple, Gooseberry and Pear so that their fruit is encouraged to ripen in the sunshine over coming weeks…
Plants that were kept indoors to germinate such as Leek may now be planted outside for the rest of the year, with around about 20cm between each plant (give or take depending on variety). Please try to be gentle with the plants and keep them in an open greenhouse or coldframe for a couple of weeks before moving to the cold outdoors. This decreases the risk of them dying or being damaged from ‘transplant shock’.
Finally, a budding gardeners favourite and most rewarding part, the harvest.
Vegetables ready for eating/storing this month are: Basil, French/ Runner/ Broad Beans, Beetroot, Summer Cabbage, Calabrese, Carrot, Leaf Beet, Cauliflower, Courgette, Cucumber, Lettuce, Onion, Globe Artichoke, Kohl Rabi, Parsley, Pea, Early Potato, Rocket, Spinach and Sweetcorn.
Bear in mind a few loose guidelines such as; being careful when removing pods so that you don’t damage the plant, loosening the soil before digging up carrots and potatoes to make sure you don’t damage them, not to aim for enormous vegetables/fruit/edible flowers as they can often taste much better young, but testing them for ripeness is always a good idea beforehand.
Then for storage, make sure you are gentle with them to reduce damage so that rot doesn’t spread and ruin your crop, keep the air and temperature steady and regularly check for problems or anything becoming overripe.
With these few pointers, you should be set for a good month’s worth of gardening and, most importantly, have fun growing this summer!
Article by Margarita Wilks, Tile Hill Wood College
Garden Organic’s growing resources
Click here to discover unusual crops (opens ‘Sowing New Seed’ project website)