July 2015 update, harvests, clearing, more sowing
Seeds to sow, plants to plant after harvests and clearing; tomato care; perennial veg; effects of the wind
Its a busy period in vegetable gardens, at least the days are long! For example peas are in full flow now and need time spent picking regularly. I grow Oregon Sugar Pod for June harvests, then Tall Sugar Snap and Alderman for July peas. Also I allow some of the latter to seed, simply by leaving a plant or few unpicked, to harvest early August as dry pods. These seeds are great for sowing next spring to make vigorous plants for harvesting pea shoots!
After clearing peas, you can plant autumn salads, fennel, leeks if your plants are large, kale, broccoli.
Beans, carrots and interplanting
Look at the quality of these Early Nantes grown in undug soil. I sowed them into surface compost on April 2nd. Because of the dry April, germination was uneven and when planting leeks nearby in late June, I decided also to pop some leek plants between the carrot rows. Now the carrots are cropping and the leeks have established already, so will quickly grow on.
Broad beans – after growing through some determined infestations of blackly (spring sen beans only) – are mostly finishing and as soon as a last harvest is taken, I cut or twist off the top growth, leaving the roots which still have some (not many) nodules of nitrogen. Next to plant in this bed are winter brassicas.
At last the cherry tomatoes are ripening nicely (undercover only!)and recent warmth has helped, After Sungold, Trixi from Bingenheimerseeds has been almost as early. All the cherry tomatoes start to ripen before beef tomatoes, which should happen by August.
The very first to ripen were Sungold and Rosada off plants I grew from sideshoots taken last October, and grown on in the conservatory overwinter. Its not easy but a worthwhile challenge, and saves buying F1 seeds.
Be careful watering from now on, especially in damp weather, as blight spores are often present – water the soil/compost only, never the leaves.
Perennial food plants
I have two varieties of globe artichoke, both unnamed as they were presents from friends, in the form of small roots. The green one cropped in June and the purple one is cropping now, with two plants of each giving many heads. After eating the last one on each main stalk, twist the whole woody stem off at ground level, thus making way for the new shoots: Thin them to 3 or 4, for better harvests of larger globes.
Wind doth blow
Frequent westerlies here have pruned some of my plants, such as runner beans and asparagus. However most plants have coped well, such as the peas now 6 ft (2m) high. Wind is not all bed, as long as floppy plants are supported.
Last lettuce sowing, and others ongoing
Already we close in on that time, sow now for planting early August to crop in autumn. However if you are growing a variety such as Maravilla di Verano, from a June sowing, plants may continue cropping until late September. also instead of resowing lettuce, you could sow chicory, endive, wild rocket and land cress, also coriander and parsley are good to sow now.
Growth is so fast in July (see the photos) but will soon be slowing, so summer sowings have more precise dates than spring ones, because there is less chance for late sowings to catch up.