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July 1, 2023
July 2023 full beds, sowings, make compost

This is a key month of the whole year. As well as offering many harvests, it offers the chance to sow and plant many more vegetables. As well as giving more to eat through late autumn and winter, this keeps soil full of plants. See my July newsletter for more details, also my growing notes for July 2022.

It’s more healthy for soil to be growing plants than to be empty. One of the fallacies of old teachings is that “soil needs a rest”, whatever that means! With No-Dig, your soil is healthy, fertile and can grow a second crop each year, without addition of any extra organic matter,. An exception is chalky or sandy soil which may need more compost in summer, for moisture retention above all.

My garden tour of 30th June gives an idea of mid point in the growing season, and the easy success rate from growing no dig.

The first photo below is squash growing in soil which was grass and perennial weeds just five months earlier, see my advice on ways to start no dig.

Exuberant squash growing through black plastic, not watered and planted 19th May, exactly 6 weeks in the ground
Exuberant squash growing through black plastic, not watered and planted 19th May, exactly 6 weeks in the ground
Homeacres compost at nine months old and it's certainly good to use at this stage, does not need to be perfectly fine. We are making lots of compost now to have plenty in autumn.
Homeacres compost at nine months old and it’s certainly good to use at this stage, does not need to be perfectly fine. We are making lots of compost now to have plenty in autumn.
The ninth year of growing potatoes in the same bed, just to see how that might work. This is part of my three strip trial and it's Charlotte from home saved seed potatoes.
The ninth year of growing potatoes in the same bed, just to see how that might work. This is part of my three strip trial and it’s Charlotte from home saved seed potatoes.

New Sowings through July

In the first week sow beetroot and carrots (direct only).

By mid month sow chicory for radicchio.

At any time sow salad onions, lettuce and endive.

After mid month sow Florence fennel, coriander, chervil and Chinese cabbage.

For salad brassicas such as salad rocket and mustard, also pak choi, I find it best to sow in early August, when there are fewer flea beetles.

Plantings for July of endive, chicory, purple sprouting broccoli, Savoy cabbage and kale
Plantings for July of endive, chicory, purple sprouting broccoli, Savoy cabbage and kale
Leeks in 9 cm pots to transplant, they were multisown in CD module trays 12 weeks earlier
Leeks in 9 cm pots to transplant, they were multisown in CD module trays 12 weeks earlier
Intersow of carrots two weeks earlier between lettuce which were picked yesterday, ninth pick
Intersow of carrots two weeks earlier between lettuce which had been picked the day before. Now is just after the ninth weekly pick. Now netted against rabbits.

Seize the moment for making compost

There is a lot of material available to make compost. We are adding large amounts of hedge prunings. Cutting is quick with an electric Stihl, and then it’s effective to use a rotary lawnmower to chop prunings while collecting them. They are close to a perfect mix of green and brown, thanks to the wood at this time of year still being quite green and moist, so it’s quick to decompose.

There are many ways to make compost and this recent, brief video gives you some ideas. Also I explain why it’s totally fine to put weeds on compost heaps.

I’m giving an afternoon course in making compost here, 12th July.

Dalek bin almost full, this one is 330L and I use two of them, one has maturing compost after a turn
Dalek bin almost full, this one is 330L and I use two of them, one has maturing compost after a turn
We're about to add mown hedge prunings, and have just added urine-soaked hay from the compost toilet
We’re about to add mown hedge prunings, and have just added urine-soaked hay from the compost toilet
Heap constructed with four pallet frames and 8 bits of wire, it took a fair amount more material after this photo, is now finished and briefly at 70C
Heap constructed with four pallet frames and 8 bits of wire, it took a fair amount more material after this photo, is now finished and briefly at 70C

New clothing!

We brainstormed new slogans and Nicola (my PA) designed the shirts. See the many options on Teemill.

Nicola and Charles with two of the tee shirt new designs
Nicola and Charles with two of the tee shirt new designs
I’m with seeding carrots (we planted the carrots in march) and a No Dig Wins teeshirt

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