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July 16, 2023
July's second half no dig, harvest and replant

July’s second half in the no dig garden, we need to harvest and replant despite the weather. I see little sign of the cool winds and heavy showers ceasing apart from an odd day or two.

Seize those dry moments to harvest vegetables coming ready, then replant the empty spaces. With no dig it is quick and simple.

See my latest newsletter for details.

Greenhouse tomatoes and melons 16th July. I've been picking quite a few tomatoes but the melons could be another 10 days or two weeks before ripening
Greenhouse tomatoes and melons 16th July. I’ve been picking quite a few tomatoes but the melons could be another 10 days or two weeks before ripening
I am holding the first beef tomatoes 16th July, and cherry tomatoes from the polytunnel
I am holding the first beef tomatoes 16th July, and cherry tomatoes from the polytunnel
Tomatoes Berner Rose and Bloody Butcher from the greenhouse
Tomatoes Berner Rose left and Bloody Butcher right on trusses, from the greenhouse mid July

Harvests of potatoes in trial beds, and re-planting the beds with leeks

Between storms we harvested the Charlotte second early potatoes of my no rotation trial. This is year nine of growing potatoes in the same ground. There is the annual 3cm compost on top where potatoes develop, and the plants root deep into the soil.

There are three separate beds within this trial area. The ones on left are forked in autumn, once a year and every year since 2014. That bed gave 9.7 kg potatoes and the no dig one next to it gave 11.3 kg. Both have the same compost on top, half green waste and half mushroom compost.
The third bed on the right gave 13.9 kg and that one has cow manure on top every year, the same amount as beds 1 and 2. It’s paler in colour, often a sign of more fungi in the composting process.

Seed potatoes are from last year’s harvest. They went in the ground early April, see my Growing Guide.

Three strip potato harvest 13.9kg strip 3 right, 11.3kg strip 2, 9.7kg strip 1 left
Three strip trial beds on 13th July, potato harvest 13.9kg strip 3 right, 11.3kg strip 2, 9.7kg strip 1 left
Three strip potato harvest was followd by leek planting, strip 1 on the left and these are Tornado + Philomene, multisown early April then potted on
Three strip potato harvest was followd by leek planting, strip 1 on the left and these are Tornado + Philomene, multisown early April then potted on
Brassicas for succession plantings in CD60s, include purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and savoy cabbage
Brassicas for succession plantings in CD60s, include purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and savoy cabbage

Onion harvests and replanting

Onion tops are starting to bend down and when roughly 1/4 of them I have flopped, that’s a good moment to bend over the rest. This makes for clean necks and better storage of the onions because they dry nicely on top.

Usually I leave onions in the ground to swell some more. The pull them a week or so after bending over the tops.

Onions maturing, before bending the tops to speed ripening and reveal kale
Onions maturing, before bending the tops to speed ripening and reveal kale
10 minutes later, I have bent all stems in different directions and removed a few rotten leaves, and a weed or two. This reveals four plants of kale, transplanted between the rows of onions two weeks earlier. We shall pull these onions in 7 to 10 days time, then keep them somewhere dry to cure.
10 minutes later, I have bent all stems in different directions and removed a few rotten leaves, and a weed or two. This reveals four plants of kale, transplanted between the rows of onions two weeks earlier. We shall pull these onions in 7 to 10 days time, then keep them somewhere dry to cure.
Possible succession plantings after onions, left are chard sown 6 days earlier and right are endive I recently pricked out
Possible succession plantings after onions, left are chard sown 6 days earlier and right are endive I recently pricked out

Beautiful vegetables

I took great pleasure in pulling these Early Nantes carrots from around the interplanted Brussels sprouts. The carrots were sown 16th March so they’re almost 4 months old, and still growing! Within two weeks, they will all be out and the Brussels can fill all the space.

  • Amazingly, I am finding no damage from carrot root fly. This is the first year ever that I have experienced no damage in July. Even unprotected ones are not damaged. Where are the insects?

Outdoor cucumbers are cropping nicely but less fast than usual because of lower temperatures.

One of the chefs for courses this year is Anna Shepherd and she is writing a book about vegetable cooking. This is her on a Sunday morning, collecting some vegetables for photoshoots for her book. It appears next spring.

Interplant. The Brussels sprouts have been five weeks in the ground and I keep pulling carrots from around them to make more space, this is the 13th July harvest of four month old carrots
The Brussels sprouts have been five weeks in the ground and I keep pulling carrots from around them to make more space, this is the 13th July harvest of four month old carrots
Small garden cucumbers 13th July from two plants Marketmore left and Spacesaver right
Small garden cucumbers 13th July from two plants Marketmore left and Spacesaver right
Anna Shepherd and Mintie the cat, vegetables for her book
Anna Shepherd and Mintie the cat, vegetables for her book

Wonderful visitors and a remarkable helper

It was a great pleasure to show Chantelle Nicholson around the garden and then to watch her transform the harvest into remarkable and tasty dishes, on a portable barbecue. Edward made a video.

Three days later we welcomed Gaz Oakley and he also toured the garden. Then prepared a super tasty dish based simply on carrots and garlic. Those two he chose because carrots were the first vegetable seeds I ever sowed in 1981, and garlic is my favourite vegetable. The video will appear on his YouTube channel.

Over the last 10 days it’s been a great pleasure to work with John Szymczak from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Here he is popping garlic on a wire, the idea of Adam Wood.
John is an expert container gardener, no dig. He plans to start a YouTube channel about that, by the end of 2023.

Chantelle Nicholson ready to cook
Chantelle Nicholson at Homeacres for a video
Gaz Oakley plating up, carrots and garlic
Gaz Oakley plating up, carrots and garlic
John Szymczak has helped here for ten days, here putting garlic on a wire
John Szymczak has helped here for ten days, here putting garlic on a wire

A wonderful weekend course, mid July

It never ceases to amaze me how many fantastic people are gardeners, and want to learn more. I feel blessed that many find a way here! The weekend courses in particular are a chance for them to strike up friendships between each other, as well as learning a huge amount.

The next course with places is 26th-27th August.

Course group planting leeks between wild rocket. Both are under mash, against flea beetle, and allium leaf miner respectively
Course group planting leeks between wild rocket. Both are under mash, against flea beetle, and allium leaf miner respectively
Kerry Iliff came for the weekend course all the way from Virginia USA
Kerry Iliff came for the weekend course all the way from Virginia USA
The lunch on Sunday was another masterpiece by Laura Price, with dishes including roasted cauliflower, parsley pistou, tomato salad, roasted carrot and beetroot, bean salad and potatoes
The lunch on Sunday was another masterpiece by Laura Price, with dishes including roasted cauliflower, parsley pistou, tomato salad, roasted carrot and beetroot, bean salad and potatoes
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