Gourmet Gardener: Busy month of July in the garden
July greets us with the sweet, distinctive scent of honeysuckle dancing in the air. A smell so delicious it can stop you in your tracks as you can almost taste it when it mounds over the hedgerows.
In our own gardens, July is a busy month – from pest patrol and watering duties, to glutinous harvests, and making sure everything is getting pollinated at the right time, such as the winter squash. While there are plenty of jobs to keep us occupied, it also is a good time to plan for the period ahead.
Things to sow in July
As the weather is generally warm and sunny in July, you can grasp the opportunity to get some great quick veggie crops going. In July you can sow vegetables seeds directly into the soil or compost as the temperatures are warm enough. Vegetables such as beetroot can be sown now for a succession crop, they can be harvested as baby beets and enjoyed roasted, in salads, or pickled. The leaves are also great for salads. I can recommend the variety Boltardy. If you are tight on space, these can be grown in containers.
July is a great time to start off your autumn and winter vegetables and broccoli is a great example of crops to plant in July. Broccoli seeds should be sown with plenty of space between. The ground needs to be kept moist and if possible in full sun. Many varieties of broccoli will be ready to eat in 80-90 days.
It is also the last chance to sow fast growing carrots for an autumn crop. I find carrots grow best and most easily in containers. They can be harvested young and sweet for salads. I recommend the variety ‘Nantes Frubund’ for sowing now. Remember to weed and water them regularly.
July can be used for sowing fast growing herbs such as coriander and parsley to use in the kitchen, there is nothing like a garish straight from the garden.
Another one of my new found favourites is Kohlrabi. This quick growing vegetable is something a bit more unusual looking and comes in different colours. It has a quick turn around so is ideal for a gap filler replacing things you may have finished with now.
Spring cabbages such as ‘Durham Early’ should be sown now in a well prepared seedbed for transplanting later, along with Swiss Chard ‘Bright lights’, which will give a vibrant colour to what can be a bland gap in the year in the kitchen garden. The Swiss chard will over winter and will work well if you grow in a polytunnel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
• Tara Kate Linnane is passionate about sustainability and growing all things edible.
Together with her husband Barry, she has embarked on a journey of designing edible spaces and getting others started on their gardening adventures.