It looks like this month will again be all about water management, with little rain in sight until at least September.
Crops that need most water are newly sown seeds and transplants, followed closely by leaf crops such as salads every few days, and fruiting crops like courgette and beans weekly. They still look at you asking for more water, but sadly will never look lush until they have natural rain and humid air.
I feel sorry for those of you without access to a tap on your allotments, and hear of gardeners struggling from home with 25-litre kegs in desperation. We have been watering with a hose here rather than a wasteful sprinkler which often gets left on too long when you forget about it.
Winter crops like celeriac and parsnip are not getting watered, as they will make compensatory growth if we finally get rain in the autumn. We have had to water our currant bushes which have shallow roots as some branches have died from drought in spite of a thick mulch.
On the other hand, yields with all this sunshine are high, the broad beans did well, potatoes and carrots are a good size even though it takes a pick axe to dig them out. Our carrots under Enviromesh are much bigger, and I see a day when I grow everything under this ugly stuff.
Outdoor tomatoes are doing really well, and the dry weather has kept blight at bay. They are bonkers plants that can grow 60’ high and keep flowering right through the winter in the right climate. Sadly, this doesn’t work in England and we have to pinch out the tops now and limit them to around 4 trusses—more than this and even a sunny September won’t ripen them.
This month you can sow spring cabbage, lettuce, spinach, dill, coriander, rocket, turnips, and orientals such as pak choi and Mizuna. Timing matters: for outdoor winter cropping of salad leaves sow early in the month. For indoor cultivation later is better or they may rise to seed. The idea is to get them well established before winter sets in, sowing late will mean they aren’t big enough to pick before the spring. Sowing in modules makes it easier to keep the seeds moist. And how do you get a baby to go to sleep? Rocket.