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Thursday, June 13, 2024
GardeningVegetables in July

Vegetables in July

Watering becomes an issue at this time of year, although writing about it usually makes it rain—good both ways! Almost all crops except perhaps parsnips and cabbage need help when young.

It’s not a question of your veg plants ‘just about managing’—they must flourish exuberantly and bear huge and heavy yields for their owner. If sowing a crop of carrots, then keeping the soil at seed level and below may need watering every other day, depending on wind and warmth. Compost rich topsoil holds more water.

For other crops, growing in seed trays or modules uses less water and gives a strong start. Transplant them before they get too big and pot bound, and water well around the root ball. After one more good soaking try to encourage them to root downwards.

The leaves going pale probably means the plant was pot bound, and has not yet linked up with mycorrhizae after the luxuriance of compost rich in soluble nutrients.

If dry, water beans and courgettes when flowering to encourage fruit set. Salad leaves need regular watering, and the weekly watering of carrots in clay soil avoids split roots when it rains. Try not to tread on the leaves, and lift your crop only at dusk or the root fly will smell them. Earth up around your carrots so there is no exposed root for egg laying.

Many people with allotments have no access to water—try giving the ground a thick compost mulch, which feeds plants, helps suppress weeds and conserves moisture, at least 50% of which evaporates upwards.

Constant, moderate watering is the key for tomatoes—too little and the plant is under stress, too much suddenly and fruits split and side shoots everywhere, especially on Gardeners Delight. From now on water the soil only to avoid blight establishing on wet leaves. Good air circulation at base helps, so take off the bottom set of leaves after a ‘Smith’ period of 48 hours of high humidity. Blight on tomatoes should not be too much of a problem until they are ripening their fruit—always a time of maximum stress.

Have you seen my wife’s photos on instagram at dowdinglouise? It’s why we all need bifocals, we’re all looking at two screens at the same time.


What to sow in July

July is a big month for second sowings as space becomes available. Transplant or sow French beans, bulb fennel, beetroot, carrots, chard and salads such as lettuce, radicchio, endive, parsley, dill, coriander. Also brassica such as late calabrese, winter cabbage, spring cauliflower, kale, purple sprouting, swede and Pak Choi for hearting. Growing in seed trays or modules gains you an extra month of growing time.

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