July 2015 update, harvests, clearing, more sowing

July 2015 update, harvests, clearing, more sowing

Seeds to sow, plants to plant after harvests and clearing; tomato care; perennial veg; effects of the wind

Its a busy period in vegetable gardens, at least the days are long! For example peas are in full flow now and need time spent picking regularly. I grow Oregon Sugar Pod for June harvests, then Tall Sugar Snap and Alderman for July peas. Also I allow some of the latter to seed, simply by leaving a plant or few unpicked, to harvest early August as dry pods. These seeds are great for sowing next spring to make vigorous plants for harvesting pea shoots!

After clearing peas, you can plant autumn salads, fennel, leeks if your plants are large, kale, broccoli.

Beans, carrots and interplanting

Look at the quality of these Early Nantes grown in undug soil. I sowed them into surface compost on April 2nd. Because of the dry April, germination was uneven and when planting leeks nearby in late June, I decided also to pop some leek plants between the carrot rows. Now the carrots are cropping and the leeks have established already, so will quickly grow on.
Broad beans – after growing through some determined infestations of blackly (spring sen beans only) – are mostly finishing and as soon as a last harvest is taken, I cut or twist off the top growth, leaving the roots which still have some (not many) nodules of nitrogen. Next to plant in this bed are winter brassicas.


At last the cherry tomatoes are ripening nicely (undercover only!)and recent warmth has helped, After Sungold, Trixi from Bingenheimerseeds has been almost as early. All the cherry tomatoes start to ripen before beef tomatoes, which should happen by August.
The very first to ripen were Sungold and Rosada off plants I grew from sideshoots taken last October, and grown on in the conservatory overwinter. Its not easy but a worthwhile challenge, and saves buying F1 seeds.

Be careful watering from now on, especially in damp weather, as blight spores are often present – water the soil/compost only, never the leaves.

Perennial food plants

I have two varieties of globe artichoke, both unnamed as they were presents from friends, in the form of small roots. The green one cropped in June and the purple one is cropping now, with two plants of each giving many heads. After eating the last one on each main stalk, twist the whole woody stem off at ground level, thus making way for the new shoots: Thin them to 3 or 4, for better harvests of larger globes.

Wind doth blow

Frequent westerlies here have pruned some of my plants, such as runner beans and asparagus. However most plants have coped well, such as the peas now 6 ft (2m) high. Wind is not all bed, as long as floppy plants are supported.

Last lettuce sowing, and others ongoing

Already we close in on that time, sow now for planting early August to crop in autumn. However if you are growing a variety such as Maravilla di Verano, from a June sowing, plants may continue cropping until late September. also instead of resowing lettuce, you could sow chicory, endive, wild rocket and land cress, also coriander and parsley are good to sow now.
Growth is so fast in July (see the photos) but will soon be slowing, so summer sowings have more precise dates than spring ones, because there is less chance for late sowings to catch up.

5 thoughts on “July 2015 update, harvests, clearing, more sowing

  1. When clearing sweetcorn after harvest do you pull up the roots or cut off and ground level and leave them in? They seem big to leave in.

  2. End of month:

    1. Estima 2nd earlies harvested today – around 50lb in 3sqm, but badly affected by scab and the odd one being eaten by slugs. They were planted in no-dig fashion so the harvest was very easy, but we will need a better watering system next year if droughts persist – it was by far the worst scab I’ve experienced, even on maincrop. We’re storing them under sand as that worked last year for disease-affected tubers.
    2. Ailsa Craig Onion harvest completed today also and lettuces for autumn transplanted at 20 cm spread. Overall, the transplanted clumps were fine and the single planted ones which reached maturity were of a good size.
    3. Red Alert tomato harvest also complete – just under 400 fruit at 10.5lb from 4 plants matured in 15cm pots – less compost but higher yield than one 30cm pot. Watering effectively is a pest in spring, but I think with optimal husbandry you could get 12lb and 500 fruit. It’s certainly self-sustaining for July….
    4. Pablo beetroot sown in modules as clumps now harvested – they did well and were better I found than Boltardys. I will grow plenty more next year in successional sowings. The maincrop looks really good….

    Not sure what we’ll harvest in August other than tomatoes, second set of onion clumps, a few carrots and fruit. All the second plantings will be September or October.

  3. We finally got two inches of rain on Friday which triggered first runner bean flowers and hopefully a late growth surge of beans up the sticks.

    Red Alerts were sown very early Charles. You can get a crop throughout Jul with either Maskotka or Red Alert if you sow at the February Full Moon (1st week this year).

    An early Feb sowing of Alicante now sees 6 big ripe juicy tomatoes to harvest before the month is out.

    I made my own seeds last summer harvesting on Moon+Sun in Leo (late August) – according to Maria Thun, a good time to do so. Growth this year very vigorous…although tendency for plant to branch, no grow a single cordon has been much higher with biodynamic sowing.

  4. My outdoor tomatoes have Red Alerts in full swing, Glacier now yielding some fruit, first Tigerellas already harvested and ripening already occurring on Maskotka, Alicante, Riesentraube and, amazingly, Black Russian, Super Marmande and Black Krim sown at the March Full Moon. I’ve lost a couple of plants whose main stalks snapped in the high winds of late June.

    Onions have now started swelling really well with warmth and some welcome rain aiding things. The two leek sowings are now starting to grow nicely and we continue to harvest Boltardy beetroots which were shaded earlier in the year by some exuberant chard plants. The peas and mange touts are now almost done. The cherry tree is in full crop and it looks like both plum and apple with give bumper crops this year. The early raspberries all ‘ripened’ but were left to fall as it was so dry that they were tasteless. We hope that the mainly summer/autumn plants we now have will benefit from some more rain. Outdoor cucumbers have 4 fruit growing, albeit more slowly than I saw last year in a pot.

    The spring carrot sowings look great, but the recently sown Berlicum and Autumn King have germinated sporadically to date. Cauliflower and Landini cabbage have been savaged by some leaf-eating pest or other and the drought has had bad effects on early potatoes, despite regular watering.

    Perhaps the biggest sign of the drought is that the comfreys have barely regrown to full height in 8 – 10 weeks after the first big cut in the late spring. We have stuff to cut to fill the compost bins with, but the contrast to last year is astonishing. The growth characteristics of last years’ compost is certainly excellent, so adding lots of comfrey has clearly not harmed it.

    I must say I’m also mightily impressed at the rapid take off of the Bleu de Solaise leeks after putting mycorhizzal fungi in the transplant holes. Interesting to see how big they eventually get.

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