We are now in mid-July, and are reaping the rewards from all the hard work done earlier in the year in the Seeds to Sow garden.
The courgette varieties ‘Ambassador’, ‘Romanesco’ and ’Atena’ require daily harvesting at this time of year to encourage continuous fruiting. This can provide challenges in the kitchen, as courgettes only keep fresh in the fridge for a few days, meaning that we have to be inventive and find new and exciting ways to cook with them. We are suddenly very popular with friends and family at this time of year, as they gratefully receive any gluts in produce such as courgettes which can grow quicker in the warm weather than we can eat them. We haven’t as of yet invested in a spiralizer but Courgetti Spaghetti may be the next step.
Our new herb bed, which we sowed entirely from seed and planted out in mid- May, is really coming into its own now.
The scent from the Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Chives, Oregano, and two types of Thyme on a hot summers day is intoxicating and it looks good too. We keep the more tender herbs such as Parsley, Coriander and Basil on a sunny windowsill in the kitchen. Having a variety our herbs at our disposal enables us to be more creative when cooking with the vegetable produce and who can say ‘no' to a nice glass of Pimm’s with a fresh sprig of mint on top.
The onion and garlic sets which we planted out last Autumn are ready to pull up and dry out in the July sun. This will leave us with an empty bed where we plan to plant some ‘Durham Early’ Cabbage for spring greens and some catch crops ‘Pablo’ F1 beetroot for baby beets and cut and come again salad leaves ‘Red Salad Bowl’.
The annual flower seeds which we planted back in March and April are now in full bloom. In particular the bright orange of Calendula ‘Indian Prince’ look stunning against their green foliage and the pinks and purples of Petunia “Mirage Mix’ are putting on a great display in our hanging baskets. If you have space in your greenhouse, significant money savings can be made from growing your annual flowers from seed.
Our tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers and peppers in the greenhouse are growing well with all plants now producing flowers and fruit. We have already harvested several Jalapeno chillies and are just waiting for the Yorkshire sunshine to help ripen our tomatoes and peppers.
Even though our greenhouse has automatic vents, on really hot days we are leaving the greenhouse door open to allow more air flow, and are watering in both the morning and evening if required. So far, we haven’t had to provide any shading but on very sunny days we have been watering the flagstone floor to try to cool the greenhouse down and this has proved to be really effective.
Pest control continues to be important at this time of year. Even though our brassicas have been netted we still check them daily for any signs of Cabbage White Butterfly eggs or caterpillars and remove them by hand as a single infestation could wipe out the entire bed if left unchecked for a few days. Carrot root flies are attracted by the scent of carrots, therefore when harvesting ensure you remove all debris from around the remaining carrots and preferably harvest in the evening when the carrot root flies are less active (our French Marigolds are also providing a beautiful protective barrier).
Slugs and snails continue to be a pest at this time of year especially on any new growth and if conditions are wet. An evening patrol to round them up, by checking under and around pot rims, or under stones and crevice’s where they take refuge is usually enough to keep them in check. If you have a serious problem with slugs and snails leaving a shallow dish of beer at soil level will attract, intoxify and get rid of them.
There are still many Seeds to Sow in July (to produce a harvest this year) and these are beetroot, carrot, lettuce/salad leaves, french beans, radish, spring onions, swiss chard and turnip as well as most herbs. Early spring cabbage varieties can also be sown now for spring greens the following year.
Look out for our new range of green manure seeds which will be available from August.