How To Start The Veg Growing Year in July. Having Taken A Month Long Holiday My Garden Is Bare, So What Can I Start Growing in July?
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Imagine a garden that has no salads or even much in the way of root crops ready to eat, or even for harvest in the near future. That’s what we faced when we returned from a month in France. Returning on July 2nd even the strawberries were coming to an end. Fortunately the raspberries had only just started and the loganberries not ready yet.
So sowing new crops was my priority in my How To Start The Veg Gardening Year In July experiment.
It is of course quite possible to sow some crops and be eating them within a week or two, eg, pea shoots, but there’s will take a few weeks to be ready for either harvest or, in some cases, planting.
One Month Later .. What Can I Eat Today?
Here is what I harvested on August 3rd. Just one calendar month after sowing seed.
The harvest for dinner consisted of the third harvest of peas .. they’ve cropped well, some mibuna, Golden Frills, Ruby Streaks, Russian Red Kale and a few other things.
These were all from plants that were transplanted in to containers in the greenhouse where it reached 39C several days.
I also have crops in containers outdoors and could start harvesting from them now. But I’ve suddenly found myself with a glut of leafy salad crops that I’ve grown from seed in just 30 days from sowing.
That’s quick. It demonstrates how it is possible to grow successional crops by using modules and turning crops around quickly. and a s the peas demonstrate we’ve already had multiple harvests from one container. All the crops harvested to date are cut and come again so will crop again but I’ve already sown replacement crops that can be transplanted as modules in a few weeks if need be.
Don’t expect all crops to grow this fast though. Many take much longer and are started at times of year when growth is much slower. I know people expect to see results quickly but crops such as tomatoes, potatoes, sprouts, leeks etc can take a long time to mature. For example my leeks were sown in March and could well be still being harvested next March. They yield well but take up space for a long time.
My July 3rd Sowing List
My first actions was to harvest the remaining pea shoots off of the pea crop I left behind. The peas were well podded but now dry. So I immediately picked them and sowed them for pea shoots.I should be able to harvest them within a fortnight or so.
I also sowed some cues for a late cue crop to be grown in the greenhouse.
Ditto various courgette varieties. There’s still plenty of time to sow a late crop for outside or to be grown under cover (glass or plastic).
Module Sown Plants
Using freshly sterilised loam (screened and then sterilised in the microwave) and compost mix … approx 75% loam, 25% compost .. I sowed seeds of the following.
White Lisbon Spring Onions
Little Gem Lettuce
Chinese Cabbage – Hilton F1
Ruby Streaks – Oriental Mustard
Golden Frills – Oriental Mustard
Red Russian Kale
All the above were multi-seeded for transplanting either outdoors or in my greenhouse. The plan for the greenhouse is to grow a crop now and then replace it with a winter salads crop in the autumn.
Three days after sowing on wet tissue the cues germinated and have been sown. Four days after sowing in modules the brassicas started to poke through. The beetroot and spring onions came a day later and I’m patiently waiting for the basil. Basil is much slower than many other seeds to germinate.
July Outdoor Sowings
I’ve also sown Safari beans outside and some in large empty containers in the greenhouse. This should stagger the crop and give me harvest succession. In normal circumstances I might have inter-sown the beans or even started them in modules of pots for later transplanting. But, having been away I had space so went for direct sowing.
Mooli is another crop I’ve direct sown outside. If there’s space I’ll do more inside in a few weeks.
Which Greenhouse Crops Survived Without Water For Weeks
Common sense tells us not much will survive four weeks in a greenhouse without water, especially when two of those weeks were very hot.
However, several things did survive.
The first was a harvested crop of lettuce that started reshooting from the stem. as soon as I watered them. How they survived I don’t know! They look a bit tough but I’ve watered them and suspect I’ll get a crop from them within a week or so.
It’s quite amazing how hardy some plants are. I certainly don’t recommend treating plants like this .. but some survive even if we do!
Safari (Kenya) Beans had also managed to survive, which again amazed me. Though survive and tough might well go together. And I’m guessing the roof leak above the container may have something to do with this result.
Growing still occasionally surprises me, even after decades of practical experience.
In horticulture we consider irrigation (watering) as being key to success, even though some plants are resilient they still need water. Please don’t imagine I’m suggesting that because my plants survived not watering the best course of action. It’s not! I was lucky.
Future Reports on How To Start The Veg Gardening Year In July
So this is the start of my How To Start The Veg Gardening Year In July post.
Over the next few weeks I’ll post the results of this enforced experiment. Just watch this space to see how it progresses.