July 3, 2015
In July we start to harvest what we’ve sown and grown and have the pleasure of tucking into fresh, unmessed-about-with home grown veg. There really is little to beat that feeling of pride as you gather food for the day and planning meals around your own harvest rather than buying to fit a recipe makes for some very inventive eating!
Do continue to water your crops well this month and feed as each type requires. Anything growing in containers will need extra water as the soil will dry out more quickly. And there is still time to sow some more crops. Additional sowings of peas, beans, carrots and salad leaves will provide you with an extended harvest into late summer and autumn.
Crops that will be ready to harvest this month include:
Peas and Beans
Pick regularly to encourage continued cropping. Additional sowings can also be made this month ensuring that you’ll still be harvesting peas and beans in late August. If you dislike podding peas then next year try sugar snap peas or mangetout where you eat the whole thing, pod and all.
We’re all familiar with pickled beetroot but it is also delicious roasted or eaten raw. Harvest when the globes are young and small and add young leaves to the salad bowl. Allow beetroot to dry out between watering as otherwise you’ll have lots of leaves at the expense of the roots.
Carrots are especially delicious when eaten young and small. I wonder how many other people remember coming home from school and pulling a carrot to eat fresh from the garden? If you have the space then more sowings can be made this month to extend your harvest.
Once the stems are flowering and/or the leaves are starting to wilt you know your crop is ready. Lift one plant first to check that the potatoes are the size that you want.
Pick when firm and rich in colour. If they don’t come away easily from the stem then they’re not ready! Continue removing side shoots from cordon varieties so that their energy goes into producing fruits.
Cut-n-come-again mixes are available in a range of varieties. Try Spicy Oriental Mix or French or Italian mixes. They take no time to germinate and grow and will keep you in salad leaves right through the summer and autumn.
Kohl Rabi doesn’t store well so harvest just before intended use, ideally when about the size of a golf ball.