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“A summer without tomatoes is like a string quartet without strings.”
Laurie Colwin

July is the beginning of that wonderful period when we get to eat what we have sown and grown. It’s the month when the delivery of veg boxes can be suspended as we enjoy our home-grown crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, strawberries and more.

Normally the hottest month of the year July is yet another busy month for the gardener as watering becomes a daily task, lawns need regular mowing and weeds still need weeding.

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  • Keep your sweet peas flowering by regular picking. Pick in the morning or evening when the temperatures are at their coolest, plunge the flowers up to their necks in cold water and then enjoy the colour and fragrance in your home.
  • Remove side shoots from cordon tomatoes and water and feed regularly.

  • It can get very hot in the greenhouse so leave the door and vents open and consider applying shading paint or similar. Damping down the floor with a hose will help to reduce the temperature.
  • Pick cucumbers as soon as they’ve reached the right size for the variety and are still nice and firm. A slice of cucumber in a G&T makes a lovely change to the traditional lemon.
  • Keep picking courgettes to encourage the plant to keep producing. Share with friends and neighbours until they beg you to stop.
  • Early potatoes will be ready for lifting but dig under just the one plant first to check they are the size you want.
  • Maintain a good watering regime remembering that plants growing in pots will need extra.

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Much has been written about recipes for dealing with a courgette glut and I’m surprised not to have seen something similar for runner beans. As one of the easiest of vegetables to grow they are an iconic part of our summer yet I’m sure many of us tire of eating them long before the end of their season. Neighbours will welcome the first few offerings but will start to politely refuse when they’ve had their fill. Yes, runner beans can be frozen although I never find this very successful, so what else can we do with them!

  • Prepare and steam the runner beans and then add finely sliced red onion and crisp pancetta. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
  • Slice and gently simmer in a chilli, tomato and garlic sauce until tender
  • Cook pasta and add sliced runner beans in the same pan of boiling water. Drain and then toss in coriander pesto, a little cream and top with parmesan
  • Runner bean pickle is a real winner. I like the River Cottage recipe best. (Watch the video below for more information on that runner bean pickle!)


Spring Bulbs and Winter Bedding

Our latest catalogue will be mailed early next month but many of the varieties will be available on our website from the middle of July. This includes autumn and spring bulbs, autumn, winter and spring bedding and also winter veg.