July is a lovely month in the garden as we get to enjoy some of our early harvests alongside having some generally great weather, much loved by plants and home growers alike.
It’s a time when our vegetables really start to mature, kales are large and leafy, colourful lettuces ready for the table and fresh herbs begin to make their way into our kitchens! There’ll be bees and butterflies, and less welcome pests and predators, but the garden is generally alive with activity at this time of year.
With spaces being created as we harvest and enjoy, we can also think about succession planting and what we can fill those empty gaps with. There’s still lots that can be planted and harvested this year. As well as watering, staking, protecting, summer pruning and a list of other garden jobs to keep us busy. No time to rest just yet..!
This month we could be planting:
- Runner beans
- Winter brassicas (such as kale, cabbage and sprouts)
- Pak Choi
- Kohl rabi
- Sprouting broccoli
Of course not all of these have to be sown from seed. Our website has a wide range of vegetable, fruit and herb plants that can be planted directly into your gardens this month. These are sustainably grown in Shropshire, planted in recycled materials and delivered directly to your door. Plants include growing guides showing you how to grow and harvest them – and if that’s not enough, we run a free veg gardening group offering additional support too! See our website for details. https://homegrownmarketgarden.co.uk/
Checklist of Jobs for June
With planting underway there are several additional jobs to be getting on with this month:
- Ventilate the greenhouse on extra hot days to help control excessive heat.
- Water crops regularly now. This is the time when crops rely on their water supply to swell most vegetables.
- Keep on top of pest control. The warmer humid weather encourages a vast amount of pests. Garden Organic offer some great tips for this here
- Don’t let the hoe sit idle. Weeds are best dealt with on a sunny day so that they die in the sun.
- Continue to encourage beans and peas to climb around their supports, pinching out the tops when they have reached the top of their supports. This encourages flower and fruit production rather than leafy growth.
- Thin herb seedlings and transplant the thinnings elsewhere.
- Harvest and dry a wide variety of fresh herbs to use later in the season.
- Stop tomatoes from producing more growth when at least 4 trusses of tomatoes have appeared.
- Keep harvesting your vegetables to encourage production. In some cases, the more you pick the more you get!
- Protect fruit crops once the fruit starts to develop, to prevent bird damage.
- Avoid thinning carrots during the day to prevent carrot root fly.
- Continue planting both plants and seeds to fill in any gaps.
- Watch out for cabbage white caterpillars, which can devastate a crop. Check the undersides of leaves for eggs and remove affected leaves.
- Peg down the runners of strawberries to produce new plants for next year
- Continue to feed all plants, especially tomatoes and peppers using organic feeds wherever possible.
- Make your own liquid fertilisers using nettles or comfrey leaves.
- Summer-prune gooseberries, redcurrants, and whitecurrants. Removing foliage lets in light and air, helping any remaining fruit to ripen and reducing the risk of disease.
- Continue to thin seedlings to allow room for crops to grow successfully.
- Continue to sow catch crops such as radish or gem lettuce.
And let’s not forget composting, with advice from Garden Organic:
- Cover all bare soil with mulches to prevent moisture loss. For instance, grass clippings piled thickly onto layers of newspaper (6 – 8 sheets). Before applying mulches, hoe off any weeds and water dry soil well.
- As you add material to the compost heap, mix greens (nitrogen rich) with browns (carbon rich) at a 50/50 ratio. Dry heaps will need watering. Turning the heap will aerate it and speed up decomposition.
- If you have a worm bin, make sure it doesn’t get too hot and kill the worms.
I hope you find this useful. If you’re a keen home gardener or allotmenteer (or would like to be!) why not consider joining our growing community online. It’s free and all are welcome https://www.meetup.com/meetup-group-mqboZExp/
Theresa, Homegrown Market Garden