We’re into the height of summer now, and you probably think it’s a bad idea to start off seedlings when there is such a high risk of failure due to the hot, dry conditions we (hopefully!) get at this time of year. You’re right to a certain extent, but there are still some crops that you can sow for harvesting later on in the summer. And I know none of us want to think about it yet, but now is also a good time to make a start on crops that you can harvest in winter. Here’s what to plant in July.
Succession sow salad
Wow, that’s a mouthful! Salad leaves grow super-fast at this time of year, and they can quickly go to seed if you don’t keep picking and eating them. Sowing seeds little and often is the best way to make sure you have a constant supply; aim to sow every couple of weeks. This is one of those jobs that’s so easy to forget, I’ve had to set myself a diary reminder on my computer to make sure I remember. It’s also a great gardening task to do with the kids: here’s how to get them involved.
Biennial flowers for next year
Now this is super-organised, but a few minutes spent this month sowing biennial seeds that will flower next spring and summer is time well spent. Sow them in trays of compost, and plant them out in late summer or early autumn; this allows them to get established over winter, ready to do their thing in spring. Some good choices are honesty, sweet rocket, wallflowers and foxgloves.
Swedes & Turnips
Winter vegetables feel like such a long way off, don’t they? But turnips and swedes take up to six months to mature, so sowing them now will give you a crop in winter – perfect for hearty soups and lovely roasted root veg. They like moist soil, so try not to let them dry out in warm weather.
Kale is very trendy these days; full of calcium and antioxidants, it’s now seen as a superfood and pops up in lots of cookbooks and juice bar menus. If you’d like to try growing your own, you can sow seeds in July for harvesting in 3-4 months. You can cut whole plants when they reach around 15cm high, or wait until they get to 25cm and pick a few tender leaves regularly.
Will you be having a rest from planting this month, or growing any of these suggestions? Let me know in the comments.