What is there to do at this time of year except take holidays and harvest our crops? – 11th August 2015
It’s true – this just feels like the time of year to be taking the bounty from our gardens and from the rest of life. However part of the art of growing vegetables in particular is to be thinking a month or two ahead. This way we can avoid having lots of empty ground doing little and with the nutrients washing away. Nature abhors a vacuum and I feel we should too if we are to grow plants in a natural way. So now is the time to consider crops to follow on from the early potatoes, peas, lettuces and all the the other varieties which have finished feeding us.
If you have sown seeds of your winter leeks and greens earlier in the year they may now be ready to plant after these crops. If you weren’t ahead of the game a month or two ago, at seed planting time for them, you can buy small plants at the garden centre or at Gardenalia on London Rd. So leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers, winter cabbages etc are likely to be available.
In addition there are seeds which can go directly into the ground now to follow on from the plants you have harvested. I follow the recommendations of Charles Dowding whose no-dig organic methods seem to produce better crops each year on my allotment. So in July and August he suggests lettuce, endive and chicory, oriental leaves, spinach, chervil, parsley, coriander and summer turnips. Of these I expect to carry on planting lettuce, parsley, chervil, coriander and summer turnips in the next week or two. These will keep the ground producing and keep fresh herbs and vegetables coming through to the autumn. The turnips are the Italian ones with a purple top called Milan. They grow nearly as fast as radishes and I hope will make a good roasted vegetable. They should not be sown too close together or they will be rather small.
These sowings will keep the soil producing for the next month or two up until the time when the autumn crops – overwintering onions, garlic and broad beans – are planted. Then the cloches can come out again to try to persuade some of the more tender crops that the warm weather isn’t quite over.
” ANYONE WHO BELIEVES IN INDEFINITE GROWTH ON A PHYSICALLY FINITE PLANET IS EITHER MAD OR AN ECONOMIST” – David Attenborough.