July, the high-summer growing month. A time, though, to begin to think about slowing the sowing. To reap the benefits of earlier work. To harvest beans and courgettes while at their best. To lift potatoes, the gardener’s gold.
It’s soon time, too, depending on where you live, to lift alliums: shallots, onions and garlic. Lay them out in the sun to ripen. Keep a close eye on the weather and move them to an airy, sheltered space at any sign of rain. The better they dry, the longer they’ll keep.
Peas should be coming on stream. Eat them as soon and simply as possible. Ours sometimes never make it past the allotment gate – Howard and I standing by the sticks, me with a greedy grin on my face. This is, of course, unfair on your family if you have one.
July is your last chance to replenish peas with new seed. Any later and pods may not develop.
Other food stuff that needs to be sown now: the last Florence fennel, carrots, spring cabbages, beetroot, broccoli and beans. Also good to go are cool-hardy salads and oriental mustards. We will be losing daylight by the end of the month, so some focus is required.
Pinch off the side shoots on tomato plants and nip off the tops when you have enough trusses. Experts recommend to stop at four or five, though I sometimes find it hard to stick to that.
Remember to keep on top of weeding. They tend to be fast, efficient plants. Constant watering will help to hold back bolting as some of your crops race to seed.
Ensure there is water for birds and other wildlife. And keep on top of pond levels. Frogs will be about if you are lucky. If you are thinking of going away for more than a day, ask someone to water your plot. Otherwise, enjoy your long gardening evenings and all the sunshine.