July in the veg plot – Allotment Gardening

July in the veg plot

The vegetable garden will be in full production and crops will need regular picking over to sustain the continued production of fresh young produce. Leaving vegetables to get to their maximum size is counter productive, as this slows down their growth and the result is less harvest from the plant, plus they taste better when they are young.

Whilst in amongst the plants, harvesting all the lovely produce, its a good time to evaluate what has done well and what has struggled. Take stock of what soil conditions a particular crop enjoys or hates and take note for next year.

Remember to clear away the remnants of crops that have been collected, as old cabbage stumps, potato leaves and the like left on the soil are great habitats for pests to hide in.

Vegetables that are being grown in pots,tubs or grow-bags need quite a bit of attention at this stage of the season. Most will need staking and tying in to supports. Regular feeding and watering is essential. This can be difficult with high summer temperatures, but perseverance is necessary as one of the biggest cause of blossom end rot on Tomatoes and Peppers is erratic watering.

Tomato With Blossom End RotBlossom End Rot on Sweet Pepper

Greenhouse
Tomatoes will be growing rapidly so keep on top of side shooting cordon varieties, taking the shoots out as early as possible to limit the damage to the plant.

The older leaves of Cucumbers naturally wither and die back as the plant grows and spreads, removing these helps increase air circulation around the plant and eliminates a possible home for disease.

If you leave the greenhouse door open to aid cooling and ventilation, consider covering the opening with netting to stop birds and animals entering, as these panic once inside and can cause damage not only to themselves but to the growing crops as well.

Vegetable Garden
As crops are cleared start to plan where next years spring brassicas are to be planted and when the weather permits prepare the ground.

Summer Cauliflowers that are maturing will benefit from having a few of the outer leaves bent over the developing curd to protect from the strong sun light.

Beans, Celery, Marrows and Courgettes will need regular watering in dry weather if the crop is not to suffer. These along with any other crops that will be in the ground for another month or two will reward you if given a sprinkle of general fertilizer around the base of the plant.

Garlic and Shallots will need to be lifted a dried in the sun once the leaves have yellowed and wilted. If the weather turns wet they will need to be placed in an airy place indoors to continue drying before storing.

Sow this month

An early variety of Pea such as Early Onward will give a small but welcome crop after main crop varieties have finished, if sow towards the end of the month.

Runner Beans will give a good late crop if sown in their growing position any time up till the end of the month.

Small regular sowing of salad crops will allow you to have a continuous supply for the table.
In really hot weather these can be reluctant to germinate especially Lettuce, some form of artificial shading may be needed (garden fleece works well) or sow the rows in a cooler part of the veg patch.

Fruit
Fruit that is trained in to cordons or any other shape should be pruned and tied in before this years new growth starts to mature.

Protect ripening fruit of Plums and Cherries from birds and wasps with netting.

Clean Strawberry beds as the crop comes to an end, remove any straw from around the plants that protected the fruits and the cut back old foliage.
Increase plant stocks by pegging down runners that may have developed in to small pots, sever from the parent plant when they have rooted and new growth is strong and vigorous.

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