Rain at last, and the nights are drawing in! Just as our crops begin their bounty we need to momentarily tear ourselves away to think through winter…if you have growing space then now is the time to plan some crops for winter to avoid bare soils and maximise your growing opportunities. If you are container growing you can still grow some multi-cropping greens to keep you crunching through winter.
Keep up regular watering every few days, weekly liquid feeding of plants in pots and tomatoes and strawberries and keep an eye out and on top of small, green, fleshy annual weeds that will be loving warm soils and a bit of rain. Plant out thinnings and seedlings on damp overcast days to stop them from wilting.
A word about picking; as our bounty begins it’s worth saying a thing or two about picking to maximise your crop. Central to continued cropping is enough water to ‘swell’ your crop and regular picking- this encourages the plant to keep on producing more in an attempt to set seed.
Will be loving the moisture in the soil. Early sown peas will be flowering and podding, keep up regular watering in dry spells and keep up the harvest every couple of days to keep them producing sweet juicy pods.
The most popular crop for amateur UK growers.
“The quintessential summer crop and totally worth the effort of growing them!” Grower at Lauriston Farm
Whether you are growing inside or out the summer so far has been good for tomatoes. Continue with weekly liquid feed, supporting and side shooting on cordon tomatoes
The strawberry season is well underway and for so many of us its also all over too soon, unless you grow a few different varieites however next come the raspberries and currants. Do keep an out for birds and slugs on strawberries and other berries as they begin to ripen.
Keep up regular picking of ‘greens’, sow little and often to safeguard against changes in temperature which may lead plants to put their energy into producing seeds and not leaves. Don’t panic if your plant has grown tall and straggly and runs to seed; the flowers will support a wide range of insect life and can then be composted. Final call to grow kale for winter is best sown on a sunny windowsill or greenhouse to get it started, spinach, chard and cut-and come again lettuce can still be sown in warm, damp soils.
Keep sowing annual herbs (one-year life cycle) such as coriander and parsley into open ground, pots or trays.
Bees will thrive on common perennial herbs; chives, marjoram, sage and thyme. Once chives have finished flowering, try cutting them back to about 2cms, water them well and watch them grow and flower again.
Planted early will be beginning to flower, and the tubers swell. Don’t be too tempted to harvest too soon the plants will be loving the rain. Keep an eye on leaves for discolouration and the flowers- Bob from One Seed Forward keeps us straight with a weekly update on our socials on his tattie crop.
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Finally…. the prolonged dry spell is over for now, did it make you realise just how much water our food requires? Get buckets, butts and containers ready, every drop counts.