While spring remains the most important time to get crops into the ground for most of us, it is crucial to make plans to sow and plant now to keep the harvests coming. As soon as earlier sowings and plantings are cleared, new seeds and young plants should be waiting in the wings to keep trugs and freezers full to bursting. So what can you sow and plant now to make that happen?
SECOND SOWINGS OF FAMILY FAVOURITES
Many fast-growing spring favourites such as summer radishes, lettuce (particularly winter lettuces such as ‘Winter Imperial’), salad leaves and mizuna can be sown now. Much depends on the weather, since these crops will tend to bolt (run to seed) if it is too hot and dry. But if you have a shady, sheltered spot, perhaps in the shade of some tall runner beans or sweetcorn, and can keep it well watered, then you can keep sowing in succession all through this month. And with a little protection from a polytunnel, mini-greenhouse, cold frame or cloches, you can sow well into next month too.
Chicory or radicchio has never been as popular here as it is on the Continent, but is great for adding colour and a little bitterness to salads and at its best in the autumn. Sown at this time of year as with the salads above, it is best covered with cloches or grown in a cold polytunnel to protect itfrom very cold or wet autumn weather.
Even relatively slow developers such as carrots can be sown in July/early August to produce some finger roots for packed lunches or adding unpeeled straight to the pot. They can also be sown directly into the ground and covered with cloches or fleece as the weather cools in September/October, but the best results from these late sowings will come from growing in containers, which can be moved under cover when bad weather threatens. This will also help to protect them from carrot fly. Any varieties will do well in containers but it is obviously best to choose stump or round-rooted types such as ‘Paris Market’, ‘Early Scarlet Horn’, ‘Chantenay’ or ‘Early Nantes’. Modern sweet imperator hybrids such as ‘Sugarsnax 54 F1’ also perform well.
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