July is a month for reaping the rewards of your labours – lots of crops, such as runner beans, potatoes and raspberries are ready to harvest. But it is also a time for planning ahead – now is the time to sow winter crops, including potatoes for Christmas.
The weather in July can be fickle. If there’s a drought, you’ll need to prioritise which crops to water, and if it’s damp, you’ll need to watch out for blight.
Here are some jobs you can be getting on with on the allotment in July.
First early and second early potatoes should be ready to dig up this month – they don’t store well, so enjoy them straightaway. Globe artichokes and climbing beans will be ready to pick this month. Harvest garlic and onions when their tops have gone yellow and leave them to ripen in a dry, sunny spot. Strawberries and raspberries can be enjoyed this month, too – if birds are a problem, cover them with netting.
Now is the time to sow veg to harvest during the winter months, including kale, winter cabbage, spinach and radicchio. It’s a good time to sow carrots to avoid carrot fly, as well as continuing with radishes, beetroot, lettuce and runner beans. If you fancy growing potatoes for Christmas, now is the time to plant some.
Watch out for blight
In warm, damp weather, watch out for potato blight – in particular, dark edges on the leaves. Tomatoes grown outside are also susceptible to tomato blight.
Pinch out tomatoes
Pinch out the sideshoots of cordon tomatoes – this will encourage the plants to put their energies into producing flowers, and therefore fruits. Remove the growing tip once four flower trusses have formed.
In very hot weather, it pays to prioritise certain plants. Water flowering and fruiting tomatoes and cucumbers every day or two. Be generous with water on leafy crops such as lettuce, rocket, chard, coriander and spinach which are prone to bolting if they dry out. Water strawberries, courgettes and runner beans frequently, along with veg that prefers cool conditions, such as cauliflower and cabbage. Also prioritise crops growing in pots.