July on the allotment
As the hottest month in the UK (or so we hope!) is here, the allotment is jam-packed with fresh fruit and vegetables ready to harvest, eat and enjoy. Look at the difference to those early days in March, when the plot was pretty bare and all the hard work had to be started to prepare the beds so they can cope with the crop now!
These have swelled up nicely and are ready to harvest. A useful tip is to gently break the roots from the soil and leave the onions laying out in the dry weather or keep under cover, as I am doing in the shed. Leave them until all the green stem has dried out and it’s golden brown and then they are ready to cook with.
A bumper crop that, as ever, grows so quick. I have picked more than I need straightaway otherwise they will get too large and then are not quite as tasty to eat. They store well once picked so it’s not a problem to keep a few in the kitchen cupboard (if Mrs G allows me).
I keep to one plant (knowing how these come thick and fast in the season). I like to harvest when the flower is still at the end of the courgette making it the tastiest time as they are not too large.
The cucumber plants from the garden centre have done really well and I’m especially happy with the new netting I put up, the plants are clambering up it at high speed.
This has grown back from last year so is a bonus crop. There are several ways to cook artichoke but my summer go to is to brush them with olive oil and pop them onto the BBQ to grill.
In the kitchen
Mrs G has decided to be in charge lately and so has been boiling beetroot and potatoes which are enjoyed by all in our family meals. Spinach has also been a bumper crop so she is steaming this off and topping up all of our iron levels so we are super healthy.
Large growing plants need feeding regularly to stop them getting hungry. So, once your squashes, tomatoes and beans are flowering, start feeding them often with something containing a high amount of potassium.
My choice is the gardener’s favourite, Tomorite, a liquid feed high in potassium which you can mix up in your watering can and apply around the base of the plant.
Things to do
Planting more Saladin lettuce seed (a crunchy crisp ‘Iceberg’ lettuce) is top of my list as there is still plenty of time for this to grow through the warm summer months for a harvest in late August.
Another job needing to be done is pinching out the unwanted shoots on tomato plants. These are the ones that grow in the ‘V’ between the main stem and the offshoot as this will allow all the energy of the plant to go into the growing of the tomatoes.
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