grow your own this summer


In the summer months, you are normally harvesting rather than sowing crops, but there is still plenty of time to get some repeat planting in and extend your growing period.


Late sowings of lettuces and leaves


Successional sowing of summer lettuce varieties in July and August will provide plenty of salad leaves well into the autumn.


'Little Gem' is a Cos lettuce with crisp, sweet hearts. It can be planted from March right through to August and is popular with gardeners because it’s resistant to root aphid.


Spring onions in autumn


Salad onions are easier and faster to grow from seed than normal onions. Sow them after midsummer, and they’ll give you a winter and spring harvest.


‘White Lisbon’ is a popular hardy variety that you can sow in succession for a continuous crop all spring, summer and autumn. It can be sown in September or October for picking the following spring.



Iron-rich kales and spring cabbage


Kale is abundant in vitamins and minerals and rich in flavonoids. Its baby leaves can be eaten raw in salads or boiled or steamed. To sauté, heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat, add garlic and cook until soft.


‘Red Ursa’ is a hardy variety of kale that can be sown outdoors in August for overwintering and will produce flowering shoots in spring. Similarly, if you sow spring cabbage in late August or September, you'll enjoy fresh cabbages early the following spring. It can be cooked the same way as kale, either boiled, steamed or sautéed.



Enjoy heath boosting beetroot


Beetroot is another exceptionally nutritional vegetable, rich in calcium, iron and vitamins and an excellent source of folic acid, fibre, manganese and potassium. Beetroot can be sown in June and later in July to give you tender baby beetroots in autumn.


A simple way to cook beetroot is to scrape it, and wrap it whole in tin foil, then bake in the oven for about 40 minutes on a medium heat.


Sow late cropping carrots


To enjoy tender carrots in autumn you can carry on making sowings in July and early August. 'Autumn King 2' has a deep red colour inside and long roots of up to 30cm. It can be harvested from late summer or left in the ground throughout winter.


'Sweet Candle' is a popular late summer and autumn cropping Japanese bred carrot that has smooth orange skin and cylindrical roots with a delicious sweet flavour.



Mash your swedes and turnips


You can sow swedes until late June for harvesting in November and December. The variety ‘Virtue’ was bred as a culinary swede for its fine-grained, sweet yellow flesh. It’s fully winter hardy and much tastier than older varieties. The good thing about swedes is that they can be stored in a cool place and will last into the new year.


Turnips can also be sown from mid-June through to the end of July for harvesting in autumn and into the winter. Turnips and swedes make an excellent addition to winter stews, or they’re delicious mashed with a dash of ground black pepper.


Keep an eye on your fruits for pest and diseases


One thing to be aware of is that the warmer summer months can bring an invasion of pests and diseases. Keep an eye on your fruit trees and bushes and take remedial action (if possible) at the first signs of any infestations.


Don't forget to check out our 'Grow Your Own:  Month By Month Guide' for a clear summary of all of the delightful produce you can plant in your British garden.  Also be sure to check out the other articles in this series, including 'Grow Your Own This Autumn'.


Happy growing!


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