Not everyone is a fan of cooked spinach but baby leaves, picked very young, are delicious in salads, especially if dressed with walnut oil and accompanied by sliced red onions.
The secret to producing leaves that aren’t bitter is to grow the plants in rich soil and to keep them very well watered, as the taste is adversely affected when they are allowed to dry out.
If you want to keep harvesting spinach then look for one of the winter varieties that can be sown in August and September to provide fresh pickings from October onwards.
Other vegetables that can be sown in summer include several of the oriental greens including Choy sum, Mizuna and Pak choi and you can keep on sowing lettuce, but don’t do it during very hot spells as this can inhibit germination of the seed.
From pumpkins on the compost heap to winter radishes in pots, there are lots of ways to squeeze in crops that will keep cropping through the second half of the year, but one of the best ways to get the most out of a productive veg patch is to add some autumn-fruiting raspberries.
These are easier to grow than those that fruit in summer as all you need to do is to cut the canes to ground level in February and they will regrow to provide fruit from late August until the end of October.
Turnips sown towards the end of this month will be ready to lift by mid-October, while young cauliflowers and broccoli that were sown in spring should be planted out now, kept well watered and covered with netting to provide protection from pigeons.
Meanwhile, keep removing the side shoots from tomatoes and take off the leaves below the first truss when the plants reach 1.2m tall then continue to remove yellowing leaves as the season progresses.
As earlier crops finish, clear away the top growth and add this to the compost heap and keep on top of weeds as these will compete with veg for water and nutrients. Hoeing regularly doesn’t just remove weeds, it also breaks the capillary action that would otherwise allow moisture from deeper in the soil to be lost through evaporation, so a hoe is a vital tool at this time of the year.
If you are using it in the flower garden, however, be careful that it isn’t just weeds you remove as the seed dropped by spring flowers may have started to germinate and you don’t want to lose these useful additions to the garden.
P.S. No garden is complete without lavender and bees love its nectar-rich flowers. The key to keeping it healthy is to plant it in free-draining soil in the sunniest part of the garden and to cut it back after flowering.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe