Earthing-up winter celery can start in July. Fill in the trenches with a 10 cm (4 in) layer of soil, first encasing the young plants in protective paper collars to keep the soil from getting into the hearts. Continue the earthing-up process at fortnightly intervals.
All of the leguminous family (beans) will need a steady supply of water, augmented by mulching, if the weather is hot and dry. Also water salad crops well if the weather calls for it, or you may find that your lettuce, radish and spinach will bolt (gone to seed).
Potatoes can be vulnerable to blight at this time, a fungal infection seems to be more troublesome in cool, wet summers. Brown markings on the leaves and discoloured patches on the potato flesh are tell-tale signs, so spray with a suitable fungicide if necessary.
Tomatoes, whether open grown or in containers, will need feeding now, using a special tomato fertilizer. A steady supply of water is also crucial, especially for those growing in containers. An uneven supply of water will lead to split fruit, so put them at the top of your watering list.
Tall-growing cultivars of tomato should be given support, and have the little side shoots, where the leaf stalk joins the main stem, nipped out. Once the plant has made six flower trusses, pinch out the main growing tip two or three leaves above the top truss. If left to grow on, more flower trusses would continue to be produced, but would have no chance of ripening, or even filling out, before the cold weather sets in.
Tomatoes grown in a greenhouse need much the same attention, but make sure that there is plenty of ventilation and shading, as well as sufficient water and liquid fertilizer.
Vegetables to sow in July include:
Start cabbage off in a seed bed, and sow little and often, to get a good succession of plants next spring. Check how the seedlings from last month's sowing are coming along. Thin and transplant as necessary.
You can continue to harvest dry herbs, or freeze them, as required. Sow parsley now, in a sheltered spot to get a supply of fresh parsley during the winter months,. Make seed drills 15 mm (3/4 in) deep, don't despair if nothing seems be happening-parsley is slow germinate and it can take six weeks for the seedlings to show. When the cold weather comes protect them with cloches or grow them in a cold frame.
Young beetroot, turnip, tender carrots and kohlrabi should be ready for harvesting. Pick only as much as you need, to ensure that, fresh-from-the-garden taste.
Towards the end of the month, you may be able to start harvesting the first of the runner beans, as well as some broad and French beans. To get successful fertilization of flowers, the weather must be warm, which in turn stimulates the insects that pollinate them. Pinch out the growing tips of runner beans once they have reached the top of their supports.
Once the leaves of your shallots turn yellow, lift them carefully and leave them out in the sun to dry. When fully dry, rub them over to remove any remaining particles of soil or loose outer skin. Save some of the best small bulbs for planting next spring, and store the rest in a cool, airy place until ready to use. Any garlic and onions you planted in the autumn should be ready as well, and should be given the same treatment.
Globe artichokes should be ready for picking now. The best time to cut them is just as the leafy scales start to open but leave it too long they will turn into inedible but attractive flowers. If you harvest the artichokes on the ends of the main stems first, smaller, but still edible, artichokes will be produced lower down the stem.
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