Can you sow veg seeds in sum­mer? Yes you can...

The Herald - The Herald Magazine - - Outdoors: Gardening -

YOU may think you’ve missed the boat with seed-sow­ing for a veg crop this year, as so many are started off in spring. But think again. Now, in mid­sum­mer there are still crops you can sow now to give you a har­vest later in the year.

The RHS ad­vises that gar­den­ers can sow corn salad, land cress and ori­en­tal salad leaves such as ko­mat­suna, mi­buna, mizuna, mustard and rocket in late sum­mer to pro­vide cut-and-come-again leaves through the au­tumn, and win­ter if cov­ered with a cloche, cold frame or fleece.

‘No-dig’ gardening ex­pert and YouTu­ber Charles Dowd­ing, au­thor of 10 books and an an­nual cal­en­dar of sow­ing dates of­fers some sug­ges­tions for quick-grow­ing, healthy veg to sow now for eat­ing later in the year and even over the cold win­ter months...

SPINACH

Ex­cel­lent when sown in early Au­gust, spinach can crop for nine months if you har­vest the out­side larger leaves as it grows, Dowd­ing ex­plains. It is win­ter-hardy and leaves ac­tu­ally sweeten in the cold. ‘Meda­nia’ and ‘Red Car­di­nal’ are two va­ri­eties to look out for. Eat raw in sal­ads or sauteed with but­ter.

Win­ter cul­ti­vars can be sown in Au­gust and Septem­ber, but will need protection from Oc­to­ber on­wards in Scot­land. Cover the plants with cloches or pro­tect the crown with straw or sim­i­lar ma­te­rial, and cover with fleece.

BRAS­SICA SAL­ADS

These are good to sow in early Au­gust, Dowd­ing ad­vises. Plant rocket, mus­tards and mizuna, plus the tasty pak choi and more un­usual tat­soi. Serve mixed leaves for a salad with zing and crunch.

The RHS ad­vises gar­den­ers to sow salad plants di­rect into the ground in sum­mer in shal­low drills that have been wa­tered be­fore sow­ing.

Chi­nese cab­bage is a par­tic­u­larly good crop for late sum­mer, as days are long and nights are warm, the RHS notes. It will bolt dur­ing other sea­sons.

Sow thinly in fer­tile soil out­doors up un­til Au­gust, ev­ery three weeks for suc­ces­sional crops, 1cm deep in rows 38cm (15in)

apart.

Co­rian­der and chervil, with its mild aniseed flavour, give lovely au­tumn leaves from sow­ing late in July, says Dowd­ing.

The RHS adds that with co­rian­der, pic­tured, ger­mi­na­tion is likely to take be­tween seven and 20 days and that you’ll need to sow ev­ery three or four weeks for a con­stant sup­ply of leaves. You can sow un­til Septem­ber.

LET­TUCE

Let­tuce can be sown up to early Septem­ber, for grow­ing in pro­tected spots such as bal­conies or window boxes through the win­ter months. ‘Greno­ble Red’ is a great va­ri­ety for late plant­ing,

WIN­TER PURSLANE WANT TO PEP UP YOUR DISHES WITH FRESHLYPIC­KED HERBS?

Win­ter purslane, a de­li­cious crunchy salad leaf packed with vi­ta­min C, can be sown in early Septem­ber, as can fast-grow­ing land cress, which has a sim­i­lar taste to wa­ter­cress.

PEAS FOR SHOOTS

You may be used to the frozen va­ri­ety, but peas can also be grown for their tasty plant tips. Seeds can be sown at any time of the year and are easy to grow in con­tain­ers.

The shoots are de­li­cious in sal­ads but also steamed or used in stir fries. Try ‘Ore­gon Sugar Pod’ or her­itage va­ri­ety ‘Mr Brays’, says Dowd­ing.

WHAT ELSE?

The RHS ad­vises the use of green ma­nures such as crim­son clover and Ital­ian rye­grass as a soil im­prover and to cover bare ar­eas that aren’t be­ing used.

These will im­prove the soil tex­ture and help to re­tain nu­tri­ents when dug in.

You can also sow win­ter radishes through July and Au­gust, which grow larger and more slowly than spring sow­ings and should be ready to har­vest in gen­tler parts of Scot­land in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber.

Win­ter radishes such as mooli, the long, cylin­dri­cal white roots of Ja­panese win­ter radish, pic­tured left, are great in stir fries.

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