If you are new to gardening, you might imagine that you have left it too late to begin work on a vegetable garden this year. But whether or not you yet have a polytunnel to help you in your year-round growing, there are still plenty of vegetables that you can sow in July. Here are some of the options you could consider:
Vegetables to Sow Now that You Can Eat This Year
Loose Leaf Lettuce (& Other Salad Leaves)
Lettuce can be grown pretty much all year round, especially if you can give your plants a little extra protection in the winter months. All summer long, you can plant loose leaf varieties and enjoy a quick harvest in a month to six weeks time. Rocket, like loose leaf lettuce, will provide a quick crop within a couple of months, and can also be cut and will come again.
Radishes are another fast-growing crop that you can still sow throughout July and August. These too can produce a crop before the end of the growing season. Be sure to sow successionally, so you can enjoy radishes over a longer period, and leave one plant to go to flower – not only can you collect more seeds to plant next year, you can also eat the delicious seed pods when they form.
You can sow spring onions in June or July to use as small spring onions later in the season, or sow in August for an overwintering crop that can be harvested in the spring. As your spring onions grow, thin out the plants – but don’t throw the ones you thin out away, use them in your summer salads.
Sowing Legumes (Peas & Beans) in July
People tend to think of peas as a cool-weather spring crop. But you can also sow peas successionally throughout June and July for a later harvest. Even later in the summer, you can sow peas to use as pea shoots – a delicious addition to a salad, and could still squeeze in a crop of mange tout.
In July, you also still have time to direct sow runner beans where they are to grow. French beans can also still be direct sown in a sunny spot or in a polytunnel. While you may not have time to allow these to come to full maturity for dry beans, you should get a worthwhile crop of green beans before the end of the season.
Consider growing baby carrots for a faster summer or autumn harvest, and maincrop carrots to store over the winter months. You can thin out your maincrop carrots sown in June or July, and eat the baby carrots you thin.
Beetroot can also be sown in July and eaten as baby beetroot for salads in the a couple of months time. They can also be grown to maturity and lifted in October for winter storage and use over the coldest months.
A July sowing of chard will allow your plants to overwinter and provide a valuable, delicious leafy green once growth resumes in the spring. (You could also pick some young leaves for salads later this season.)
Turnips To Sow in July
Turnips too can be sown throughout the summer. Sow maincrop turnips in July and early August to provide a useful winter crop.
Kale/ Winter Cabbages/Kohlrabi
Sow kale and winter cabbages in July and these will see you through the winter months and through to the ‘hungry gap’ next spring. You could also consider sowing kohlrabi for small bulbing stems and leaves before the end of the season.
Christmas Potatoes – Sow in July
Over the summer, you can also consider planting some potatoes in containers. When these are protected from frost with a cloche or polytunnel, or placed in a greenhouse, they can give you new potatoes for your Christmas dinner.
Of course, these are just some of the things that you can still sow in July. In addition to thinking about sowing things that you will be able to eat over the rest of this year, you can also start to plan ahead and sow things that you will be eating next spring, and beyond.
Are you sowing and growing year round? Feel free to share your own hints and tips for vegetables to sow in July in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.