Sustain London Food Link Articles

Growers Corner: Summer

Summer's in full swing, so we check in with head grower at our showcase allotment gardens, Chris Murphy, for tops tips and jobs to be done to get growing. 

Marigolds. Credit: Chris Murphy

Marigolds. Credit: Chris Murphy

Train your toms

Tomatoes have to be the nations favourite veg to grow and with a little bit of effort you can be harvesting delicious juicy fruits up until the end of summer. Cordon tomatoes require supports and the regular removal of side shoots - they sprout from the main stem just above the leaf joint. Bush tomatoes don’t require any supports or training. Feed tomatoes with a high potassium liquid fertiliser once they have set fruit and water regularly. Removing lower leafs as the plants grow will improve airflow and help prevent blight. 

Sow more seeds

You might be sick of seed sowing by now, but there’s still plenty to do to keep you fed into winter. From July start to sow mustards and oriental greens, such as pak choi, which will grow well into the cooler months. From August switch over to winter lettuces, Arctic King always performs well for me. July is also your last chance to sow root crops including beetroot and carrots. 

Summer peas. Credit: Chris Murphy
Summer peas: Chris Murphy

Watering 101

It’s best to water deeply and less often than lightly every day as it helps prevent plants becoming shallow rooted. Try sinking terracotta pots into the soil next to squashes to allow the water to seep deep into the roots. Avoid getting foliage wet, particularly on tomatoes and potatoes as it can hasten the onset of blight - my mantra is water the soil not the plants. Water early in the morning or early evening where possible to avoid leaves getting scorched by the midday sun. 

Safe space

Pay attention to spacing when planting out your beds. A safe bet is always to refer to the seed packets. Providing plants with proper spacing is a great way to prevent the spread of diseases such as powdery mildew. If, like me, you’ve ended up with far more squash plants than you have space for try swapping them with other gardeners, friends and neighbours. 

Want to learn more? Check out Capital Growth's training programme for some fantastic online and in-person workshops to help you get growing!

Published Tuesday 5 July 2022

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