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Top up your plots: what to grow now

At mid-summer there's so much you can plant to give you a great crop from late summer through to winter. Rocket Gardens gives their top tips for using plug plants to top up your plot from late June to late July plus a special offer.

Mixed lettuce seedlings. Credit: Rocket Gardens

Mixed lettuce seedlings. Credit: Rocket Gardens

Growing from seed is one of the great joys (and sometimes great frustrations) of gardening. But if you're lacking the space to germinate, left it a bit late or would just like to avoid all the faff, then plug plants are a brilliant option. Of course, at this point in the season there is still time to sow your autumn/winter seeds but this guide is based on plug plants. If you’re planning to grow from seed you’ll need to sow as soon as possible to keep up with similar timeframes.

Henri from Rocket Gardens shares her top tips on what to grow now for bountiful crops through the cooler months.

 

Salad Leaves for Summer

Salad leaves grow really quickly with the long days, and you'll probably be harvesting just two or three weeks after planting - plant up lettuces, wild rocket, mizuna and mustard leaves to fill gaps or in between rows of other plants. It’s well worth growing some in partial shade as well to prevent bolting and to keep them leafier for longer.

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Spinach & Chard for Autumn Harvesting

Spinach and Kale are a great addition to the veg garden at this time of year. By planting now, you'll probably have a good supply to start harvesting in late summer and on into early spring next year.

 

Roots for Mid Autumn

If you get beetroot, carrots and turnips in the ground in late June/early July, you should be able to harvest in September or early October. Beetroot and carrot need very little space so you could easily grow them in between rows of other plants. You could also plant celeriac and parsnips for winter harvesting. Be sure to keep celeriac well watered during the summer though, as it needs plenty of moisture to help the root swell.

Shop Root Veg Plants

 

Leeks for Winter

You could get a last lot of leeks on the go now for winter harvesting. We really recommend planting up lots of leeks in rows, leaving 10cm between each plant. Then in late autumn, you should be able to harvest alternate plants as baby leeks, leaving the remainder to grow on for harvesting in Jan/Feb the following year. Leeks are great planted in between rows of carrots to help deter carrot root fly.

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Brassicas for Winter

July and early August are great times for planting brassicas to harvest in winter - cabbages, kale, cauliflower, broccoli and sprouts galore. They tend to do best in cooler temperatures, so you could happily plant them in partial shade. It’s easiest to plant them all together in a raised bed or similar, so that you can easily care for them. Firm them in and water well, then mulch if you can to keep the soil temperature nicely consistent and cover with mesh netting to protect them from pigeons and butterflies.

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Don't Forget to Grow Herbs

Such a wonderful addition, herbs will produce plenty of leaves over the next few months to spruce up your homegrown meals. Plant them up in pots, or in a dedicated herb bed, but don’t forget that many can also be used as companion plants – try planting basil with tomatoes, pop some chives in between rows of carrots to help deter carrot root fly, and try mint in pots strategically positioned near mizuna and rocket to help deter flea beetle. Borage, hyssop and lavender are excellent for attracting pollinators.

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Use Companion Plants to Help Keep Pests at Bay

Rocket Gardens have some brilliant companion plants that you can use in your veg plot to help protect your plants from pests. Nasturtiums can be planted in pots or in a bed near your brassicas to act as a sacrificial crop for cabbage white butterflies. Tagetes are excellent for growing in amongst tomatoes and beans to deter aphids. Calendula and Marigolds are brilliant for dotting around beds to help attract ‘good’ insects that naturally help to keep down numbers of ‘bad’ insects.

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Rocket Gardens special offer

20% Off All Plug Plants*

Discount Code: GROWLONDON

Expires 31st July 2024.

*Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer/sale.

 

Published Thursday 27 June 2024

Capital Growth: We believe everyone should have the opportunity to grow food as part of a healthy, resilient food system and we are working with our network of growers in London to make this happen.

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A Londoner born and bred, Rachel started her sustainable food journey as an intern at Sustain in 2012. She was working as a vegan chef at the time and went on to set up and run a local veg scheme called Crop Drop. She also helped to establish a community food hub at Wolves Lane, set up a community kitchen and food growing operation there and worked on marketing at Growing Communities alongside. She grows food at home and with her local community garden in Woodford. Her current and enduring obsession is her small brood of hens.

Rachel Dring
Capital Growth Coordinator
Capital Growth

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