What a summer it has turned out to be. From storms to sun and everything in between it’s a wonder any of our plants know where they are at. Many plants are thriving in the wet, warm weather and others are a bit shocked!
One thing to watch out for is bolting, especially any of your leafy greens such as lettuce, chard and spinach, rocket, coriander and others. The changes of temperature can put them through stress which in turn makes them go to seed - to save their species! You will notice when they suddenly shoot upwards and the taste becomes more bitter. Then flowers will appear, ready to set seed and the lifecycle is then over. You can help by ensuring a consistent amount of water rather than fluctuations and for some, a little shade will help out when the summer sun does arrive. Of course, in the Vegepod, they should be safe and stress limited.
Picture: Lettuce is prone to bolting / going to seed in summer due to heat and water stress.
What to Plant NOW
The good news is even if some plants do bolt, you can carry on sowing others, even in August. You can also choose bolt hardy varieties that tend not to feel the stress so much and therefore limiting the likelihood of having to discard some crops.
Continue to sow lettuce, radish, rocket, sorrel and fennel. Turnips are great to grow in the Vegepod and if you harvest them no bigger than golf ball size you’ll have plenty of tasty harvests and still room to grow other vegetables. If you are growing spring brassicas, now is the time to ensure they are planted outside. A late sowing of beetroot can go in the Vegepod now also.
Image Source: www.rhs.org.uk. Continue to sow radishes throughout August
Have you considered a carpet of microgreen seeds for fast growing nutrition? If you haven’t grown them before, you can utilise any space by sowing seeds of many plants such as salads, herbs and brassicas then cut them when they are no taller than 10cm. The shoots can be eaten fresh, in salads, to garnish cooking or in smoothies. They are a quick turn around from seed to harvest in only 10 days to 3 weeks. If you are growing celery remember to earth them up to help thicken the stems ready for a morning celery juice or to pop in a salad or stew and it's a great way to maximise the undergrowth space of your Vegepod
Picture: Microgreens are a quick and easy way to get some nutritious greens harvested within just a few days.
What to Harvest
Your harvests should be coming thick and fast right now. From bags of runner beans and french beans, to the never ending courgettes (before they turn to marrows), celery, all the leafy greens and of course carrots in all shapes and sizes. Fruits such as raspberries and gooseberries plus redcurrants will be filling your veg basket.
Carrots can grow really well in the Vegepod and you should be harvesting lots of them now, along with spring onions, cucumbers, cucamelons and if you were lucky enough to avoid the blight earlier in the year - plenty of tomatoes too.
Picture: Always a favourite, tomatoes thrive in the Vegepod. Pick dwarf varieties if you want to keep tomato plants small and not overrun your Vegepod. Source: Vegepod Owners Group, Facebook
What to Cook
Beans can be top, tailed and stored in the freezer for over winter, beetroot can be pickled or made into a chocolate beetroot cake (as per previous month), fruit jams canned and healthy sauerkraut stored made from left over cabbage. It’s a busy time in the kitchen preparing and cooking all of your well earned harvests.
Picture: Carrots are a crowd favourite in the Vegepod. Grow them in the centre of each pod to ensure they grow straight and long. Source: Vegepod
Many vegetables are edible from root to leaf, such as carrots. It’s the lovely root vegetable we boil, stir fry, roast and eat raw but what about all of the wonderful green foliage? That is also edible too! It makes a superb pesto by simply blending some washed carrot tops with basil if you choose, but its perfectly great without it, some nutritional yeast, garlic, some fresh lemon juice and pine nuts. The gradually add some olive oil to make it your perfect pesto. It’s incredibly tasty and a great use of the whole carrot plant. Don’t forget to roast you carrots with a little olive oil, some seasoning and for a sweet treat add a little maple syrup over the top.