My July kitchen garden update
July is always a productive time in a kitchen garden or on an allotment, and this year it’s been especially good, mainly due to the warm weather and bright sunshine. I can’t take too much credit for the the good crops because I started the season a bit late and have fewer plants than last year, but I have been keeping on top of the watering and weeding which has probably helped somewhat.
Since the last update we’ve picked all the cherries, having only lost one or two to the birds and the odd snail. The fruits have all been washed, pitted, and eaten or processed. Half went into pie fillings, some of which are in the freezer, and the remainder was turned into cherry vanilla compote and stored away for a treat to be eaten on winter evenings. We’ve also had a decent crop of rhubarb, which perked up a lot after being given some liquid feed, but it’s time to stop picking that so it can recover before going dormant.
There have been a few strawberries too, although these plants are a few years old and will need to be replaced at the end of the season. I found an offer on a new variety of strawberry plant from T&M, so I might take a risk with a few of those as you can currently get 10 plants for £6.99 and if they live up to their claims then they’ll pay for themselves in less than a year.
The rest of the garden is doing pretty well, with good crops of lettuce, rocket, radishes and other salad veg, and lots of cucumbers. We’ve also had some of the spring greens / pointed cabbages, plus a few french beans and sugar snap peas, and it won’t be long before the broccoli gets going, so our meals have been fresh and healthy and that’s set to continue for the next few weeks.
We’ve also had a handful of raspberries ripening every day or so, and I’ve been putting them into desserts and breakfast smoothies. If they start to crop heavily I’ll be able to start freezing a few too, or making some conserves with them.
The sun loving plants are just getting started, giving us the first few tomatoes, courgettes and chillies, but most of them have some way to go yet so I’m hoping they start feeding us properly in August. Meanwhile we’ve hardly bought any fruit and vegetables from the shops this month, apart from a few potatoes and onions, and I’m hoping it stays that way for the rest of the season.
Are you growing any fruit, vegetables or herbs this year? What’s saved you the most money, and what was your best investment?
This year I’m growing potatoes, onions, chives, courgettes, peppers and tomatoes. Have already eaten several courgettes which are not mushy when cooked, unlike shop bought which my family don’t like! I’ve had a few little tomatoes but there are hundreds more to come. These were very cheap – 3 plants for £1 bought from a neighbour, but some were grown from slices of cherry tomatoes that I planted – satisfyingly successful! I’m looking forward to harvesting the potatoes and onions which should feed us throughout winter. The best bit is that there’s no carbon footprint and no packaging to dispose of 🙂
Hi Fiona! You’re lucky you managed to get those cherry tomato slices to germinate, most people have to ferment the pulp off the seeds first before they’ll grow. You must have very green fingers! Sounds like you’re going to be getting lots of delicious crops this season and beyond.
Hi – I’m having luck with tomatoes. Lots of green ones all ready to ripen. The courgettes were hit & miss with several rotting while they were still tiny. Presumably they weren’t happy with my erratic watering of containers. I tend to either flood ’em or subject them to drought …
The strawberries were very productive for a while. I bought 4 or 5 plants for a fiver last year, and had handfuls of berries for breakfast each morning for weeks. Plus they’re now sending out runners to make new plants. Yay! Very cost effective.
I think the best money saver is probably herbs. Thyme was really easy to grow from seed, as were chives and dill but rosemary and sage I bought as established plants. But they’re still very cheap compared to those bags of pre-prepared herbs you find in supermarkets. Oh, and I reckon it’s worth sowing poppies and sunflowers. Poppy seed for baking, and sunflower seeds for bird food. Best wishes Val
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