In high summer there are crops to sow to give a quick and easy harvest of the most tender and tasty food.
Gardeners with their wits about them don’t sit back and think they’re all done when the burst of spring seed sowing is over. Spring sown crops will be ready to harvest from late spring through to next year, but even in high summer there are crops to sow to give a quick and easy harvest of the most tender and tasty food before winter sets in. But it’s important not only to choose the right crop, but the right variety.
Relish root vegetables
There’s no point sowing large-rooted maincrop carrots in June and July - they’re just not quick enough. Better to sow a variety that fattens up quickly, like ‘Amsterdam Forcing 3’, or one of the round-rooted types such as ‘Parmex’, which are also quick growing.
The same applies to turnips: quick-growing varieties which can be pulled at golf-ball size for a tender and tasty root to steam or grate raw in salads are so much more valuable in summer than slower varieties that mature to a larger size. So choose ‘Tiny Pal’ (top) or ‘Market Express’.
Some varieties of kohlrabi (right) have that same combination of speed, flavour and tenderness: ‘Kolibri’, in purple and ‘Korist’, in white, stand out.
We all know that radishes are quick, and ‘French Breakfast 3’, ‘Sparkler 3’ or the pink-rooted ‘Pink Beauty’ will all crop in just a few weeks. And salad options to go with them: ‘Elody’ can be pulled almost all year round, while ‘Guardsman’ will be ready about 50 days after sowing.
We also need some leafy vegetables. Among lettuce choose ‘Little Gem’ and related varieties including ‘Little Gem Delight’, ‘Little Gem Pearl’ and the red-leaved ‘Amaze’ and ‘Rivale’. While for Pak Choi, summer is the only time to sow to avoid bolting, which is so common with spring sown crops. Try ‘Ivory’ (right) and ‘Red Choi’, both of which can be picked when quite small or left to mature.
In summer, of course, drought is often a problem so regular watering may be needed to keep plants growing quickly. Weeds will grow quickly too, of course, in warm and moist conditions so keep them controlled.
Find out more on crops you can grow all year round in our Grow Your Own section