July in the Vegetable Plot

You might be forgiven for thinking I had stopped growing things altogether because a combination of bad weather and illness meant my poor garden has been some-what neglected but finally July is here and I can give you my July Vegetable Plot update.

Finally things are started to grow ,well some are at least. I think I have to implement my Slug Wars approach as my poor plants are bearing the brunt of the slug invasion.
I am sad to say my cucamelons haven’t made it. I have re-potted some more indoors to see if I can finally get some of these wonderful plants to flourish – you can read about my unusual veggies here.

In better news my strawberry popcorn is growing a pace and I have planted it out in the garden,they say wait until it is knee high, which it was. I hope the improved weather will mean it gets as high as an elephants eye ( for you musical fans ) now it is outside.
 I have under-planted it with french beans and butternut squash, the beans should climb the corn and in turn give nitrogen to the soil and the butternut squash should keep the roots of the beans and the corn cool – it is called the 3 sister method and is native american way of growing these crops.

The tomatoes are growing well – and some are setting fruit, these are a yellow variety and the plum tomatoes are flowering as well, which I am happy about.

Here 5 tips to get a great crop of tomatoes

  • keep them well watered but not to wet – to avoid splitting and blight.
  • Water at the roots and mulch to keep the water in the soil
  • feed with organic tomato feed or an Epsom salt mix for sweeter tomatoes 
  • pick when they are ripe to encourage more fruit.
  • watch out for pests and disease

The peas are growing really well this year, I got a variety from Sutton seeds especially for small spaces called Onwards and they are covered in pods and flowering. I have planted them successively every couple of weeks to have a continuing supply. They are sweet and juicy and nothing taste like peas from the pod.

The micro-salad did well although they suffered the most from patchy watering while I was laid up in hospital. I lost a few but they are back to full health now and I pick them daily to make up my lunch and it keeps them producing leaves.

We also have lettuce growing individually which are doing well I have been growing these under cloches, which I put on them in the evening which seems to deter the slugs evening devouring of them.

The potatoes are about ready to be pulled up as they are flowering I hope we get a good haul this year but they seem to be doing really well – mind you you never know what is going on with them until you pull them out.

The scallions are doing great and I still pop out my scallion scraps as well -read all about growing from scraps HERE it can save a lot of money 🙂

 My Chili plant which I chopped back last year has yet again started producing peppers and like the tomatoes I gave it an Epsom salt feed when it started setting fruit.
 We  have picked ten chili’s so far since June.

Last but not least it is Elderberry flower season here in Cavan and they are in bloom all over our town.
 In fact they grow so readily I am wondering why I haven’t got one in my garden and now it the best time to get a cutting and plant it in a 50/50 mix of grit and soil and leave in a shady corner,which I plan on doing when I am out with the puppy today.
Anyway I headed out the other day with my puppy on the lead and a basket in my hand and brought home lots of lovely flowers, which smell divine and made up some lovely Elderflower Cordial which is so easy and like summer in a bottle.

Elderflower Cordial Recipe 

Ingredients
  • 1k /2 ¼ lbs sugar
  • 1.5 litres / 6 cups boiling water
  • 2 medium lemons, washed and an Orange
  • 30 large Elderflower heads, shake to remove any insects
  • 55g / 2 oz citric acid (available from a chemist)

The How to Bit 

1. Inspect the elderflower heads carefully and remove any bugs. Place the flower heads in a large bowl together with the orange and lemon zest.
2. Bring 1.5 litres water to the boil and pour over the elderflowers and citrus zest. Cover and leave overnight to infuse.
3.Strain the liquid through a scalded jelly bag or piece of muslin and pour into a saucepan. Add the sugar, the lemon and orange juice and the citric acid (if using).
4. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes.
5. Use a funnel to pour the hot syrup into sterilised bottles. Seal the bottles with swing-top lids, sterilised screw-tops or corks.
Use to make a fresh summer drink or make refreshing ice-lollies or drizzle over fresh fruit.

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