Growing vegetables has been difficult this year in the UK for many people due to the unusually high temperatures. Sowing some new Late Summer Vegetables might be more productive than those already growing.
Late summer vegetables will still have the heat of summer, and warm soils, plus shorter days mean less soil water evaporation and less pests and diseases. Also the chances of rain to water them is more likely. September and early October are often warm sunny months and really an extension of summer, and this may suit many crops if you sow in July.
The crops to consider are beetroots, carrots, lettuce and salad leaves, runner beans, french beans, peas, Swiss chard, spring onions, radish and Christmas New Potatoes.
As the day length is getting shorter from know on it’s worth selecting seed varieties that crop in shorter periods. For example with Peas, choose those that are short growing and called ‘early variety’. Carrots and beetroots you will pick younger so the individual size may be smaller but you don’t need to thin the seedlings as much as spring sown crops. Also select carrot varieties that are shorter rather than the long typical Sunday roast types, although it might be worth sowing a row to see how well they perform.
Sowing directly into you garden or allotment soil is perfect but you must keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate. Less regular watering can take place once they are growing rapidly. Watering is still important : Read our tips here
Think about keeping the new sowings covered with white fleece to protect from the harsh sun and keep pests off. Garden cloches are worth using to support the fleece. Later in September you can replace the fleece with polythene to act a greenhouse to ‘produce’ more heat in early October.
Runner beans and French beans are more produce the crop in the slightly cooler days in September. the flowers ‘set’ better in the cooler days and bees are very active.
Lettuce and salad leaves can still be sown two weeks apart until the middle of September to giveyou a longer period of young tender leaves. Look out for slugs and snails in the cooler wetter conditions. There are many safe controls available to use with food crops and you.
Have a go as late sowing and reap the benefits of the cooler days of September and October.