July In The Vegie Patch

July in the edible garden under the rootcrop cloche

These root crops were sown late autumn and the reason they’re growing like little rockets is because they’re cosy beneath a cloche. That plastic skin has warmed the soil to 13°, while outside the soil’s a mere 7°.

soil thermometer

A handy option if the gardener (that’s me), can see there won’t be enough carrots come spring. (Not all crops need this kind of attention. Kale, brocolli and peas are hardy as – they’d be insulted if you covered them up!)

Cloches are awesome (essential even, if you live somewhere that takes a while to warm up and is quick to cool down), but a greenhouse is next level. To have a warm, dry room to grow in (and a cosy escape!) is heavenly – the weather can do what it likes. When spring is wet and cold we’ll still be eating dwarf beans and cucumbers in December, when summer is cold and wet and the outside tomatoes fail – the inside ones thrive. As well as extending the season, it extends the range of crops – adding chillies, peppers and aubergines to our menu.

celery in june

Even in the depths of winter (this picture taken last week) we’re enjoying the tail end of autumn crops – peppers and tomatoes, as well as a regular supply of salads and leaf spot free celery all winter long. So to all of you who ask “Should I get a greenhouse?”. The answer is most definately “Yes!”

July’s Jobs

Its time to get creating – new beds, new roses and new trees. Get gathering too – plenty of organic matter to underpin next seasons vitality.

Create new gardens. Make it easy on yourself with a no dig beginning – there is no better start than a big pile of organic matter.

Divide herbs and perennials and spread them far and wide throughout your garden to increase your biodiversity, your homemade mulch supply and bee fodder.

Sort your seed stocks and make sure you have plenty of greencrops, flowers, greenhouse crops and spring crops because next month we get back into seed sowing.

Prune roses, berries and fruit trees.

Plant horseradish, rhubarb, globe artichokes, garlic, onions, asparagus, kale and salads (under cover).

Direct Sow peas, sno peas, broadbeans, spinach, mustard, radish and poppies. Legume greencrops can be sown after brassicas.

Get out your hoe (as long as your soil is not soggy) to weed and aerate. Winter soil looses it’s omph, translating to plants loosing their oomph. Air brings life, it does wonders.

Load up on manure, seaweed and other OM (organic matter) delights. Get ready to set some stunning soil in motion come spring.


  1. Congratulations on your medal. I must say that you certainly do deserve it. I say this because
    sometime ago I deleted my regular emails about gardening from other sources because I was getting bogged down. [no pun intended] Now by just keeping yours I have a much better guide as to which direction in which to head with our wee patch..
    I really look forward to Edible Backyard. I pour over them many times to gleam anything of help and interest and usually while enjoying a tea or coffee.
    A challenge for us is to try adapting some of the recipes as our household is grain free. It’s all good fun.

    Doreen Heron

  2. Natasha Parker says:

    Hi Kath. I live in Brooklyn and have a terraced west facing backyard. Great afternoon sun but wind to boot. I am interested in your thoughts on cloche or greenhouse options for a square terrace area that is 3m x 3m, exposed with 1m plus drop-offs either side. I really enjoy reading your posts. Thanks Natasha

  3. Kathleen Ing says:

    Just bubble warped our glasshouse for winter greens. We have very cold mornings/nights live in a valley near Motueka, have a short daylight day, but busting with winter greens. Something good from plastic!🤗

  4. Kevin Darragh says:

    You deserve a medal, which one were you awarded ? What workshops do you have coming up ? Do you have your scone recipe to share ?
    Fruit trees arrive Saturday.

    Thank you