July 2015: What to plant

Our early tomatoes are just a few weeks away from harvesting.
Our early tomatoes are just a few weeks away from harvesting.

Pardon the cliche, but I really can’t believe it’s almost July already. On Saturday morning, while picking an overwhelming amount of peas, I thought back to March and the excitement I had when I first planted this year’s seeds. Would they sprout? Would I get a decent harvest? It seemed to take forever for those plants to start growing. I visualized a harvest big enough to really supply us with lots of juicy sweet peas, and hoped it would come. Fast forward to the early summer, when I’m beset with an enormous yield from our few plants. Harvesting them all, and making them into this simple but time-consuming soup, is exhausting. I’m kind of looking forward to pulling the plants out in a week or two.

It’s been hot here. A kind of hot that I’ve almost never experienced in Vancouver. Last year came close, but 2015 brings an intensity that makes me wish for our cool, rainy norm. Of course, by the time October comes around, I’ll be wishing for our 30 degrees celsius sunshine. Funny how that works.

July in the garden is all about preparing for winter, and reaping the benefits of your work. Here are my crucial garden tasks for July:

  • Start my winter garden. For me, that means planting big crops, like winter kale, cilantro and cauliflower, in small flats, along with weekly successions of arugula, scallions, lettuce and mesclun greens. By seeding into flats rather than directly into the garden, I’ll be able to use my garden space and water more efficiently. Beets and carrots, which don’t like to be transplanted, will go straight into their beds.
  • Review my garden plan. As I switch into winter gardening mode, I’ll do a quick review of my garden plan to see where I’m at and any course corrections that might need to be made.
  • Harvest garlic and potatoes and pull out our pea plants. Our garlic and pea plants have begun their natural process of drying out and turning yellow. Once our garlic is half-way dead (in about a week), it will be time to harvest. Meanwhile, our pea plants have stopped making flowers and production is slowing down, so they’ll need to come out and make way for more greens. Our potatoes are a ways away from being ready, but once they start to die back, I’ll get out my shovel and dig for them.
  • Start harvesting tomatoes and zucchinis. Within a week, I’ll have harvestable zucchinis and will be scrambling to figure out what to do with them all. Remind me, why do I plant these garden monsters? Our tomatoes will be ready soon, too — always an exciting moment.

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