However, I now realise I was short-sighted and guilty of giving the beans some preferential treatment.
July and August is indeed a great time to sow French beans, but it is also ripe for getting many other seeds out there in the sun-kissed summer soil.
Here are some suggestions if you’re itching to do some August sowing.
Perpetual Spinach and Chard
A sowing now of these leafy, cut and come again greens should see you in crops for the whole of winter. They’re incredibly easy to grow and very hardy.
The seeds are best sown straight into the ground, where they will germinate within a week this time of year. Thin out to a few inches apart and keep watered until established.
I like to start spring greens off in pots during August and September, to transplant when 15cm or so high. I sow seeds every couple of weeks, so to get a staggered harvest towards between January and March.
Hispi and January King are my favourites, having always found them reliable and hardy.
I always find a handful of crispy spring cabbage leaves very welcome during the lean winter times.
Oriental Salad Greens (pictured)
I have grown these spiky, peppery salad leaves for the past 4 winters, and I can’t recommend them enough. They taste delicious, and being cut and come again, are hardy enough to keep you in salad well into winter.
Normally, the only thing to kill these toughies in the snow, but now I’ve got a greenhouse I’ll be making an undercover sowing in Autumn.
Serifon, Green in Snow, Mibuna, and Mizuna are all varieties I’d recommend and can be purchased from Tamar Organics.
The good old radish is a humble but brilliant vegetable. I’ve sown radish successfully in Spring, Summer, and Autumn, and as a quick-growing crop, you’ve nearly always got time to squeeze sowing in.
I prefer the spherical radish varieties. Sparkler is my favourite, but I’d also recommend the very pretty Scarlet Globe that I’ve grown this year.
Much like radishes, spring onions are useful three-season veg. Sown direct, there is no need for thinning.
I sow pak choi in August as it isn’t a big fan of the heat, so early sowings can often bolt. By August the days are getting shorter, and I’ve experienced better results by waiting.
When I’m growing pak choi, I sow into small pots of multi-purpose compost rather than directly into the ground. Once they’re about 10 – 15cm high, I plant the pak choi out in rows, 25cm or so apart.
They’ve only got small roots, so will need regular watering, but the plants are hardy and will happily sit in the ground into winter.
I like growing the marvellously named Joi Choi.
Potatoes for Christmas
Potatoes for Christmas is a traditional allotmenteering challenge, which involves planting an early variety such as Swift, with the hope of harvesting spuds on Christmas Day.
Plant and earth up as normal, but cover with fleece if frost is expected. You can also try Christmas potatoes in containers, and move undercover if temperatures get too cold.
Peas and Mangetout
I keep sowing peas and mangetout into August and have harvested as late as October in previous years.
I like Kelvedon Wonder for peas and Oregon Sugar Pod for mangetout. Oregon Sugar Pod is fairly compact and grows well in a container, so can be moved undercover if you’ve got a greenhouse.