Knowing the best vegetables to plant in July is a must if you're keen to grow your own crops this season. Even if your veg patch is looking glorious right now, it's always worth thinking ahead to prepare for when the early summer harvests dwindle.
You might think that the sowing season is pretty much over, for now at least. So, it may come as a surprise to find that there are many tasty contenders that you can get going this month, as part of your raised garden bed ideas. Planting these will help you avoid any bare patches once the weather begins to cool. And, they'll reward you with edible and attractive goodies from autumn right up until spring.
Vegetables to plant in July: 10 delicious types to try
We've rounded up some of our favorite vegetables to plant in July. With these picks, you can keep those harvests coming in for many months to come.
Leafy chard is a delicious, nutrient-dense crop that is super versatile in the kitchen. And, it's easy to grow. As Guy Barter, Chief Horticulturalist for the RHS says for Easy Gardens magazine, you can sow it now for a crop in April with masses of fresh tender foliage.
Guy recommends to sow the seeds in rows 12in (30cm) apart. Thin the seedlings to 8in (20cm) between plants once they begin to emerge. 'Nitrogen-rich fertilizer in late winter will boost yield and quality,' he adds. Choose an open, sunny site, with rich, moisture-retentive, free-draining soil.
You can also treat them as cut-and-come-again crops – picking a few small leaves from each plant once they've grown at least 2in (5cm) tall to use in salads.
As well as the white and green types, there are plenty which have bright and colorful stems (try 'Bright Lights' for a show-stopping mix). Ranging from pink, red, yellow and orange, they will bring tons of ornamental appeal to your kitchen garden ideas, especially in winter when there's not much else going on. For best results, cover them with cloches when the cold weather comes around.
2. Spring cabbages
Want to grow more delicious leafy greens in your garden? You can also start to sow spring cabbages now, says Guy Barter for Easy Gardens.
Here's how to do it:
- Sow the seeds in cell trays or a seed bed in soil free of clubroot disease.
- Once large enough to handle, move the seedlings to their final positions in late September.
- Allow 12in (30cm) between rows and 6in (15cm) between plants when planting out.
- It's a good idea to keep the seedlings covered with fleece until October – this will deter cabbage root fly, which can be especially problematic in August.
- Add nitrogen-rich fertilizer in late winter for a bumper crop.
- Thin out alternate plants in spring, leaving the rest to develop.
Guy suggests to try 'First Early Market' or 'Wintergreen' varieties for open, spicy-flavored greens that are ideal for stir-fries. You can also try the old favorite 'Durham Early' – a reliable grower which will be ready to harvest in February.
Our guide on how to grow cabbage has more useful tips.
The simple carrot is a staple in kitchens – from crunchy coleslaws to delicious stocks for hearty stews. And, ones grown at home are far superior than the kinds you find on the supermarket shelf. They simply had to make our list of the top vegetables to plant in July, especially if you pick robust varieties which will tolerate winter soils (such as 'Autumn King').
Lucy Chamberlain, Fruit and Veg Expert from Amateur Gardening, says that she's sown drills of carrots in late July or early August for years, and it works a treat. 'The roots grow quickly in the warm summer soil,' she says, and by late September, they'll have reached a perfectly petite size that makes an ideal addition to roast dinners and casseroles. They won't get much larger due to the cooler temperatures, but can provide a healthy harvest right up until March.
These step-by-step tips will help you get your carrot seeds off to a flying start:
- Make a drill in the soil and water thoroughly before sowing.
- Keep the area well watered until seedlings emerge.
- Cover rows with insect-proof mesh held away from the foliage with wire hoops to protect the crops from carrot fly.
- Insulate the roots with a mulch of straw just before frost hits.
You can find more advice on how to grow carrots in our dedicated guide.
You may have sown peas way back in spring, in which case you'll already be plucking their sweet pods for use in summer salads. If you're quick, there's still time to plant a final lot of seeds to enjoy before the frosts.
- Pick a weed-free position on moist, fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. If your soil is acidic, then the RHS suggests to add lime before sowing.
- Direct sow your pea seeds into flat bottomed drills at a distance of 2in (5cm) apart, and 1 1/2in (4cm) deep, as recommends Thompson & Morgan. Allow a distance of 30in (75cm) between rows.
- Keep the plants well watered and supported with canes or sturdy twigs.
There are lots of varieties which yield delicious results, but here are some of our top pea picks:
- 'Terrain' – a brilliantly performing pea that's resistant to both downy and powdery mildew and offers a delicious harvest right up until the first heavy frosts. Each slightly curved pods holds around 7-8 peas, with two pods per node. The plants will grow to a height of 36in (90cm).
- 'Lusaka' – a deliciously sweet, sugarsnap variety with stringless pods. They can be grown in pots as part of your patio gardening ideas.
- 'Sweet Horizon' – a thin-skinned mangetout with good mildew resistance that can keep providing until October. Due to its size, it's an ideal contender if you're after vegetables to plant in July that are suitable for small plots.
5. Dwarf French beans
If you planted some earlier in the year, you may have noticed that dwarf French beans, whilst quick to grow, will only crop for a few weeks. This is different to climbing French beans, which can keep cropping happily until September.
So, if you want one last round of dwarf French beans before the cold weather hits, it's time to get sowing. It's simple: just plant the seeds directly into warm, fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny spot. It's best to space them about 6in (15cm) apart, so they can support one another. As the RHS suggests, when the plants are flowering and fruiting, water them well, especially during dry spells. Mulching the base with well-rotted manure will help to hold moisture in the soil.
'Stanley' is a reliable, heavy-cropping variety to try. Our guide on how to grow French beans has more useful tips.
6. Pak choi
If you love cooking with Asian flavors, pak choi is a must-have for your list of vegetables to plant in July. In fact, if you plant the seeds any earlier, they're more likely to bolt.
- Sow your pak choi seeds thinly in short drills in sunny, fertile soil.
- Keep them watered as the seedlings emerge and throughout August – the plants will quickly bulk up.
- Thin them out as they grow to prevent overcrowding. If you just want to grow them for baby leaves, then they won't need much space between each. Plus, you'll only need to wait around 30 days from sowing to harvest.
- If you're planning on growing them to a more mature size, then aim to thin them so that they're 10–12in apart (25–30cm). They will take around 45–75 days to be ready for picking, as says the RHS.
As well as the standard green and white types, you can also find purple-leaved varieties – try 'F1 Rubi'.
If you've already checked out our ultimate guide on growing radishes, you'll know that these veggies are a breeze. They've even made the list of our best plants for beginners. And July is a great time to sow them from seed.
Make sure you thin them out early for the best results, and keep watering them frequently, especially if it's hot outside. Expect to harvest the crunchy red (or white or purple) globes in as little as a month. How's that for a quick turnaround?
If you've been learning how to grow leeks, you probably sowed your seeds back in spring into seed beds away from your main vegetable patch, or in pots. Now, as long as they are about a pencil-width in thickness, it's time to plant them out.
They do best in open ground, which has been well dug with plenty of compost or well-rotted manure. As they grow, gradually mound up the soil around the stems (but avoid the leaves) – this will increase the length of the sweeter white section.
There are a few pesky problems to be aware of when growing these veggies:
- Leek rust – identified by bright orange and yellow patches on the leaves, this disease is more common during extended periods of rain. Serious bouts can affect the harvest. To try to prevent it, avoid overcrowding plants. Dispose of any that are badly affected.
- Leek moth – occurs mainly in the UK, whereby caterpillars tunnel into the leaves causing damage and rot. Remove infested plants, and try covering with horticultural fleece to keep moths away. For more advice on deterring pesky insects, take a look at our guide on how to get rid of aphids.
- Onion white rot – a soil-borne fungus which will rot the roots and wilt the foliage. Unfortunately there is no cure – but if you spot it be careful; it's easily spread via tools or even your shoes.
Lettuce is a stalwart of the vegetable plot and is simple to grow. You can plant the seeds from March all the way up until September for a steady supply that's perfect for fresh salads and sandwiches. Sow straight into sunny, moisture-retentive soil and thin out the seedlings as they emerge. If you fancy growing vegetables in pots, lettuces make a good choice – just remember to keep on top of watering.
'When sowing in summer, bear in mind that high soil temperatures can prevent some cultivars from germinating,' says the RHS. So if the weather is particularly warm, sow your lettuce seeds in the evening, water them with cold water and provide some shade for best results.
Thompson & Morgan recommends the 'All The Year Round' variety, which can be sown every three weeks for a continuous supply.
10. Florence fennel
Florence fennel has large, creamy-colored bulbs which are delicious when roasted with butter and seasoning, offering a subtle aniseed flavor. Its feathery leaves are also edible and make good garnishes for salads.
Sow the seeds now, directly into the ground, as thinly as you can. This veggie likes warm, moist, sandy soils best. Opt for bolt-resistant varieties, such as 'Cantino' or 'Colossal'.
Keep well-watered and regularly feed with a high potassium fertilizer. As the bulbs begin to grow, mound the soil around them – this will help to protect them from autumn frosts. They're usually ready to harvest when they're around 3–4in wide (7–10cm).
Can you plant potatoes in July?
Most people plant their potatoes in March–April. However, if you fancy growing your own roasties for comforting winter meals (or even your Christmas lunch) this year, you can plant them in July or even August.
You need to use cold-stored potato tubers, as advises the RHS. These are available from specialist seed merchants. 'Charlotte' and 'Maris Peer' are good choices and won't need to be chitted before planting in a trench. Remove the foliage for composting after it dies down in early fall. They should take around 12 weeks until they're ready to harvest.
If you want to keep them in the ground until Christmas, and your garden is sheltered with light soil, you can simply pile earth followed by a layer of straw over the potatoes. In colder, wetter areas, it's best to lift them at the end of October and re-bury in soil or coarse sand in a frost-free place until you want to use them.
Our guide on how to grow potatoes has lots more tips.
More top tips for growing vegetables in July
As well as getting all your new veggies off to a good start, there's plenty of maintenance to do for those that have already reached their prime.
- Don't forget to water your fruit and vegetable crops daily if the weather is warm. It's good to keep them continuously moist. If you've got a summer holiday coming up, our guide on watering plants while away will come in useful.
- Keep picking courgettes when they are still small and sweet, otherwise they'll quickly turn into marrows.
- Pinch out side shoots on tomatoes and feed the plants with diluted tomato fertilizer once a week (or more if the leaves start to yellow).
- Keep clearing away weeds – they'll happily sap away the nutrients from the soil. Our guide on how to get rid of weeds is full of practical advice.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day!
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