A Time to Sow6th August 2018 • Timely Advice • Stephanie Donaldson
The next month is the time to get on with sowing seeds if you want to extend the growing season with fresh herbs, autumn and winter salads as well as perpetual spinach and chard. It is essential to get on with sowing before light levels and temperatures drop and days shorten – after that leafy crops either fail to germinate, damp off, or concentrate on growing strong root systems and save leaf production for next spring. I’m going to have a go at growing red-leaved and green chicory this winter and am going to root watercress (from a bunch bought at the greengrocer’s) to grow in a pot that I will stand in a deep saucer of water in the greenhouse. This is a method recommended by garden designer Bunny Guinness. I love the idea of picking my own watercress.
Sow some flat leaf parsley now and it will germinate quickly and grow to full size plants before autumn takes hold. You can leave it outdoors and cover it with a cloche in really cold weather, or bring a plant or two undercover for winter.
Sowings of coriander, chervil and basil grow rapidly right now and provide lots of herbs to accompany the courgette and tomato glut! I’m in the middle of potting up the young plants from a sowing earlier in the month. And I’m also making regular sowings of salad rocket – you can never have enough rocket. Once it cools down a bit I will swap to growing wild rocket for autumn eating.
If you do sow lettuce seed, you will need to put it in a cool place to germinate – above 19º they remain dormant.