Daylight hours are long and temperatures high so everything planted so far for Christmas dinner should be coming on quite nicely now. Hopefully you have managed to keep things well watered and free from pests and diseases.

Keep inspecting plants for cabbage  white butterflies and if found blast off with spray from a hose and cover with a micromesh net.

Leeks should be coming on now and to maintain the length of the white stem ensure to place soil around the plants as they grow. Be careful to not allow soil to drop between leaves and ensure they are watered well during dry periods.

Sprouts should also be watered regularly and may require fertiliser now and additional support around the end of stems towards the end of the month.

August Planting

There are few vegetables that taste better when they are home grown than carrots. Freshly pulled, sweet and full of favour compared to what can be bland and watery 'shop bought' versions. You don't need to stick to traditional orange either. There are purple, yellow and white varieties to try and many shapes and

sizes as well. Early August is the last chance to transplant carrot seedlings. They require light soil which is not rich. Protect from carrot fly with a Micromesh Pest & Wind Barrier and water well in dry weather.

Carrots should be ready to harvest in mid-Autumn.  Store in a box of sand or dry potting compost with the foliage cut down to 1cm and make sure the carrots are not touching. Stored in this way they should last throughout the winter. To find more about growing carrots from seed read our earlier blog here.

Beetroots can be planted out towards the end of this month and are great for their edible roots as well as their tender leaves. They can be sown in the ground or in a veg planter Or why not try setting up a simple Raised Bed? All the convenience of a container - just fill it and go, no digging - but the space of a garden bed. When the seedlings are about 1" (2.5cm) high, thin out to leaving the seedlings 4" (10cm) apart Water every 10-14 days in dry spells. If plants are not growing strongly, apply high nitrogen fertiliser, such as sulphate of ammonia, and water in well.

Potatoes can be grown almost all year round so growing particularly for Christmas is all about timing. August planting should work perfectly.  They can be grown in potato planters or directly and can be

grown from seed or from spring tubers. If growing in planters pour about 5cm of good multipurpose compost into the bottom. Place your seed potatoes (3 or 4 per planter) onto the soil making sure that your chits are facing upwards. Cover with a further 5cm of compost, water and wait. When the shoots have reached 10cm pour more soil into the planter until the tips of the plants are just covered. Keep the soil moist and continue to cover as the shoots grow. Main-crop potatoes benefit from a nitrogenous fertiliser around the time of the second earthing up.