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Late Summer Sowing
Late Summer Sowing in your VegTrug 
 
Soon after midsummer I found my VegTrug had run out of steam. I had harvested the broad beans and the wild rocket was past its best. My black kale had been terrific, but was now overcrowded and over picked. The short rooted carrots were at their best, so we made the most of them. Rather than trying to salvage bits and pieces I went for a major clear out. I wanted the space to do some summer sowing to reboot the VegTrug for late summer and autumn, and hopefully into winter. Too many VegTrugs remain empty from late summer through to the following spring. What a waste of cropping potential! 
 
I removed most of the broad beans, but kept some that were shooting from the base. These I cut back to see if they would grow and recrop. Plenty of time to hook them out and plant something else if it doesn’t work. I kept the bush runner beans ‘Hestia’. These were stll flowering and producing a few beans and without competition from everything else they should do better. 
 
I then removed the top layer of growing medium (about 15cm, 6” where possible). This I replenished with fresh potting mix. It is important to choose one that is suitable for seed sowing. I must admit to being disappointed with the germination and subsequent growth of some seeds in multi-purpose compost that contains a high proportion of peat substitute, even if it is supposed to be suitable for seed sowing. If it doesn’t say it’s good for seeds, make a large seed drill than normal, fill with seed compost and sow into that. 
 
So far I’ve sowed spinach. This is an F1 variety that is bolt resistant. However the cooler weather should be much better for spinach: it hates high temperature and dry conditions; that’s when it runs to seed. I also sowed Pak Choi. This germinates quickly and although I’ve sowed it fairly thinly, I will thin it again and use the thinnings in salads. This is a really useful fast-maturing leaf vegetable that’s great in stir fries. I also sowed rocket and assorted mustards for salad leaves. Again these will enjoy the cooler temperatures. 
 
Regular watering is really important for good germination. It’s also a good idea to protect seedlings from bird damage by floating a piece of horticultural fleece over the surface after sowing. This can be left in place as the seedlings grow and it works as a floating mulch. You can pop a few nature friendly slug pellets under the fleece too, just in case any slugs or snails find their way in. 
 
I’ve still got space for some chard seedlings, which I’ve raised in the open ground and will transplant. Chard has such a long season through autumn and into winter; it’s versatile too for salads and as a leaf vegetable.