Although there is still much to harvest in the vegetable garden, September is the month to start tidying up, prepare for the winter ahead and plan for next season. From planting for winter and spring vegetables to harvesting remaining crops, there is still plenty to do even in the smallest vegetable garden. So before you grab your trowel, take a few minutes to check this short reminder of some of the essential things to be getting on with in the vegetable garden during September.
Clear away any crops that have finished producing such as stumps of cabbage or pea crops and fork over the beds. Save the seeds from those varieties runner and climbing beans and tomatoes that you have enjoyed to sow next spring. Now is the time to plant out garlic in milder areas. Alternatively plant garlic bulbs in pots to transplant later. Also sow broad beans and hardy peas for early crops next year. Other seeds to be sowing this month include spring cabbage, winter radish, spinach and winter lettuces.
Check fruit such as apples, pears and plums regularly and pick as soon as they ripen. Finish pruning trained forms of apple and pear trees such as cordons and espaliers. Prune out those blackberry canes that have born fruit and tie in new shoots to supports. Make sure that autumn flowering blackberries and raspberries are covered with netting to protect them from hungry birds. Now is the time to take hardwood cuttings from fruit bushes such as blueberry and gooseberry. Dig up strawberry runners and plant up in pots.
Lift and dry main crop potatoes and onions and store in a sack in a cool, dry place. Continue to harvest crops such as sweet corn, beans and marrows. If you are brave enough to grow asparagus the end of September is the time to cut down the foliage to soil level. The end of the month is also time to dig up and store carrots. Make sure all remaining crops that may be susceptible to frost such as pumpkin, and squash are harvested before the end of the month. Those beds that have been forked over can be sown with a green manure which can be dug into the ground in the spring.
Cover tender herbs such as basil and coriander with cloches to protect them from the colder nights. Pot up a few herb plants such as parsley, mint and rosemary in garden planters and bring close to the house for easy access during the winter months.
Source: Jo Poultney