Vegetable Garden Tasks In September Are Enjoyed Against a Background of Mellow Misty Mornings, Apple Harvest & Blackberry Picking. It Can Be a Busy Time As We Harvest & Prepare For the Autumn & Winter.
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Vegetable Garden Tasks In September are amongst my favourites. It’s a wonderful time of year that consumes to reward us for past efforts and provides great promise of autumn and winter crops. It’s a time when I’m sowing modules for winter crops in my unheated greenhouse where each winter I harvest 25-30 types of fresh nutritious leaf crops.
Sowing Seed: One Of The Most Important Vegetable Garden Tasks In September?
There are so many plants that can be sown in September. Some for harvesting next spring or summer and some that can be harvested in a few weeks time. Because even now, as light and warmth diminishes, growth is good. Especially in the first two weeks of the month.
In my part of England the day length on September 1st is around 13.5 hours per day. By September 30th it reduces to around 11.5 hours per day. That’s roughly 2 hours less sunlight each day than at the begining of the month. “The nights are drawing in” at this time of year. So make the best use you can of warmth and daylight in September.
Now is a good time to sow green manures and cover crops that will improve the soil in som many ways.
You can also …
*Plant onion sets
*Sow winter salads for planting outdoors
Clearing September Crops
Many crops are now tailing off. So clear the ground where they are spent and no longer productive. Where you can leave the roots in the ground as they contribute to the soil flora and fauna and are an essential part of the soil structure.
As you clear the ground you can plant new crops. Peas can be sown and some of the oriental leaves planted as module raised plants for example.
September Composting & Soil Feeding
As plants are removed and the soil laid bare now is the time to add a good layer of compost over manure. I’m no dig myself so I leave it on top the soil for the worms to take down. The digging fraternity may well start digging in compost in September. Personally I’d rather let the worms do it but everyone to their own preference.
The great thing about composting now is that the nutrients will slowly integrate into he soil where they become bound too the soil particles (Adsorbed is the technical word of rot) and will be there for the plants in spring.
I often hear about nutrients being leached out over winter, but though a very small amount might be from compost, it is an extremely small amount and there is no need to sheet down vegetable plots. It leaves them impoverished and drier than they should be. And after this summers drought /I hope people will think twice about excluding the rain.
Lastly regarding composting, don’t be discouraged from adding compost where crops are growing. It’s quite easy to add a layer of compost to growing crops such as leeks and brassicas. Nad it’l feed them as it gets incorporated over winter. That means the bed is then ready for instant planting in spring or whenever the crop is removed.
September Footpath and Hedge Tasks
Whilst feeding your beds give a thought to the footpaths as well. Now is a goods time to add wood chip or bark to them. This not only provides a mud free walkway but as it breaks down the soil fungi and bacteria can access the nutrients. And as the soil enriches the roots of plants in the beds are able to root under the paths and gain much needed nourishment. The space above the path is also available for the plants in the beds and enable them to access just a bit more light. Every extra bit of light, moisture and nutrient gives us better crops.
Now’s a good time to cut hedges. The birds have finished raising young, even the second broods will have finished. Regrowth will be minimal ion cut now, unlike if you had cut in August when significant new growth could have resulted.
Planting in September; Indoors and Out
I’ve written detailed posts on what to sow in August and September and ow is the time to plant some of these crops either in open ground, under cloches or in the greenhouse or polytunnel. Many plants added to the September greenhouse will crop all winter. Eg. lettuce that can be harvested leaf by leaf. Ditto mizuna, mibuna, baby kale, coriander, parsley, and a host of other salad leaf crops.
Over winter ensure you have a few module raised plants to substitute for any of the crops that start to falter. This way you will have successional harvesting all winter. And don’t be put off by the thought of frost and snow. In many parts of the country the weather is quite warm enough for some growth most months in an unheated greenhouse. Most of these crops are far more frost tolerant than most people think. Admittedly I am lucky enough to live in a mild area. But even when I lived in the Midlands I managed to grow many crops like this. And further north many people benefit from the Gulf Stream or the relative warmth of cities.
September Irrigation Tasks
If September is wet no watering will be needed outside. And inside we can stat to reduce water to tomatoes and some other vine crops as their growing is now slowing down.
Outside some crops can benefit greatly from watering. Crops such as leeks are very responsive to extra water, especially if they have been dry over August and July. Its a good time to water as the soil is still warm, the days still low sufficient length and the plants still responsive to water. Crops such as leeks can put on a lot of growth during September.
Compost Heaps Tasks in September
If you’ve been adding organic matter to your compost bin since spring, and haven’t turned it at all, now would be a good time. It’s still warm and the heap can warm up and go through the next stage of decomposition.
Tidy the Garden in September
September is a good month to tidy up. I’m not in favour of being overtly. I like to leave some flower stalks and tall growth in place until spring as they are places where beneficial insects overwinter. But a general tidy up of pots, seed trays and all the other gardening paraphernalia makes sense.
September Pruning Jobs
Bush fruit such as gooseberries, redcurrants, whitecurrants and blackcurrants can be pruned in September in somer parts of the country. So can summer fruiting raspberries. But much depends on the weather as they are best pruned when unlikely to make new growth until spring.
I tend to avoid pruning apples, pears, cherries and similar this early in the autumn, even if they were to lose their leaves. Prune too early and they will often try to make new growth, which is then soft for the winter and will be killed off. Winter pruning works for some trees but its too early for this in September.
Plants such as lemongrass and chives are plants that can be divided in September. It’s warm enough of rhyme to get established in their new beds to pots and to make some growth before the cold strikes. Most clumping plants can be divided now.
I also take perennial kale cuttings now. Take sturdy stems, reduce the leaves back to almost nothing and post into a moisture tentative but free draining compost. Keep them in a sheltered spot, out of direct sunlight and they will root quite quickly in September. I then plant them outside in early spring once its warmer. Over winter I keep them in an unheated greenhouse,, in a cold frame or even under a hedge where they will be protected enough to keep growing. Some people however plant the kale in their final beds as soon as they are rooted. Much depends on your location and climate.
Sit Back And Enjoy Your Garden
Don’t just spend all your time working in the garden. Spend time just sitting, strolling around it and enjoying it. I love doing this with q glass of wine in my hand. How will you do it?
That’s it for Vegetable Garden Tasks In September
There’s a sowing guide for September sowings if you follow the link.
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