September's guide offers information on compost heaps, planting daffs and various other little jobs. For quick reference look for the jobs in bold black and necessary tools and equipment in blue.
Unless we are lucky enough to have an Indian summer, it is now officially early autumn and subsequently time to harvest to your heart’s content, if only so you can send proper veg' to your kids' harvest festival assembly and show up all those parents who sent them along clutching tins of Italian tomatoes from Waitrose.
You will be harvesting lots of stuff, beetroot, carrots, runner beans, lettuce, summer radishes onions, peas, spring onions, cabbage, leeks, cauliflowers, potatoes, turnips, tomatoes … I feel a large bowl of warming soup coming on.
Follow the same advice we gave in July. Let onions dry out thoroughly before you store them…in fact this is a vital tip for all crops. Store in a cool, dry, preferably dark place. If you store your spuds in sacks, make sure they are dry and lightproof, you don’t want them sprouting all over the place.
Then it's time to clear any foliage which is left over from your crops and, therefore if you don’t have one already, time to start a compost heap with all the vegetation. You’ll need a good fork for this that is ideal for turning over and forking compost.
And if you haven’t got one already, this is a very good time to be thinking about a good quality shredder in order to be breaking up twigs, branches and other stems for compost. (See example below)
In fact, although the tops go on the compost, any bean or pea plant roots can be dug straight back into the soil as they are a rich source of nitrogen. Use your fork to turn over the soil and dig in with a good quality smaller spade
Don’t forget to rake your beds to get rotting vegetation and detritus off, avoiding disease and pests. Burn any diseased plants… (if you have an allotment, you will need to check whether you are allowed to light a bonfire.)
Keep harvesting and drying herbs, start harvesting celery heads and think about sowing overwinter broad beans, plant onion and shallot sets and garlic bulbs. It is also a good time to plant daffodil bulbs in pots or tubs and borders.
Mid September is just about the right time to trim conifer hedges and the best way is with a good pair of hedgetrimmers. (See example below) Do equip yourself with goggles, gloves, ear defenders and tough shoes and remember to stay safe at all times.
Use a decent aerator to help improve drainage, let air in and encourage healthy root growth. There are various ways of doing this, including using an aerator. Many are powered but if your lawn isn't that kind of size, there are manual models available. (example below).
Now, get out your fleece, your kagoule and your vacuum flask… the cold weather is coming.