“September is a time of ripening peppers, squashes, marrows and pumpkins. All of these will need to make full use of the sun to ripen perfectly for both eating and storing. Apples, pears and autumn raspberries are a delight.”
Potatoes: when you harvest your potatoes take care to remove all the tubers. Fork the area over a few days later to check. Those that are left behind may spread disease, and when they sprout will be a weed next spring. Leave the potato crop to dry on the ground for a few hours before storing and rub off any loose soil. Store sound tubers only, in sacks or in well-ventilated dark boxes.
Runner beans and French beans - if they are well fed and watered they will continue to produce until the frosts. If you are fed up with your beans cut the tops off and compost them, but leave the roots in the ground - as the nodules on them contain nitrogen.
Harvesting beetroot, cabbage, carrots, cauliflowers, globe artichokes, kale, Kohlrabi, lettuce, leeks, marrows, onions, pumpkins, radishes, spring onions, spinach, sweetcorn, and turnips may be keeping you busy and well-stocked for the winter.
Apples and pears are ready to pick when they readily part from the tree when lifted gently in the palm and given a slight twist. They should then be left a couple of days at room temperature to reach full maturity.
For pumpkins and winter squashes intended for storing over winter, allow the fruit to fully mature on the plant and then harvest it when the foliage has died down, making sure you have harvested them before the first frost. Butternut squash tends to have a long shelf life so stores very well overwinter.
It is possible to continue with salad vegetables such as Arctic King lettuce, or winter hardy spring onions.
Autumn onion sets are available in the allotment shop. These provide an early crop next year.
Spring cabbages can be planted out to slowly develop for next year.
Green manure seeds, such as mustard and ryegrass, are also available in the allotment shop. These take up any nutrients which would otherwise be washed away in the winter rain. They should cover the ground instead of weeds. Cut them down in the spring and let them lie on the ground, then dig them in. This way they provide compost material and improve the soil structure.
It's a great shame we have lost our tomatoes this year to blight - other wise we would still be feeding the crop!
Composting: This is a good time of year to work on your compost. The top layer of the compost will be partially composted. Take this off and dig out the well-rotten material beneath to spread on the ground. With no-dig gardening you should spread it over the soil to replenish good bacteria in the top layer of the soil. Take care not to step on your beds and compact the soil. If you dig simply dig it into the soil.
The partically rotted material can be put back in the bin with layers of fresh green materials (spent plants, for example), lots of water, and manure if you have it. Cover the heap with cardboard and make sure it stays moist.
At this time of year there is a great tidy-up of spent plants and more to put on the compost heaps. Cut large plants into pieces to speed up the process. If you can, take weed seeds home to the garden rubbish bin.
Raspberry canes - cut out any weak, forked or misplaced ones. Cut down old blackberry stems and tie in the new ones that will fruit next year.