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WAHGA Jobs for September

Last year we wrote ‘After the heat of August what a relief to have cooler days of September’ but this year it’s the complete reverse - I think I’ve done more watering in these first few days of September than all of August.

This is a time for harvesting ripening figs, apples, pears, courgettes, beans, peppers, squashes, marrows and pumpkins. Picking the final tomatoes - if you didn’t get blight - and don’t forget the potatoes!

Make the most of your produce by eating, storing and preserving as much as you can and feel free to share your favourite recipes on our facebook group. And there’s plenty to to look after; sprouts, parsnips, kale and other produce, which you’ll be harvesting through the winter.

There’s also plenty to sow for winter.


This is a good time to direct sow, the soil is warm and seeds will germinate quickly.

  • Salad vegetables - sow salad vegetables such as Arctic King lettuce, winter hardy spring onions, rocket, and radish

  • Sow frost hardy veg such as perpetual spinach, rocket, kale, chard, winter green cabbage, Cavelo Nero, baby turnips and swedes, purple sprouting broccoli.

  • Autumn onion sets and garlic can be planted now for an early crop next year.

  • Spring cabbages can be planted out to slowly develop for next year.

  • Pot up strawberry runners to make new plants for next summer. Once they have rooted they are already appreciated by other plot-holders and gardeners if you have spares.


Potatoes. I tend to dig up what I need through September and October, rather than have a major harvest. It seems a bit too warm to store them successfully yet. If you are going to store potatoes, dig them up on a dry morning, leave on the surface for a few hours to dry out, rub off excess soil, and store only un-damaged potatoes in hessian or paper sacks in a cool, dry, dark place.

Harvest what you need of your beetroot, carrots, cauliflowers, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, leeks, marrows, onions, pumpkins, radishes, spring onions, spinach, sweetcorn, and turnips.

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. Use the windfalls in your crumbles, pies and preserves now, and only store unblemished fruit in a cool, dark place, in racks or wrap in newspaper and place in boxes.


Runner beans and french beans - feed, and water if we have any extended dry spells, so they will continue to produce for another few more weeks, though with the shorter days they tend to be slower growing a bit tougher.

Continue to feed tomato plants until all the fruits have finished growing and ripening. Any unripe tomatoes can be made into a delicious green tomato chutney or fried green tomatoes are delicious!

Keep watering winter squash and pumpkins if the weather is hot. This will prevent their growth from being checked. Pinch out the tips of triffid-like pumpkins and squash, and cut back any leaves with mildew. Place a tile under the largest fruit to stop rot creeping in where they sit on the damp soil.

Cut back the fruited canes of summer raspberries and tie in the new green canes for next year.

Cut down old blackberry stems and tie in the new ones that will fruit next year.

Cut hardy herbs such as chives, lovage and sorrel to the ground, they will be up again in a couple of weeks with fresh leaves. Water with liquid fertiliser to encourage strong regrowth.


As you harvest, either plant up with your next crop, or improve the soil by sowing green manure seeds, such as mustard and ryegrass. The green manure protects the soil from erosion over winter, leaching of mineral and nutrients, as well as boosting nutrients and adding organic matter when dug into the soil. Another option is to lay down cardboard and cover with composted manure, or just apply the organic matter directly to the soil.

This is a good time of year to work on your compost. For many heaps the top layer will only 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. If you prefer, fork it into the top layer of the soil.

The partially rotted material can be put back in the bin. 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 smaller pieces to speed up the composting process. Get a good mix of green and brown organic matter, and cardboard. Cover the heap with cardboard and it's important to make sure it stays moist.


Herbaceous perennials are coming into their own after the rain, keep dead heading and you’ll have flowers right through until the first frosts. Dahlias, Penstemon, Cosmos and Salvias are looking at their best.

It’s a good time to take semi-ripe cuttings of Rosemary, Lavender, Roses and other small woody shrubs.

Annuals such as nemesia, diascia, fuchsia, cosmos and pelargonium will also continue to flower if you keep deadheading.

Improve your lawn with an autumn feed, and it’s a good time to sow seed on any bald patches.


It’s the perfect time to sow wild flower seeds. I recommend a mix of perennials such as cowslip, primula, lychnis, campion, and annuals, poppy, cornflower, borage, forget-me-not. Bees and other insects are still active and will be for months to come, so it’s important to have a range of flowers across the allotment site flowering through the year.

If you’ve got space, think about leaving a small log pile for wood lice, centipedes and millipedes. You might be lucky to house some stag beetles. Piles of leaves are also good, even if they’re in bags with holes to make leaf mould.

It’s the perfect time to put down a hedgehog house on your plot or in your garden if you have one. We’ll be putting some advice out on where to position as hedgehogs are quite fussy about where they overwinter!

Nest boxes can be put up now as many birds enter them during autumn and winter looking for a place to roost or feed. They often then use the same box for nesting.

Please continue to have water available for birds, insects, foxes and hedgehogs.


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