Our Top September Allotment Tips has soon come around and August has been a month of rapid growth on my plot, more than I can remember for a number of years!
Both the purple-podded French beans and climbing beans have provided heavy crops. They are still going strong as we head into September. Meanwhile the pumpkins have almost doubled in size over the past few weeks with squashes not far behind. We are heading towards the last hurrah of summer.
August Bank Holiday Sowings & Harvests
The last of my summer onions are now up and drying nicely for winter storage. Over the Bank Holiday, I harvested some beetroot for home-pickling and use over winter.
This is also a great time of year to sow fast-maturing salad crops such as Radish ‘Sparkler’ and leaf salad ‘Winter Mix’. If stir-fries are your thing then Salad Leaves ‘Oriental Wonders Mix’ is great. The mix of different plants ensures a fine blend of spicy and mild flavours. Both leaf salads are suitable for the allotment or even in a container at home. They can be ready to harvest around four weeks after sowing.
Last Chance Winter Cabbages
September is the latest chance to plant out overwintering cabbage into their final growing positions. With dry weather expected for the first part of September, it will be important to keep the young plants well-watered.
Slugs are still very active and I’ve observed recently how some snails have been using my netting to gain access to the seedlings! Parts of the net have the tell-tale slime marks on them and some seedlings are nibbled accordingly.
Top Tips for Maincrop Potatoes, Beans, Peas & Top Heavy Sunflowers!
As maincrop potatoes are harvested it is a good idea to grade the tubers. Only store blemish-free tubers over winter. Tubers with minor skin damage potentially won’t store very well. They can be kept separate and be eaten first over the next few weeks. Any blighted tubers should be discarded.
As beans and peas finish cropping it pays to leave the roots in the ground. The tiny nodules on the roots contain nitrogen which a subsequent crop may benefit from. I tend to cut off the spent stems at ground level then dig the roots in during the autumn or winter.
Do keep an eye on the strength of the staking of your sunflower plants. They are very top heavy at this time of year and as winds increase so does the risk of them blowing over.
The Power of Green Manure
If you have spare beds why not take the opportunity to enrich the soil using Green manures. They are easy to grow and they do a fine job in improving our heavily used soil. Sowing a quick maturing green manure now is more than worth the effort.
Green Manure Winter Mix is a favourite of mine. The quick-growing green carpet of young plants reduces the leaching of soil nutrients from heavy winter rains. Some nitrogen will also be added to the soil when the clover is chopped up and dug in during next spring before flowering commences. The seed can be sown easily at a handful per 3grams per square metre, widely broadcast in weed-free soil. There is no need for dedicated rows. Lightly rake over and the job is complete.
At this time of year, I do an audit on the contents of my shed. Let’s face it many of us are too busy to keep sheds tidy in the summer and things can become misplaced! I also check that I’ve got adequate frost protection fleece and cloches for winter and next spring. It would be an unpleasant surprise to find during a cold snap that I’ve run out.
We hope you have enjoyed our Top September Allotment Tips and stay tuned for more in October.
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