September in the Veg Patch

It’s harvest time, it’s autumn planting time, and it’s time to get all sorts of garden jobs done. September is a busy month in the veg patch, and it pays to get out there and make the most of the longer days while we still have plenty of daylight and a bit of warmth in the sun.

What to harvest

It could be a long list but here are some of the ones to really look out for this month:

Maincrop potatoes are likely to be ready this month – as soon as the foliage turns yellow you can dig ’em up.

Sweetcorn is usually ready when the tassels turn black – peel back the husk leaves and dig your thumbnail into a kernel, if the liquid comes out milky then they are perfectly ripe.

Keep picking tomatoes, beans and courgettes regularly as well as leaves and lettuces (the more you pick the longer they’ll keep cropping!)

Summer squashes should be ready to harvest this month, pumpkins and winter squashes will need a little longer to ripen. Summer sprouting broccoli may be ready at the moment too, but cabbages and cauliflowers might need more time.

Depending on when you planted them you may have leeks, beetroot and carrots ready to pull up. Leave celeriac and parsnips in the ground for a few more months.

Blackberries, autumn raspberries and other currants and berries will be harvestable now – be sure to get to them before the birds do!

What to plant

Plant these this month and you'll be able to harvest your own food at different times throughout autumn and winter

Kales should grow well planted early on this month, giving you a crop of cut & come again leaves right through the winter if you’re lucky!

Chinese leaves like Pak Choi and Tatsoi do brilliantly at this time of year. You might be able to harvest them this side of Christmas if it’s mild enough.

Turnip Golden Ball is a great autumn grower and could be ready to harvest anytime between November and March.

There are plenty of winter lettuces and salad leaves to plant, some more unusual than others.

Pop spring onions, spring and winter green cabbages and spinach and chard in now for harvesting in late winter/early spring.

Jobs for September

There's plenty to do as well as planting and harvesting...

Clear old plants and ideally pop them in the compost heap.

If you don’t have a compost system going, now is a great time to start.

Start a leaf mould – rake up falling autumn leaves and pop them in a chicken wire cage to make a lovely rich leaf mould to use.

Plant on strawberry runners from your existing plants.

Get pruning! There are plenty of fruit bushes and canes, as well as herbs, that will benefit from pruning this month.

Improve soil for autumn planting – a bit of extra compost or fertiliser will really help.

Cover weed-ridden areas with weed membrane ready to use for veg next spring.

Pull up and store veg for the winter. Hessian sacks work a treat or you could look at building a sandbox.