Britain Get Growing: September sun in the Garden
September is a significant month for gardening and growing your own. As summer ends, it’s time to harvest what you have sown and prepare for autumn and plan for the upcoming year. With warmer soil and cooler days, September offers plenty of tasks to keep you busy. Here are some gardening tips for this month:
Get growing this September
Onions & Shallots
Onions and shallots are easy to grow in autumn from plants or sets (a young onion bulb). Plant sets from September to November. Both onions and shallots thrive in well-rotted compost, and we recommend you apply lime to acid soils in autumn and winter for the best results come harvest time.
Push the pointed end into the soil. Leaving 5 to 10 cm between onions and 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) between shallots is a good rule of thumb. You should space rows of onions 25cm to 30cm apart (10 inches to one foot) and shallots 30cm to 45cm (1 foot to 18 inches) apart.
Your winter hardy onions will be ready to harvest in February through May.
Garlic bulbs are perfect for autumn planting, producing flavoursome and fleshy bulbs that can over winter and be harvested in June the following year.
Using a shovel, dig over the soil. Apply a general-purpose fertiliser. Plant garlic bulbs 15cm apart with a trowel. Plant one clove per hole with the fat end pointing downwards and the tip 2.5cm below the surface of the soil. Protect the young plants by filling the holes and covering them with fleece. Water regularly when it's dry. Flower spikes should be removed.
Harvest bulbs once the leaves have turned yellow and flopped over. Use a fork to carefully lift the bulbs.
Spring cabbages sown now will stand their ground over winter to provide you with delicious home-grown greens in the new year.
You can start transplanting your young cabbage plants into the soil in September. We recommend planting compact varieties 30cm (1ft) apart and larger varieties up to 45cm (18in) apart. Cabbage loves fertile, deep alkaline soil enriched with organic matter.
Water plants well in dry weather and harvest as soon as they have formed good compact heads.
Purple sprouting broccoli
When planted in autumn, purple sprouting broccoli will grow happily outdoors through winter for a delicious spring harvest.
It can be grown outdoors in winter for spring harvests in containers and vegetable beds. We recommend that broccoli is planted in a hole twice as deep and three times as wide as your young plant. Mix in general-purpose compost, horticultural sand and stone or potting grit to ensure good drainage.
Your broccoli will be ready to harvest in February for an early spring treat.
Broad beans can be sown in Autumn and over-wintered for a fresh crop the following spring.
Sow directly into the ground 20cm apart, in rows 60cm apart in manure-rich soil. To protect from blackflies, pinch out the tips of plants and stake taller varieties. Broad beans can be harvested when the pods are just 6cm long, for the most tender beans.
If growing in a pot, plant canes in the container as well to support the growing beans which will be ready to harvest from May.
Harvest this September
The benefits of earlier growing come to fruition with the bulk of the harvest coming home in September. Here are our tips as to what you can pick from your vegetable garden now:
- Maincrop potatoes
- French and runner beans.
- With raspberry plants, pick the fruit and cut back the fruited canes to ground level.
- Harvest apples, pears, and plums, and pick up any fallen fruit.