What to sow and do in a September kitchen garden
September is a varied month in a kitchen garden, with some food plants coming to the end of their productive cycle and others finally getting into their stride. It’s a time for harvesting, clearing away, tidying up, making preparations for winter foods, and doing some work now so that there’s something to eat next spring during the ‘hungry gap’.
The political situation in the UK is still chaotic and unpredictable, so I’m making an extra effort in our kitchen garden right now so we can have a few fresh foods to pick if there are supply problems or price rises at the end of October onwards. There’s certainly not enough room here to be self sufficient, but it’s a small insurance policy just in case things go very wrong at the ports or in the shops.
It’s all stuff we’d be growing and eating anyway, I’m just throwing in a few extra seeds and being more careful than usual about dilligent watering, weeding and dealing with common garden pests. If you’re interested in doing the same, I strongly suggest you get started sooner rather than later as the seasons are changing.
Right, let’s get started with some seeds you can sow right now, followed by the to-do lists.
Seeds to sow in September
Some of the seeds you can sow this month will give you a quick crop before the cooler weather sets in, and others will provide slow growing crops over winter or start sprouting next spring. Check individual seed packets to make sure you’re sowing September varieties, and that they’ll grow in the area you live in.
- baby leaf salad
- cavolo nero / Tuscan kale
- chard (white stem varieties)
- ‘green manure’ plants
- Italian rabe /raab (quick growing types of greens)
- leaf beet and perpetual spinach
- mustards (hardy types)
- other oriental greens like pak choi, choy sum and mizuna
- radish (last few quick growing summer types)
- spinach (short-day varieties)
- spring onions (such as Ishikura, Winter Hardy White Lisbon)
- winter lettuce (such as Valdor, Winter Density)
You can also try starting off a few extra winter salads such as lamb’s lettuce (also called corn salad), some types of endive, and land cress, either outdoors or in an unheated greenhouse. There’s still time to start off most soft herbs for your windowsill, and maybe some indoor salad, baby leaf spinach and pea shoots too.
There are also plenty of garden jobs to be getting on with.
What to plant out
- Biennial herb seedlings (chives, parsley)
- Seedlings or clumps of perennial herbs
- Japanese overwintering onion sets
- Other winter onions and shallots
- Garlic cloves
- Spring greens and Spring cabbages
- Bring in winter herb plants for use indoors
- Cut asparagus down to ground level and mulch it
- Divide and lift perennial herbs such as mint
- Earth up and/or stake large winter brassicas
- Get rid of potato foliage (haulms) if blight threatens
- Harden pumpkins for 10 days after cutting
- Feed leeks a balanced liquid feed
- Ripen tomatoes indoors if weather turns bad
- Lift Witloof chicory and place in sand for forcing
- Cut old summer raspberry and blackberry canes back after fruiting
- Tie in new summer raspberry canes for next year’s crops
- Fit anti-moth grease bands to fruit tree trunks
- Remove mildewed growth from gooseberries
- Finish any remaining summer pruning
- Prepare ground for fruit tree planting
General garden jobs
- Be prepared to protect crops if frost threatens
- Sterilise and store used pots, canes, plant labels etc
- Cover areas of bare soil
- Get composting areas ready for lots of new materials
- Keep the garden tidy to aid pest control
- Save seeds
Are you growing your own fruit, vegetables or herbs this year? If so, what’s happening on your plot at the moment?