September marks the onset of autumn. At this time of year, the early crops will be coming to an end. On the other hand later crops are coming into harvest now and you should be lifting main crop potatoes, pulling leeks, picking apples, pears and late-season plums. The season certainly isn’t over yet.
Sow green manures – field beans, annual ryegrass and phacelia can be sown. They will overwinter and can be dug into the ground next spring.
Turn your compost heap – turn the compost heap regularly with a fork to aerate it and stimulate decomposition. Water it if dry and cover to keep the heat in, this all speeds the compost production up. You should be doing this regularly as the more you do it the quicker you’ll get compost to use.
Ripen and pick tomatoes – to encourage tomatoes to fatten up and ripen remove all lower leaves from the plants and keep picking.
Cut down asparagus – tall, feathery asparagus foliage will be starting to turn yellow and should be cut down to just 2.5 cm above ground level.
Feed and trim celeriac – feed regularly with a liquid manure, remove any old, damaged leaves from around the stems
Harvest apples and pears – check for ripeness of fruits and pick when the moment is right. Early
Cabbages – transplant your spring cabbages this month or next. It’s now time to plant them out in their final growing position
Salad Crops – sow winter lettuce and further batches of rocket and land cress along with a few last minute radishes may give you a final crop before the end of the year.
Onions – plant overwintering onion sets, prepare the ground well first and add an all-purpose fertiliser.
Cranberries – try new fruit and plant cranberry bushes at any time from September to November. Bear in mind they do need an acid soil, so you could grow them in large tubs of ericaceous compost instead.
Strawberries – plant new strawberry plants, sooner they are in, the sooner they establish and therefore produce a bigger crop next year.
Keep picking Courgettes and Cucumbers or they will stop producing fruit.
Test Sweetcorn for ripeness when the tassels have turned chocolate brown. Squeeze a grain with fingernails, if a watery liquid squirts out it’s not ready, if its milky in colour, it is.
Pick non-hardy varieties of Leeks before frosts kill them.
Pick Apples when they come off in your hand without using any force.
Prune summer Raspberries, if you unsure which is which, cut out brown shoots and leave green ones.
Cut off dead Strawberry leaves.
Take cuttings of Blackberries.
Leave Carrots and Beetroot in the ground until ready to use as they store better in ground than in fridge.
Keep earthing up Leeks, this will blanch the stems so they taste better.
Weed Asparagus bed.
Pick off and burn any mildew affected leaves.
Start sowing winter salad
Save and label seeds from annuals and perennials
Clean and store canes and other supports as they become free
Start lifting Jerusalem artichokes