Monthly Tasks – September

Monthly tasks: Elder Stubbs Charity Allotments is a member of NSALG (National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners) and their website gives a lot of useful information (www.nsalg.org.uk). This monthly task list is based predominantly from information from them.

Overview: September is an excellent time to take stock and review your successes and failures for this season and make plans to ensure that next year will be an improvement on this one past. If you are still developing your allotment you will have plenty of time to prepare the ground whilst making your plans.

Harvesting: Onions and potatoes will need to be got out of the soil before the cold, damp days of autumn arrive. Both will need to be stored somewhere that will keep the frost out. Onions will store best where there is good air circulation and potatoes in the dark to prevent them from turning green.

Harvest apples and pears as they become ready and pick the late seasons strawberries and raspberries to keep them producing fruit. They will keep cropping right until the first frost.

Cut courgettes and marrows regularly because they will be finished by the end of the month as will outdoor tomatoes.

Sowing and Planting: Now we have shorter cooler days it is the perfect time to sow the seed of Oriental vegetables. They will germinate quickly and are hardy enough to withstand the cold of winter and will provide a steady supply of fresh leaves well into the spring of next year. Also make a sowing of hardy winter lettuce and spinach.

Plant out early sown spring cabbage and protect with netting or fleece.

General: Complete the summer pruning of soft fruit bushes, apple and pear trees. Continue with their training and tying in.

Feed all late crops with a general fertiliser e.g.. pelleted chicken manure.

Dig up and compost any plants that have finished their season.

Clear the soil of spent crops and leave it rough dug over for the winter. It is also a good time to sow winter grazing rye as a green manure. It can be dug back into the soil as part of your spring preparations.

Pests and Diseases: Wasps can be a nuisance at this time of the year attracted to decaying fruit. It is good to remember that they are also the gardener’s friend because they are major predators of aphids and caterpillars at this time of the year.

Blight affected potatoes and tomatoes must not be added to your compost heap because they will risk spreading the disease in future seasons.

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