September in the vegetable garden

Seasonal vegetables

With our Reeth community plot in full bloom, we continue our series of monthly blog posts covering what seasonal produce to plant, and how to maintain your vegetable garden through the year.


September is harvest time, but planning ahead now will ensure you have a succession of crops right through to early summer. The soil is still warm so seeds will germinate quickly. If the weather remains fine, the growing season can continue for several weeks.

What to sow  

Spring cabbages and hardy greens such as kale, land cress, corn salad with its delicate flavour, pak choi, mizuna, lamb’s lettuce and mustard. Sow pak choi under cloches now for an autumn supply of baby salad leaves. ‘Rubi’F1 with its burgundy leaves is beautiful as well as delicious.

Rubi F1 is quick to crop and slow to bolt

Turnips – into well-prepared beds for baby roots in about 6 weeks.

Winter lettuce – kept under a cloche it can be ready to harvest by Christmas. Good varieties include, ‘Winter Gem’, ‘Arctic King’ or‘Winter Density’ .Try ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ for a particularly fine flavoured lettuce. 

Spinach ‘Perpetual’ – can survive harsh frosts and rain but offer cloche protection as the weather cools to ensure harvests throughout autumn and winter.

Spring onions – cover with 2cm of soil when sowing. ‘Winter Lisbon’ and ‘Performa’ have good winter hardiness and reliability. 

Onions –‘Hi Keeper’ onions are a good variety for autumn sowing. Sow into a well-prepared seedbed and only thin your onion seedlings in the spring.

Troy is hardy and produces early crops of dark, yellow skinned bulbs with a crisp and full flavour. Excellent bolting and disease resistance.

If planting onion and shallot sets it is important to find a in a sunny spot and then plant 10cm apart, with the tip just showing above the soil. Planting onion sets in autumn means you will get an earlier crop next year. Choose a variety that’s ideal for autumn sowing, such as ‘Troy’ or ‘Radar’.

Broad beans – hardy varieties include ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ .

Pea – ‘Feltham First’ will ensure an early crop next year. 

Start planting garlic bulbs at the end of the month for cropping next year. Garlic needs a sunny spot and fertile, well-drained soil. Plant individual cloves 18cm apart at twice their own depth.

Jobs for September.  

If you haven’t yet pruned your summer fruiting raspberries, prune out all the fruited canes cutting down to the base and tie in new canes to supports.

By potting up a few herbs, such as chives and parsley, and bringing them indoors to a sunny windowsill, you can have herbs throughout the winter months.

Cut away any leaves covering the fruits of pumpkinssquash and marrows to help the skins ripen in the sun.

Cut off trusses of unripe outdoor tomatoes before the weather turns cold, then ripen them indoors.

Lift main crop potatoes, dry off and store in hessian or paper sacks, in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place.

Complete summer pruning of both free-standing and trained apple trees to encourage good fruiting.

Once the asparagus foliage has turned brown it is ready to be cut down.  The plants will benefit from a good mulch. 

For blanched stems, celery needs to be earthed-up one more time, leaving just the top of the foliage poking out of the trench. 

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