Who thinks festivals are a new idea? The September harvest (festival).
September is a time when gardeners have their hands full. Literally.
The harvest is bountiful for those who have been gaily growing.
Harvest festivals are an age-old tradition that offer a magnificent celebration of food - a gathering held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon. This is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (this year, on the night of 27 Sept). Traditionally it allowed farmers to continue their harvest late into the night by the light of the full moon. It's also important for migrating birds, many of which are said to rely on the harvest moon in order to commence their migration.
If you have a productive fruit and veg garden you will be bursting at the seams with harvest including plums, pears, apples, all sorts of beans, spinach, summer cabbages, carrots, cauliflowers, cucumbers, courgettes, onions, parsnips and more. What's more, there's work to be done in the flower garden as things are romping away what with all the damp weather we have enjoyed during the last month.
Growing vegetables is really rewarding at this colourful time of year! Then there's the lawns. They are looking lush and growing with a vibrancy similar to spring. Oh dear! Just when you thought you were catching up with all the garden tasks, it's all going wrong!
Wasn't this garden all tidy just a few weeks ago? After summer we can expect the garden to give a final burst of joy before declining into dormancy. So it will definitely require a really good late summer/early autumn tidy-up. But this month it's the vegetables and fruit taking centre stage and it is truly worthwhile spending as much time as you can spare on harvesting. After all, the fruits of your labour are ready to be enjoyed and let's not forget to do so.
The harvest is a great opportunity to enter the local horticultural show! Fill your trugs, larders and freezers with produce and enjoy the flavours of your labours. Then you can turn your attention to planting.
What can you sow in September?
- There are broad beans (they might benefit from a supportive cane in case they wave around in the winter wind). Oh, and broad bean tops taste wonderful when they are lightly steamed and served with butter. Small pods are also delicious when eaten whole. Picking these will help stagger your crop production, which is a great benefit.
Plant your broad beans now! They will appreciate some supports in the winter.
Asparagus is well worth the two year initial wait!
- Many varieties of asparagus can be planted in the autumn. This will help them establish faster than spring-planting. Don't be put off by the fact that you will have to wait two years before harvesting. It's well worth the wait and they really aren't difficult.
Grow garlic in the autumn - it's easy peasy!
- Then we have garlic. Such an easy plant to grow. The cloves can go in (plant about 5cm deep if your soil is light but nearer the surface on heavy soils). About 30cms apart. Then just enjoy their care-free nature!
Onions are really simple to grow in the garden
- Onion sets can also go in now. They are easy-peasy too. Plus spring onions and shallots.
Growing spinach and salad leaves is well worth the small amount of effort. Fresh leaves through most of the winter!
- Not to mention lettuce, salad leaves and spinach. Sometimes you can get them to grow throughout the entire winter, with just a little protection. Use cut-and-come-again varieties; also try some hardy varieties and lambs lettuce which is good at coping with cold temperatures.
A red radish makes a ravishing addition to salads - grow your own for the ultimate in satisfaction
- Oh, and radish. Choose winter varieties which will be happy in the cold weather, but remember to keep the soil moist.
In the flower and ornamental garden
Garden chrysanthemums, or 'mums' are on special offer RIGHT NOW! We are pleased to give you 40% off in September. Click the photo to see what's available.
- Keep deadheading! You will be amazed for how long your annuals and even perennials keep flowering if you prune off the spent flower heads before they set seed. Nature continually attempts to get these plants to reproduce hence it will encourage repeat flowering.
If you deadhead your annuals and even perennials regularly, you will encourage repeat flowering
- Keep watering! September can often be a dry month (please, please), and pots, containers or anything new in the garden will need to be watered regularly.
September and October are ideal months in which to PLANT
A wide range of spring flowering bulbs is available NOW including these delightful Allium Christophii
- Keep weeding! Everything is growing like mad while it's still warm, including the weeds. Try to deal with them before they have a chance to set seed. You will be setting yourself up for a tidy spring!
- Now's a great time for planting because the soil is warm and moist. Shrubs, trees, fruit, perennials and bulbs: get them in this month and they will establish quickly.
- Give hedges a final trim and tidy-up if you want a neat finish. It's a highly rewarding task because you know they will stay this way for several months to come!
- Gradually reduce the frequency of mowing lawns. You can scarify (raking out the dead grass and moss). Also aerate your lawn in order to improve the drainage. Don't be tempted to use spring lawn feed as it will make your grass grow and the tender new shoots might be affected by frost.
- It's a great time for making a new lawn. Seeding is generally cheapest, but turf should establish well during this month too.