Gardening in September
I absolutely love this time of year – you’ve left summer behind you but can still catch glimmers of both; the summer that has been and the winter to come. The early mornings hold that freshness in the air of anticipation and promise and the plants are filled with bounty. September is a time of harvesting and preparing, before the first frosts arrive, to de-robe the plants of their vitality. Here are some gardening tips for September.
Fruits; there is no better time of the year to harvest and wallow in the bounty of the fruits; autumn raspberries taste heavenly and a time of summer that has passed; apples, eat as many as you can and store only the best examples ie no bruises etc, you will have apple pies right up into the middle of the winter. I’m a great believer in relishing in the bounty of the season – I don’t tend to eat apples at other times of the year but when they are my own, I will gorge on them for the next 8 weeks, I probably eat enough to keep me going for the full calendar year! Pears; wow do I love these guys, I have them planted around the south and west side of the house here and anyone that visits our café at this time of year is surrounded by literately hundreds of huge pears in the glasshouse. Stored poached pears coming out at Christmas are such a treat, spiced and accompanied by a lovely selection of cheeses! Plums; plums glorious plums, you can never have enough, freshly picked sweet and delicious – stewed plums over my morning porridge are a favourite of mine. Grapes; so easy to grow and such a wonderful addition to any fruit garden – again in the café glasshouse you are completely surrounded by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes (we actually harvest them to make the most amazing wine gins) but even in my own little greenhouse here at home I always manage to find space for a vine or two! Then there are the medlars and quinces….
Vegetables; oh my goodness where do I start, harvest, harvest and store! At this time of year, I love harvesting, drying and storing a huge array of onions there is something very satisfying about having large bunches hanging from my garden shed roof. Your main and mid crops of potatoes should still be bountiful – I actually cut back and tidy the ground above my main crop potatoes and can still be digging out perfect spuds even into early March. Runner beans, broad, peas, French its ‘bean feast’ – they are a meal on their own, a huge mixed bowl with garlic and butter, truly delicious. Blanch your broad and runner beans so you can freeze them over winter. Courgettes, marrows and squashes, not sure what I was thinking of this spring but I now have a mountain of these guys – think there is going to be a lot of chutney! Then there are all the carrots, beetroots, cabbages – be experimental in the kitchen – try as many ways as you can to store and keep your own produce, there is nothing more rewarding!
Herbs; at this time of year, I try eating as many salad and edible flowers as I can as I know they are about to disappear soon. Reluctant to lose that wonderful fresh green salad flavour there is just enough time to sow some more rocket, coriander and some winter lettuce, to keep you going for the next few months.
There is so much to do in September but to be honest, my favourite job of this month is to slowly walk around the garden, grazing on the vegetables and fruits and taking in the full colour of all the flowers, the scents, the sound of the bees, as I know only too well that this will be replaced by the stillness of winter. It’s like taking a last deep breath, to inhale all that is alive and present, to give you enough oxygen to remember how it was because soon when you exhale your breath, it will be as visible as your hand in the middle of winter.