Are you enjoying life on the vegetable plot like we are? After a long and dry summer, with temperatures still high on some days and the power of the sun still great, there is finally evidence of autumn round the corner. Nights are drawing in earlier and a little more leaf-fall suggest the autumn is just round the corner.
Read on to find out what we recommend you focus your attention on in the kitchen garden.
The Marshalls team
Our Top 6 jobs for the month
Know your onions
Get your onion sets in the ground as early as September while the ground is still warm from the summer if your soil is well-draining and tends not to flood. By planting now autumn-planting sets of onions, shallots and garlic will be ready up to three weeks earlier next year than if you plant them in spring.
When planting set them in the soil around 10-15cm apart (4-6in) and plant shallow enough so the top papery part of the bulb is just proud of the soil.
Read our blog to see whether you should try autumn-planting bulbs
Your soil solutions
Give your soil a bit of TLC in September; especially this year after a rather unforgivingly dry and hot summer. Now is a good time to replenish your soil with some Organic Farm Manure. The soil on your plot may be lacking in organic matter and nutrients so this soil improver will rectify this.
Organic Farm Manure also improves the structure of your soil too, giving it an ideal consistency with plenty of air pockets for oxygen to the roots and enough pores to hold onto the perfect amount of moisture without waterlogging.
The summer cut
Prune apple and pear trees in September. This means cutting any 20+cm (8+in) shoots formed around developing fruit back to three pair of leaves from the base. This is so that air and sunlight can reach the fruit unimpeded and they ripen quicker.
Get a good sharp pair of secateurs to do the job to leave clean cuts that are resistant to pest damage of disease invasion.
Pick now, sow later
Order seeds now for this year and next. You’ll get the greatest choice from our range at a fixed price by ordering now. Marshalls seeds arrive to you in sealed packets keeping them fresher for longer. We recommend that you keep your packets somewhere cool and dark like a drawer in your shed or garage.
If you do open your seed packets be sure to reseal them with sticky tape so they remain fresh and viable.
The lure of lawns
Treat yourself to your best lawn yet by giving the grass some TLC, ideal carried out in September while the weather is warm and promising but without the relentless sun that we experienced earlier this summer.
Cut the grass with a reliable mower and treat to an Aftercut All in One Autumn Treatment which feeds the lawn the essential nutrients it needs after this dry summer, kills moss at large and steels the roots for over the winter.
Your bulb bank
Get hold of the many daffodil and tulip bulbs in our range and start filling your pots full of your favourite spring bulbs. We recommend you plant in layers with your biggest bulbs (e.g. alliums) at the bottom, your daffodil and tulips in the middle and smaller pretty little bulbs like glory-of-the snow and crocuses at the top.
Scatter woodland bulbs in shadier parts of the garden and crown imperials in beds in full sun. Add to your allotment to bring in colour in spring and attract pollinating insects.
Complete list of September jobs
Top crops to plant and sow now
Get potted blueberries for your own plot whether you grow them in containers, which are perfect for them filled with ericaceous compost or in soft fruit beds you may have down on the allotment.
These three varieties ripen at staggered times so you have blueberry harvests from as early as July and as late as September.
Blueberry Chandler - Cherry-size super fruits
Blueberry Duke - Early-fruiting variety
Blueberry Liberty - Large-clustering fruit
Try our delicious tried and tested recipe - Blueberry muffins
A perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea or a naughty treat in the evening.
100g butter (3 ½ oz) butter
140g (5oz) caster sugar
140g (5oz) natural yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g (4 ½ oz) blueberries
Method: Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6) and line a muffin tin with paper bun cases.
Bring together the sugar and the butter with a fork.
Add the eggs and beat. Next incorporate the yoghurt, vanilla extract and milk.
In a separate bowl bring together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda with a little salt. Combine to the sugar and butter mixture and stir. Add the blueberries and mix in without pulping the berries too much.
Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes and then check the centre with a skewer. The skewer should come out clean. Cool on a wire-mesh rack for 10 minutes+.
Watch out for pests and diseases
More familiarly known as the thunder fly the thrip sucks the sap of leafy plants and causes distorted growth on your well-tended crops including pepper plants and other greenhouse salads like tomatoes. You may also notice a mottling on white on the leaves and little black grains of excrement.
A sticky trap is an effective measure to put a stop to glasshouse thrips. Alternatively use Resolva Natural Power Bug & Mildew Spray.
Come to Harrogate – 14-16 September
Now that autumn is around the corner it’s a perfect time to get to the national flower show for some inspiration and advice from the experts. Marshalls Seeds will be there to welcome you and offer onion, garlic and shallot sets at special show prices as well as seeds of your favourite crops.
Esther and Poppy will be there this year, happy to give you their expert knowledge always with a smile and a useful nugget or two of horticultural advice.
We look forward to seeing you at the show.