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GardeningVegetables in September

Vegetables in September

Tomato maintenance this month is brinkmanship with blight about, although at the time of writing we have had less rain than most and there is no blight, even on potatoes, and what a pleasure that is.

Blight strikes tomatoes just when they are under maximum strain ripening sweet fruits. If you can bear to, reduce the number of trusses, especially on outdoor plants, as they need a lot of sun and heat to ripen. Watering the soil less helps, too.

We have had plenty of ripe peppers since mid-July in the greenhouses off plants germinated in high heat in February, as length of growing season is the deciding factor for both peppers and aubergines.

Establishing winter salads is another September task. From an early August sowing, outdoor transplants of spinach (varieties Lazio or Medania), Little Gem lettuce and orientals will see a plant large enough to be picked into late Autumn and survive most winter weather for more picking in the spring. Success doing this hinges on the plants being strong by the onset of winter.

Sowing rocket and Mizuna outdoors now should be productive right through the winter. If it’s mild then you may succeed with other orientals, slugs are the issue and mustards are fairly slug proof.

If you have a tunnel then winter salads are easier and more productive, the leaves more tender too. Good lettuce varieties are Little Gem, Arctic King and Red Grenoble, and for spinach try Medania and Lazio. Many people like to spice the flavour with the decorative Red Frills mustard, chervil, Tatsoi and the fastest growing of all, rocket and mizuna. And why can’t you grow fungi in a small garden? Because they take up too mushroom.

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