What to do in September

This month is Harvest Time in the container garden – usually the most productive month of the year.

Jobs for this month include

  1. Harvesting the bounty – and enjoying the unsurpassed flavour of homegrown in your kitchen!
  2. Saving seeds
  3. Sowing for winter
  4. Cutting back, removing tomato blossom.
  5. Keep feeding fruiting crops.

1. Harvesting the bounty

Today's harvest of cherry tomatoes from the containers in the backyard. Few things can beat home grown tomatoes for taste.

Today’s harvest of cherry tomatoes from the containers in the backyard. Few things can beat home grown tomatoes for taste.

2. Saving seeds

Now is seed saving time for many crops. Saving seeds is not difficult (it does depend on the crop though) and can be hugely rewarding. Crops that are self pollinated are easier to save than cross pollinated crops and make a good place to start. Self pollinators include: French beans, lettuce, tomatoes and chillies. Luckily these are all great container crops, too! Tomatoes are one of the easiest to save seeds from, you can learn how, here.

Tomatoes are easy to save seeds from. In part this is because they are self pollinating which means that it is unlikely that your plant will cross with another variety.

Tomatoes are easy to save seeds from. In part this is because they are self pollinating which means that it is unlikely that your plant will cross with another variety.

3. Sowing for winter

It’s still not to late to sow crops for winter. The faster growing winter crops like rocket, pak choi, mustards, Chinese cabbage are fine to sow now in most parts. Put them in a nice warm place if possible to help them off to good start. (Slower growing winter crops like cavelo nero and chard are best started a little earlier if possible).

A tray of winter salad seedlings, mostly ready to plant out.

A tray of winter salad seedlings, mostly ready to plant out.

4. Cutting back

As in August, keep cutting back foliage to expose tomatoes to ripen, and to remove large leaves (eg from courgettes), that may be casting shade over other crops. Remove tomato blossom or small baby green tomatoes that are not going to have time to develop and ripen. This will allow all the energy of the plant to be channeled into ripening the fruit its already got.

5. Feeding

Tomatoes, squash and other fruiting crops will still benefit from regular feeding with a potassium (K) rich feed like comfrey tea or a tomato liquid feed. I’m feeding these tromboncino squash a handful of worm compost each week, in an attempt to help it grow as big as possible. It’s now over two foot long. I’ve heard they can grow up to four feet!

You can eat tromboncino small like courgettes (zucchini) or you can let it grow into a large squash. This one is two foot long and still growing!

You can eat tromboncino small like courgettes (zucchini) or you can let it grow into a large squash. This one is two foot long and still growing!

2 comments… add one

  • I have just picked my first tromboncino squash. It’s massive, like a fat curly marrow! Anyone know how to cook it? I wondered as its this big if it no longer tastes courgette-like, and perhaps I have to make soup etc with it?

    Reply
    • Hi Wendy, it’s more squash like than courgette – something like a cross between a marrow and a squash. The taste is pretty good. Very nice in veg curries. Also in cake!

      Reply

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