We seem to have weathered the heat waves over the summer and have had a little welcome rain. Hopefully, your crops have all survived and you have benefited from the respite in temperatures!
There is not much to report except to say that we have been successful in our application to Re3Grow for 20 bags of free compost from the Recycling centre in Reading. We intend to use the soil to fill some new raised beds, sited by the sheds. These will be offered to people who have applied for an allotment but who only want a small area. Many young families wish to teach their children about how to grow food and where food comes from. We thought that these new raised beds could also be offered to the more advanced in years! I know I would be grateful for a smaller area when I am too decrepit to manage a plot!!
Towards the middle of the month, you will be receiving your rent renewal letter. The new fee reflects the decision taken at the AGM to raise the cost of a full plot to £65 and a half plot to £40 so we can cover the increase in Parish rent and costs associated with running the site. Please pay your rent to the new bank account as detailed in your letter. Thank you.
WHAT TO DO IN SEPTEMBER:
September is a month for harvesting; the early crops will have finished but later crops are coming into their own now.
VEGETABLE SEEDS TO SOW NOW: Spinach and oriental leaves. Keep well watered so that the spinach doesn’t bolt. You can still sow salad leaves, radishes and rocket for a crop before the frosts happen – and spring onions (for harvesting next year).
VEGETABLES AND FRUIT TO PLANT OUT: Transplant your Spring cabbages this month; make sure they go into ground that has been well firmed down. Plant new cranberry bushes between September and November in ericaceous compost. If you didn’t do so last month, plant out your new strawberry plants or those you have propagated from runners. The sooner you plant them out into their final growing positions, the better the chance of stronger plants and better crops.
HARVEST: your remaining summer vegetables (beans, tomatoes, peppers, sweetcorn, globe artichokes) and the first of your autumn crops ( leeks, pumpkins and maincrop potatoes.) Lift any remaining onions, dry off and hang somewhere cool and well ventilated. Pick the last of the aubergines before they lose their glossy shine; harvest your red cabbages any time up to November; keep lifting beetroot before they become too large: pickle, grate raw into salads or roast in chunks in the oven, heavily doused in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Continue lifting turnips before they become too large and harvest cucumbers regularly. Pick your autumn fruiting raspberries.
JOBS FOR SEPTEMBER:
- To help tomatoes ripen, cut off the lower leaves to allow the sunshine to reach the fruits.
- Cut down asparagus spears when the foliage starts to turn yellow.
- Earth up or stake Brussels sprouts.
- Remove a few leaves from pumpkin and squash plants so that the sun can ‘cure’ the fruit.
- Feed and trim celeriac.
- Harvest sweet corn when the silks turn brown.
- Cut out the old blackberry canes and tie in the new growth.
- As the potato leaves on your maincrop die down, cut them off with a sharp knife to leave 2 inches on each stem. Harvest on a dry day.
- Prune out mildewed foliage on gooseberry bushes and destroy it.
- Keep watering and making compost!
Best wishes for the month ahead!