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What to think about

In the Veg Plot, Harvesting crops   (Courtesy of ‘The Sunday Gardener’)

The veg plot is ready to harvest in September and time to pick, freeze and store.

Onions will be ready either end August/September depending on the weather.  To harvest, bend over the top growth (if this hasn't already happened naturally) and harvest during a dry spell and ease the bulbs out of the earth.  Onions need to rest on soil to dry out before bringing in for storage.  Some years it can be difficult to find a dry spell to rest the onions- if the weather is poor lay the onions out in the greenhouse - drop the foliage down between the slats and rest the onions on the slats- ideal.  Onions can also be dried in a shed placed in netting or even on newspaper in a conservatory.  The important point is that the onion bulbs are dry before storing and the same applies to harvesting Garlic.

Garlic is similar, wait till the top growth starts to dry and turn brown usually in August/Sept.  Store in a dry and light spot in the warmth rather than a cold area.

If you want to make onion or garlic strings when you harvest the bulb, retain as much of the top growth as possible to make into a plait.  If there is not enough top growth work in some string to help make a plait.

The images show garlic and onions drying in a greenhouse to ensure that before storage onions and garlic are fully dry.  When summers are wet this is the most practical way of drying out onions and garlic ready for storage over winter.  

Maincrop potatoes can be harvested this month and Maincrop potatoes need to be stored somewhere dry and dark.  The Hessian sacks sold by garden centres and on line shops are ideal for storing potatoes.

By this time of year it's hard to avoid a glut of something.  All beans whether French, broad, runners, and peas freeze really well.  Best results are achieved by first blanching in boiling water then plunging for 2 mins into a bowl of iced water, dry thoroughly and freeze.  

Courgettes are more difficult as they don't really freeze very well and I make a mental note, each year, to grow less plants next year as there always seem to be to many.

Tomato care

Continue watering either daily or every other day depending on conditions and feed regularly at least twice weekly.  As the month moves on towards October, if the plants are also winding down, reduce the amount of watering and feed; although this depends on where the Toms are being grown.  If outside by mid late September the plants maybe almost spent, under glass especially in a good autumn the plants may continue to produce fruit.  If the plants are growing they will continue to produce leaves and it is important to continue to thin these down to almost no leaves to encourage the fruit to ripen.  As the fruits ripen the vine will need extra support and ties using soft raffia is good as it reduces damage to the tomato stems.  It can be difficult sometimes to get tomatoes to ripen before it gets too late in the season.  

Spring Cabbage plants September is suitable for planting out Spring Cabbage plants remembering always they are the pigeon's favourite and if left uncovered, for even the shortest period of time, the birds will strip them to the core.  All Brassica need netting to protect from the birds, particularly Pigeons.  Salad crops and Herbs

Sow last of the rocket and salad and if the weather is cool cover with a cloche to encourage germination and growth.

With the tender Herbs-Basil, Coriander, dill & Mint it is best to pot them up later in the  month and bring in under glass ahead of any autumn chill.  

This is also a time to replenish dried herbs which lose their pungency after storage.  Ideal for drying are oregano, sage, mint and also if thyme and rosemary, although as hardy perennials they can be picked all year round.

There are several ways to dry herbs, one suggestion is blanching for just one minute and then strip leaves from stalks, lay on tray in the oven on lowest possible setting with door open to allow any moisture to escape.  Takes about 30 mins and when completely cool place in air tight jars.

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