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The fruit and vegetable garden

September 2011

Vegetables 

SaladSeptember is the month where the season begins to winds down. The bulk of the harvest comes home now and as crops come out the plot begins to empty.

There's not a lot to sow, but you can be planting hardy winter lettuces along with spring onions. The most popular spring onion is White Lisbon and it is important to look for the words 'winter hardy' on the packet as ordinary White Lisbon will not go through a harsh period. Spring cabbages can also be planted out now but cover the seedlings to protect from pigeons.

That doesn't mean there is nothing to do in the vegetable garden. Your hoe should be continuing to kill the weeds before they establish for starters and you need to be keeping a close eye on the greenhouse crops.

Previously in The Fruit & Vegetable Garden...

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011


Index
The pests are still about enjoying the shelter and you need to watch out for fungal diseases if the weather is damp and the vents are shut. Leaving the door open in the day to ensure a good airing will help.

Tomatoes, peppers, aubergine and cucumbers will continue to need feeding, the rule being not to stop until the fruit has ceased to develop. Outdoor tomatoes and cucumbers will benefit from shelter unless the weather is exceptionally nice. With bush tomatoes, the fruits will be ripening but this will be attracting the pests and you really need to protect against slugs.

Once the potato crop is cleared, leave for a few days then fork over the top 20cm, which will reward you with potatoes that you will be amazed you missed when you harvested.

You may well have reasonably sized parsnips now but they will stay perfectly happy in the ground until you are ready, and they do taste better after they have had a frost or two on them.

The runner beans and French beans should be continuing to produce and the last of the peas should be coming in. Compost the foliage of the peas but leave the roots in the ground as the nodules on them contain valuable nitrogen.

The last of the onions should be drying now. Once harvested you need to ensure they have dried off to prevent rot in storage. They do best on a rack outdoors allowing air to blow through but you need to keep the rain off in some way without laying sheeting directly on them. Drying off in a greenhouse on slatted shelving can work but a sunny day raising the temperature results in half cooked onions that will definitely rot in store!

Fruit

Victoria plumsStart to harvest mid season apples and pears and store unblemished fruit in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. Continue to harvest ripened plums and continue harvesting damsons, peaches, nectarines and figs. Pick nuts once the husks begin to yellow and also continue to pick ripened berries regularly.

Finish summer pruning of early apple and pear trees, lift and divide old rhubarb crowns and prune summer fruiting gooseberries and currants.

Prune plums and damsons immediately after harvesting has finished, and as soon as wall-trained peach and nectarine trees have finished fruiting then prune out all dead wood and shoots which bore fruit this year, tying in replacement shoots.
Now is a good time to create new strawberry beds, so dig up rooted strawberry runners and transplant to pots or replant in new beds.

Protect autumn fruiting raspberries and blackberries with netting to protect against birds. Spray peaches and nectarines against peach leaf curl just as the leaves begin to fall and regularly collect and burn, fallen leaves which are showing signs of disease such as peach leaf curl or scab



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