Allotment Associations & Horticultural Groups in Harrow, Middlesex
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The first of the ember months, so we hope you remember to do all this month's jobs! Quite an uplifting time, and we hope you are in for a pleasant surprise when you put the fork in near the potato haulm. You can easily see what amount of success you have achieved with other vegetables - but not with potatoes. All the experts say that potatoes are good for clearing the ground, suggesting they do some magic, or perhaps they come out of the ground and clear all the weeds. It is more true that any ground clearance is done through the gardener's effort in digging deeply when planting the seed potatoes and lifting the resultant harvest of fresh potatoes.

Sow; winter lettuce, spinach and there is still time to sow an early variety of turnip so that the tops can be used as greens.
Thin: any earlier sown crops Runner beans, have you snapped off the tops as they get to the top of the canes? The tops would be fairly inaccessible and it is best for the plant to concentrate on producing beans lower down.

Tomatoes: must have their fruit picked as soon as it ripens and soon it has to be decided what to do with green, unripe tomatoes. The plant can be uprooted and hung, upside down in a shed, or the fruit picked and put into shallow boxes. They must be checked regularly to throw out the rotten ones before they contaminate the rest. Make your own Tomato Sauce with our recipe or you could make tomato chutney, that is delicious on cold meat. If you have a different type of tomato and want to keep the seed for next year, allow some fruit to get really ripe and crush them into a small sieve, wash them under a tap and allow the seeds to dry.

Lawns; what can be called "The winding down" period starts. Mowing does not have to be done quite so often, and if you have the energy you can think about treatment for the lawn. This means spiking the lawn, and there are special spiked shoes to do it the easy way, but conditions must be absolutely right- too wet and you will not be able to move your feet. Or you can use a special lawn spiker or a fork. The holes made by the prongs can be filled with a lawn dressing. Also, you can start using an Autumn & Winter lawn fertilizer (a little nitrogen for minimum top growth, but something extra to help the roots.)

Prune fruit; prune Morello cherries. Also prune loganberries and blackberries by cutting out the growths which have fruited this year and tie in the young shoots. Put in cuttings of currant and gooseberries. Cut them 10 inches long from the current year’s wood. All the buds are left on blackcurrants, but only the top three or four on red currants and gooseberries. The lower ones, which would be underground, should be removed. Insert in the open garden 9 inches apart.

Dahlias; are at their best in September and if there are no early frosts, will continue to give a grand show.

Harvest; main crop onions Harvest; main crop onions to dry thoroughly before being put into store. Thinking ahead, you can buy Japanese or over wintering onions to be sown later in the month. Or you can buy seed to sow at the beginning of the month. These onions are ready to use about a month before the main crop, grown from sets planted in Spring, but some gardeners find that they do not store well, it might be best to grow just enough to enjoy before the main crop is ready. Also it is time to think about buying shallots and garlic to be planted soon. Cut courgettes and marrows as they will be finished by the end of the month.

Fruit Trees; put grease bands around the fruit tree stems to catch the wingless females of various moths which try to climb the trees to lay their eggs in the branches. The males are winged, but the females not being able to fly, must climb. Grease bands are a good way of catching them.

Green Manure; Instead of leaving some of the garden empty so that weeds will soon flourish and nitrogen is leached from the soil by winter rains, green manure plants can be grown. For example; Field beans can be sown from September to November and are suitable for all soils as a nitrogen fixing variety. The plants are then dug in during early spring before flowering. Rye Grazing can be sown from august to November. It has an extensive root system which helps to improve soil structure. Dig it in during spring before flowering.

Ralph of Roxbourne Society

•   September events.

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