September is usually a plentiful month in the vegetable garden with many vegetables coming into season.
Continue gathering runner beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, cabbages, cauliflowers, lettuces, marrows and courgettes, cucumbers, beetroot, turnips, carrots, and potatoes. Use them as they become available, and be ready to freeze those that are surplus to your immediate needs.
Outdoor tomatoes will be nearing the end of their useful life this month. Even in sunny, warm weather, they are unlikely to produce any more fruits and the aim should be to ripen those that there are. Ripening can be helped along by laying straw on the ground beneath the plants, by cutting the plants away from their supports and laying them on the straw. You can also place cloches or polythene tunnels over the plants to protect them for a few weeks more.
Outdoor peppers that were planted outside can be treated similarly to outdoor tomatoes, but it is usually necessary to fork them slightly out of the ground so that they will lie down without the stem breaking. Any peppers that have not ripened at the end of the season can be left on the plants and the whole plant can be lifted and hung upside down in a cool dry place, where the fruits will continue to ripen.
Carry on earthing up celery - up to the base of the leafy part of the plant. Newspaper wrapped around the celery and held in place with string can be used keep the soil out of the heart of the plant before earthing-up.
Keep picking runner beans regularly to encourage the remainder to develop.
If potato blight is still a threat, lift and store the potatoes as soon as you can so that the infection does not spread to the tubers.
Lettuces for forcing such as 'Dandie' and 'Kwiek' may be sown in frames, as last month, together with New Zealand spinach in the open ground. This is a useful winter vegetable, well worth growing, which makes a nice change from cabbages.
Lettuce seedlings sown last month should be planted in frames or under cloches 23 cm (9 in) apart.
Any spring cabbages that were sown last month will be ready for planting in their final positions. Best use can be made of the space by planting them at half the final spacing and use alternate plants early in spring. This will provide a welcome early picking of spring greens. The remaining plants can grow on to maturity. Plant them 23 cm (9 in) apart, in rows 45 cm (18 in) distant.
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