DIG IT with Fulke Andel

Gardening advice for the new (and not so new) gardener

Organically grown carrots collected from a garden vegetable patch.September is the month you should be busy reaping the rewards of your harvest in the veg and fruit garden. However there’s not much to do in the flower garden, other than dead-heading and weeding. It is time though, to get out and start planting spring-flowering bulbs for next year. Make the most of the remaining warmth while you can!

I know that almost every seed and bulb producer provides on-line catalogues these days, but there’s nothing quite as good as poring over a paper copy of a catalogue during the autumn, and planning next year’s flower and vegetable garden. This is also that time of year when gardeners look back and review their successes and failures. They then look forward to next year, and wonder what challenges the weather will throw at them.

Don’t be tempted to neglect hanging basket maintenance – a little deadhead-ing, watering and feeding can keep them going until mid-autumn. Once they are past their best, re-plant as winter/spring hanging baskets with spring-flowering bulbs, winter heathers, trailing ivies and spring-flowering plants.

Continue to deadhead plants such as dahlia, delphinium, rosa and penstemon to prolong the display and give colour well into the month.

A gardener pruning or deadheading drift roses.Now is a good time to divide any overgrown or tired looking clumps of alpines and herbaceous perennials such as crocosmias. This will invigorate them, and improve flowering and overall shape, for next year.

Take cuttings of tender perennials, such as pelargonium and osteospermum. These plants often do better grown from new cuttings each year. If you do not have a greenhouse, then use a light windowsill to grow them on.

Bring inside any tender perennials, such as fuchsia, gazania, lantana and abutilon, before frosts cause damage. Wait for the first frosts to hit dahlias and cannas before lifting the tubers or rhizomes.


Jobs to do for the Month of September

Sow / Plant Spring onions (White Lisbon), Lettuce (Arctic King)

Plant out Garlic, Autumn onion sets, Spring cabbages

Harvest Depending on how your crops are maturing, you could be harvesting:-

Beetroot, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflowers, Courgettes, Globe artichokes, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Leeks, Marrows, Onions, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Runner beans, Spring onions, Spinach, Sweetcorn, Turnips.

Fruit Tidy up cultivated blackberries: Cut off the stems that have borne fruit and tie in the new stems that will bear next year’s fruit. This also applies to summer fruiting raspberries.

Strawberries also need attention: Cut off the foliage about 1″ from the ground, clearing and weeding as you go. Any runners can be planted up to replace 3 year old plants that are best replaced now.


Divide herbaceous perennials

Pick autumn raspberries

Collect and sow seed from perennials and hardy annuals

Dig up remaining potatoes before slug damage spoils them

Net ponds before leaf fall gets underway

Keep up with watering of new plants, using rain or grey water if possible

Start to reduce the frequency of houseplant watering

Clean out cold frames and greenhouses so that they are ready for use in the autumn

Cover leafy vegetable crops with bird-proof netting

Plant spring flowering bulbs

Plant new fruit trees

Check that tall plants have adequate support

Roasted Beetroot with Herbs Garlic and Balsamic Vinegar in tin foil

Seasonal Recipe – Roasted Beetroot


This year I’ve had the best crop of beetroot ever, and another great crop of garlic. So here’s a recipe combining both these ingredients – great as an accompaniment for roast pork

This recipe serves 4, but you can alter quantities to suit. You will need:- 1 garlic bulb, cloves separated but left unpeeled, 400g of peeled fresh beetroot, cut into wedges. Half a dozen sprigs of fresh thyme, around 4 tbsp of olive oil and a good glug of balsamic vinegar.

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C (170 for a fan oven) Gas mark 5. Mix all the ingredients together in a small roasting tin. Cook for about 40 mins or until the beetroot is tender

Readers Tips When cooking runner beans, add a quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to the water, prior to bringing it to the boil as it will help to retain both the colour and flavour of the beans. A.D. Hendy

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