September is always a month of mixed feelings for us, it’s full of abundant harvests of squash, potatoes, gourds, raspberries, sweetcorn and there’s still more to come, it’s a culmination of this year’s hard work, but it’s also a month in which the gardening season begins to come to an end and as the day lengths shorten the garden is starting to look a little tired and getting ready for it’s winter rest.
Despite the unusually strange weather this year we had a good crop of squash 14 in total although not as big as previous years I’m sure they will be just as tasty. It was also time to harvest our main crop potatoes grown in a bed of woodchips the varieties this year were Desiree and King Edward both are reliable croppers and grow to a good size. The method we use to grow potatoes maybe a little unorthodox, but it yields some excellent results and the harvest is made so much easier because there is no need to dig the soil. Potato harvests have to be the best of all, the whole family gets involved, it’s like one big treasure hunt mixed with our unique brand of mayhem. We’ve done detailed videos of the technique used on our YouTube channel My Family Garden.
The greenhouse has remained productive and full of life, so far, we’ve managed to harvest four snake gourds and there are still quite a few young gourds left on the vine and if the promising warm spell continues then we’re looking forward to a few more. It’s only the second time I’ve managed to grow snake gourds in the UK so it’s one of the highlights of the year, they’re on of my favourite vegetables and they taste so much better when they are home grown and not flown in from half way across the world, from the garden to plate the very same day.
It’s been a very good year for tomatoes this year, we grew the classic gardeners delight, yellow pear, beefsteak and my personal favourite, san Marzano all grown outdoors and have been regularly harvesting fresh tomatoes daily since June. Unfortunately, good things don’t last, and the dreaded blight finally hit, it seemed like the plants were completely devasted almost overnight. Again, the greenhouse has come to our rescue, we made some late sowings of tomatoes which are still quite healthy and expect to be harvesting ripe tomatoes well into October.
As we start to clear garden beds it’s important to think about how best to overwinter them to protect in a way which protects the soil and builds fertility. We’re currently sowing lots of green manures in the beds that are already empty and those with crops still growing we’ll mulch them with homemade compost, grass clippings, fallen leaves and manure, even carboard. The most important thing is the get the beds covered!