There’s a definite autumnal feel in the air, and cooler nights and shorter days signal change but the harvest continues so whether you have grown several things or just one crop savour the sweetness, flavour and satisfaction of growing your own. There’s still plenty to be getting on with in growing spaces.
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Late sown peas continue to crop. Sugar snap and mangetout varieties are ideal at this time of year as delicious pods can be harvested regularly and added to salads and stir-fries, you don’t have to be patient and wait for the pods to swell before eating the lot! When peas stop producing, and the plants begin to yellow, cut the plants off at soil level, leaving roots in the soil and cut up and compost the tops.
Liquid feeding can stop, it’s time to focus on ripening fruit. If you haven’t ‘stopped’ your tomatoes by now, it’s definitely time. Removing the growing tip in cordon tomatoes signals to the plant is time to swell and ripen fruit. Jossie from Lauriston Farm shows us how on our socials.
Whether growing inside or out keep a careful eye out for discoloured leaves, brown stems and discoloured fruit which may indicate tomato blight. Carefully remove any discoloured leaves to reduce transmission and keep a keen eye on plants for symptoms spreading. If problems persist tomatoes are best harvested early and turned into chutney. To avoid blight next year do not home compost blighted tomatoes or potatoes.
Late flowering strawberries will begin to produce fruit, try and keep ripening fruit off the soil to prevent slug damage. A sheet of glass or an old shower door positioned over the top of plants can help ripen fruit. Autumn raspberries will be flowering and slowly swelling fruit. Check fruiting canes are supported to maximise ripening.
Any young greens in warm, damp soils need protection from slug, snail and possible pigeon damage. Sowings of cut-and-come lettuce, pak choi and mizuna and mibuna (oriental greens) are best made in trays indoors for planting out at the end of August.
Young kale plants or winter cabbage will benefit from protection from the cabbage white butterfly- either check plants on the underside of their leaves daily or cover them with a fine net to stop butterflies from landing on the leaves.
There’s still time to buy a pot of supermarket basil and split it into multiple plants to grow on a sunny windowsill. This will give you several basil plants to harvest from for sauces and salads.
Maincrop tatties will start to signal they are ready for lifting once plants have flowered and leaves begin to yellow. Familiarise yourself with signs of potato blight in case blight strikes, and if, in doubt, you can now cut plant tops off and leave the tatties untouched for three weeks before harvesting to stop the blight from spreading into the tubers.
Autumn and winter are traditionally quieter on the growing front, but there are crops you can grow to keep you eating something fresh in quieter months or for an early summer harvest. So, rather than ‘spring’ it upon you, we thought we’d give you some notice to gather the necessary resources to make the seasonal switch. Read more here.