Allotment, Gardening, Gardening Year, Gary, Grow Your Own

September is the month to enjoy the fruits if your labours.  A lot of your product will be ready to harvest this month, but it’s also time to start thinking about preparing for the frost and planning for next year. 

General

  • Complete pruning of soft fruit bushes –  apple and pear trees, in particular, will benefit from this
  •  Sow green manure, such as grazing rye – suppresses weeds over the winter
  • Feed all late crops with a general fertiliser – do this now for great crops when the time comes 
  • Dig up and compost any plants that have finished their season – ensure you have great soil for next years planting
  • Cut back old canes of blackberries – do this after fruiting and tie in the new canes

Harvesting

  • Beetroot
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflowers
  • Courgettes
  • Globe Artichokes
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Leeks
  • Marrows
  • medlars
  • Onions
  • Pumpkins
  • Radishes
  • Spring Onions
  • quince
  • Spinach
  • Sweetcorn
  • Turnips

Sowing 

  • Alfalfa 
  • Beansprouts 
  • Broccoli 
  • Cauliflower
  • Fenugreek 
  • Radish
  • Red onion
  • Spinach 
  • Spring cabbage 
  • Crimson clover and Italian ryegrass – they act as ground cover during the winter. When dug in, they conserve nutrients and improve soil texture.

Pests and Diseases 

  • Watch tomatoes for blossom end rot, and other ripening problems. These are usually caused by irregular watering
  • Wasps are attracted this time of year due to the ripening of your fruit. protect any grapes or fruit from wasps with netting or mesh. 

 

 

Allotment, Gardening Year, Gary, Grow Your Own, Halloween, Recipe

The best part about growing or foraging your own food is the delicious delights you can make with what you find. We’ve put together some easy recipes you can make with the top produce you can forage or harvest from September to November 

 

Raspberry Jam

Time: 30 mins

Makes: 3lb Jam

Note: you will need to sterilise your jars before you begin cooking your jam. You can do this by rinsing them in soapy water, then place on a baking tray in a low oven to dry completely. Keep them warm until you fill them

 Ingredients

  •         1kg raspberries, halved
  •         juice of 1 lemon
  •         1kg bag jam sugar

Method

  1.   Put a plate in the fridge or freezer
  2.   Put your raspberries and lemon juice in a large saucepan over a low heat and mash with a potato masher. Leave to cook until just boiling
  3.   Put the raspberries through a fine sieve to separate the seeds
  4.   Put the pulp back into the pan and add the sugar
  5.   Bring to a rapid boil for about five minutes
  6.   Drop a bit of your jam onto your cold plate. If it solidifies and wrinkles when you run your finger through it, it is ready. If not boil for another two minutes and try again, keep doing this until its ready.
  7.   Fill your sterilized jars

 Damson & Apple Crumble

Time: 60 mins

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  •         800g-900g damsons
  •         50g light soft brown sugar
  •         knob of butter
  •         1-2 tbsp sloe gin (optional)
  •         2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  •         For the crumble
  •         250g plain flour
  •         150g unsalted butter, cold
  •         80g light soft brown sugar
  •         80g demerara sugar
  •         50g ground almonds

Method

  1.   Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6
  2.   Put the damsons into a pan with the sugar, butter and sloe gin if using (or a splash of water if not) and heat gently until the damsons start to give off their juices
  3.   Tip into the base of a large shallow gratin dish (about 25cm long) and stir through the apple slices
  4.   Rub the butter and flour together until the mixture goes crumbly. Add the rest of the crumble ingredients and mix together
  5.   Put the crumble over the damson mixture and put into the oven for 30-40 mins until golden brown and the mixture is bubbling.
  6.   Remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes
  7.   Serve with custard or ice cream

 

Aubergine and courgette bake

Time: 80 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  •         2 large aubergines cut into 1cm discs
  •         2 courgettes, cut into 0.5cm strips
  •         1 tbsp olive oil
  •         1 onion, finely chopped
  •         1 red pepper, finely chopped
  •         2–3 cloves garlic, crushed
  •         1 heaped tsp dried oregano
  •         1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  •         50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  •         120g reduced-fat mozzarella, thinly sliced

Method

  1.   Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
  2.   Grill the aubergines and courgettes until lightly browned on each side.
  3.   Meanwhile, add the oil to a pan with the onion, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until they go clear
  4.   Add the red pepper, stirring regularly for another 5 minutes
  5.   Mix in the garlic, oregano and tomatoes, and simmer for 5 minutes
  6.   Add some of the sauce to an ovenproof dish and layer the aubergine mixture and parmesan and top off with the mozzarella.
  7.   Bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes until golden brown
  8.   Serve
  9.  

Nectarine puff tart

Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  •         1 sheet, ready-rolled puff pastry
  •         1 egg, beaten
  •         3 large nectarines, thinly sliced
  •         3 tbsp runny honey
  •         50ml  dark rum or amaretto
  •         large pinch ground cinnamon
  •         Zest of 1 lime

Method

  1.   Preheat the oven to 220C/200Fan/Gas 7
  2.   Lay the pastry sheet out on a sheet of baking paper and roll the pastry edges up to form a 1cm border and brush with beaten egg
  3.   Mix the nectarine, honey, rum and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well
  4.   Arrange the mixture in the middle of the pastry and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and golden.
  5.   Remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes
  6.   Sprinkle the lime zest on top and serve sliced

 

Pumpkin Bubble & Squeak

Time : 30 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  •         700g mashed pumpkin
  •         200g chopped cooked cabbage
  •         6 rashers bacon
  •         2 carrots, sliced
  •         1 onion, sliced
  •         2 tbsp butter
  •         2 tbsp veg oil
  •         salt
  •         pepper

Method

  1.   Preheat the grill
  2.   Grill the bacon until crispy
  3.   In a bowl, mix the cabbage with the pumpkin and other veg. Season to taste
  4.   Form the potato mixture into round patties
  5.   Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan
  6.   Fry your patties on both sides until just starting to crisp. Remove from the pan and put onto a metal tray. Grill until crispy
  7.   Meanwhile, fry or poach your egg
  8.   Remove the potato mixture from the tray and serve with the cut-up bacon and the egg 

Pickled Beetroot

 Makes: 20 portions

Time:  20 mins

Notes: You will need a rack or tray to put in the bottom of your pan for the last step to keep the jars off of the bottom of your pot

Ingredients

  •         1.5kg beetroot, destemmed
  •         130g caster sugar
  •         1tsp pickling salt (can use sea salt if necessary)
  •         330 ml white wine vinegar
  •         8g whole cloves

Method

  1. Sterilise jars and lids by putting in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Place the beetroots in a large stockpot with water to cover. Bring to the boil and cook for around 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and reserve half of the beetroot water
  3. Once the beetroot has cooled, peel.
  4. Fill each jar with beetroots and add several whole cloves to each.
  5. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, beetroot water, vinegar, and pickling salt. Bring to a rapid boil. Pour over the beetroots in the jars and seal lids.
  6. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot leaving a 5cm space between the,. Pour in more boiling water until the water level is at least 2.5cm above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Leave the jars to cool and store in a cool place

  

Roasted Plums

  •         6 dark plums, halved and pitted
  •         1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  •         1 tbsp sugar
  •         280g Greek yoghurt
  •         2 tablespoons chopped roasted hazelnut
  •         2 tsp honey

Method

  1.       Heat oven to 160°c /140 fan / Gas 3
  2.       Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place plums cut side up on the sheet
  3.       Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar
  4.       Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until soft and some juices run off
  5.       Divide among 4 bowls, top each with 2 tablespoons yoghurt, sprinkle with nuts and drizzle with honey

Pumpkin Soup

 

Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Notes: Can be frozen for up to 2 months

Ingredients

  •         2 tbsp olive oil
  •         2 onions, finely chopped
  •         1kg pumpkin ,peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  •         700ml vegetable stock or chicken stock
  •         150ml double cream

Method

  1.   Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan
  1.   Gently cook the onions for 5 minutes until soft
  1.   Add pumpkin to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
  1.   Add the stock to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the veg is soft.
  1.   Add the cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender.
  1.   Serve

 Apple Bread and Butter pudding

Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 4 

Ingredients

  •         75g  raisins
  •         100ml  cold tea
  •         3 apples, cored
  •         squeeze lemon juice
  •         400ml full-fat milk
  •         125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  •         3 eggs
  •         100g brown sugar
  •         2 tsp cinnamon
  •         1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  •         1 tsp vanilla extract
  •         ½ large bread loaf

Method

  1.   Grease a baking dish and preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 4
  1.   Put the raisins in a small bowl, add the cold tea and leave them to soak
  1.   Peel, core and slice the apples and keep them fresh in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon juice
  1.   Gently warm the milk in a saucepan, then add the butter and allow it to melt. Set the milk and butter aside to cool slightly
  1.   Put the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk until well combined. Whisk in the milk
  1.   Tear the bread into pieces and layer in the greased baking dish. Strain the raisins, discarding the tea, and scatter them over the bread, then top with the sliced fruit. Pour in the batter and sprinkle with some extra brown sugar
  1.   Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pudding has set and has a golden crust on top.

 

 

 

Gardening, Grow Your Own, Planting, Vegetables

August is a month of transition, it is the midpoint between summer and autumn, the days get noticeably shorter and leaves will start to drop. This is a month of change in the allotment too where most of your work will be prep for winter and next years planting. 

Harvesting 

Harvest beetroot

  • Aubergine
  • Curly kale
  • Beetroot
  • Cabbages
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Courgettes and marrows
  • Cucumber
  • French beans 
  • Globe Artichoke
  • Kohl Rabi
  • Onion
  • Pepper 
  • Potato
  • Radish
  • Runner beans
  • Salad leaves and lettuces
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onion
  • Swede
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato
  • Turnip 

Sowing 

sow

  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower 
  • Chickory 
  • Endives
  • Japanese onions
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • lettuces
  • Spinach 
  • Spring cabbage
  • Spring onions 
  • Sprouting Broccoli 
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips
  • Winter radish

Planting 

  • Cauliflower
  • Leeks
  • Marrow
  • Overwintering cabbages 
  • Pumpkin 
  • Squashes 

General Jobs 

  • If you’re growing aubergines pinch out the growing tip once they have 5 or 6 fruits
  • Cut back herbs to encourage a new flush of leaves that you can harvest before the frost
  • Continue to feed tomato plants with a tomato fertiliser
  •  Lift and dry onions, shallots and garlic
  •  Keep birds and squirrels off your berries with netting 
  • Tidy up strawberry plants

Pests and Diseases 

Aphids  – spraying your brassicas with diluted washing up liquid will deter them from landing on your crops. You can buy insecticides if you prefer, including a fatty acid soap to spray on the plants.

Carrot fly –   a particular problem between May and September when female flies lay their eggs the best defence to cover plants with horticultural fleece or place two-foot-high barriers around the plants.

Cabbage root fly– attacking the roots of brassicas, these flies can cause a lot of damage to your plants. Female flies lay the eggs on the surface of the soil next to the stem of the plant. Place a piece of carpet (or cardboard or fleece) around the base of the plant to create a collar, this will stop the flies from laying their eggs on the soil. 

Gardening, Gary, Grow Your Own, How To, Plants, Watering

 

Most of your plants need regular watering to survive, and the hotter it gets the more water they need. Watering big gardens and allotments can become a chore that takes time away from your other garden maintenance. Irrigation has been used to water large areas since the ancient Egyptians dug channels through their fields to divert river water. Luckily, you have a few more options available to you beyond diverting rivers. 

Irrigation types 

Irrigation works by supplying controlled amounts of water to your plants at set times, and there are a lot of ways you can do this. The method that is right for you will depend on how much sun your garden gets and if your plants have similar or different watering requirements

 

Sprinklers 

 

Easy to install and simple to maintain, the sprinkler system replicates rainfall by supplying water from above the plant. This is an easy way to water a large garden and if you get a simple lawn sprinkler can be one of the cheapest. There are advantages and disadvantages to a sprinkler system, and its usefulness will depend on your need: 

 

Advantages Disadvantages 
Covers a large areaCan cause overwatering
Can be automatedProne to disruption from wind
Can be used anywhereSome systems can be expensive to install
Low maintenanceNot the best system if you have different watering requirements

Soaker hose

 

These hoses are made of porous materials and release small amounts of water directly into the soil. More often used in vegetable patches and under hedges, this method of above-ground irrigation might be the best option for you if you want to conserve water. 

AdvantagesDisadvantages 
Conserves water Requires regular maintenance
Conserves soilTime-consuming initial installation 
Can be automated Low output
Waters soil directlyLimited coverage 

Drip Line Irrigation

 

Drip line irrigation is similar to a soaker hose but allows you more control over how much certain parts of your garden get watered. These systems can be placed at ground level or put over your plants if a more advanced line and nozzle system are used making it a good irrigation system for hanging baskets.

Advantages Disadvantages 
Conserves waterTime-consuming set up
Adjustable output Can be prone to clogging 
Long lifespanSlower than other systems 
Can be automated More advanced systems can have a big setup cost

 

Self-watering containers

 

These specialized containers are a great solution to keeping your plants watered if you are away for a short trip. These pots  have an upper pot that holds the soil and plant, while a lower reservoir holds the water and feeds it to the soil. Usually, these pots hold enough water for a few days, depending on the weather and evaporation rate – all you need to do is refill the reservoir. 

Tree bags 

Trees and shrubs need slow, deep watering to become established. Tree watering bags are put around the base of the tree and filled with water where they will slowly release it into the soil surrounding the rootball. They are an inexpensive and water-saving way of establishing 

Automate your system 

 

If you are going on holiday, are away a lot or want to spend time on other gardening jobs then automating your watering is one of the best things you can do. Setting up a basic automated system is simple and can be done in a few steps, all you need is a timer that attaches to your outdoor tap – this can be mains or solar-powered.

  1. Make sure your hose pipes and sprinklers are set up so you have total coverage of your garden 
  2. Attach your timer or regulator to your water source and set the times
  3. Connect everything together with
  4. Do a test run 
  5. Enjoy

 

Once you have the right irrigation set up you will find yourself with much more time to enjoy your garden and get the rest of your jobs done, making this a must-do job for the serious gardener.