Brace yourselves for the A word. September marks the start of official autumn (sorry). The equinox is now just a few weeks away. Though there’s some hope for an Indian summer, the light will drop. Shorter days, longer nights not long away. So let’s make the most of it.
Fruit trees are soon ready for cropping. We will be checking and picking old-school pears and apples. We will tie grease bands around the trunks.
It is time too for late plums and damsons (heavy echoes here of my mum). Needing to be picked now. The first of the comforting months of fruit crumbles and pies.
Maincrop potatoes will be dug. The last courgettes will be picked, our climbing French beans too (some of the best to be left to dry and saved for seed). The tipi poles will be bundled and put away.
We have hopes of the first of Kala’s red Thai corn. Perhaps to be turned in spicy butter in a pan on the plot. Leaves all around us will drop and be raked. The last of the early summer crops lifted. There will be many trips to the communal compost bays.
We will ease up on feeding (we mostly use comfrey and seaweed). Perhaps just some held back to boost the “new” rows of leaves, starting to shoot more strongly now.
We will attempt to make room for more mustards, winter salads and rocket. I will squeeze in a short row of radishes.
We will start the long debate on the merits or not of overwintering onions. Perhaps planting garlic. I suspect we will pass, though we’ll find space for spinach while leaving the plot to slow down.
Any surviving pumpkins and squashes will be cut and laid to cure in the sun. The last of our Basque tear peas will be saved for next year. Our summer is nearly over. Now how about yours?
Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com