Forward planning is key to a good plot that will produce food throughout the year.
With that in mind, there are still seeds that can be sown on the allotment as we approach late summer. Spring cabbage should be sown now in a spare area of your plot for planting out permanently next month. Keep the seed drills well watered and protected from slugs and germination should be around a week. Alternatively start the seeds in a cold frame if you prefer. The cabbage will stand the winter cold and will be ready to harvest next from next May onwards, a good few weeks earlier than cabbage sown during late winter.
Overwintering onions, grown from seed, can also be sown now, this time I prefer a seed tray, filled with proprietary compost, ready to grow on and plant out in early October. The onions will be ready to harvest by the end of next June, a good six weeks or so earlier than their spring sown counterparts.
Meanwhile radish can still be sown now and right through into next month to harvest before winter.
I do find that sowing seeds at this time of year on the allotment can slip down the list of priorities. It takes a certain amount of self-discipline to get back into seed sowing mode. After all there are plenty other things going on!
Continue to hoe during dry spells, perhaps interspersed with many fulfilling hours spent picking our food, glorious food. Runner beans, courgettes and radish need picking almost daily, they are growing so fast now. If Runner beans are left unpicked, for any length of time cropping is greatly reduced. Take off any large bulging beans you may have missed and compost them.
Harvest beetroot when they are the size of a golf ball for maximum flavour and tenderness. Larger ones look impressive but can go a little woody in the centre.
Keep a lookout for potato blight… This destructive disease unfailingly strikes every year in late summer, encouraged by any humid, damp August weather. Early signs are unsightly brown fungal patches appearing quickly on the foliage. In just a matter of days the whole plant becomes riddled and collapses. Cut of the stems at ground level as soon as sightings are confirmed to prevent the blight reaching those all-important potato tubers.
Any tomato plants growing outside should have their growth stopped by the middle of the month. Nip out the leading growing shoot just above the highest truss. This encourages the plant to put energy into setting fruit in unpredictable weather, hopefully before the weather closes in.