Happily the allotment is showing little sign of slowing down with the food it is producing this year. Though early signs of autumn are undeniably with us, most seasonal crops are still doing well.
Courgettes are a case in point. Regular picking every three or four days ensures these remarkable plants maintain their production line, right up until the first frosts. It is not uncommon for the foliage to start showing signs of mildew at this time of year, though this seems to have little detriment to productivity. Courgettes are a definite winner for beginners and experienced allotmenteers alike.
I’m keeping a watchful eye on my newly planted out young spring cabbage plants. It is vital to keep them netted and to watch out for slugs which are still active during damp spells. Continue to gently hoe around the plants to minimise weed competition.
With the recent wetter weather, leeks have been putting on a lot of new growth. Sometimes they can bolt and run to seed without warning, sending up a premature flower spike. This is noticeable as the plants start to grow taller and in the centre the formation of the spike can be spotted. If you nip out the spike and dig the plants up, the young immature leeks are still perfectly usable.
As beans and peas finish cropping it pays to leave the roots in the ground. The roots are a source of nitrogen which is contained in tiny nodules on the roots. I tend to cut off the spent stems at ground level then dig the roots in during the autumn.
Maincrop potatoes are often dug up in September. If blight is suspected, cut of the haulms at ground level until you have time to harvest. This stops the blight spreading to the tuber, though it needs to be done quickly to be effective at the very first sign of blight.
Cut flowers have traditionally been grown on the allotment. My sweet peas are still producing a plentiful supply of wonderful sweet smelling blooms. However, if the flowers are not dead-headed quickly they will develop seed heads which then causes flower production to dramatically stop. Continue to keep on top of the dead-heading to gain another month of these sweet smelling flowers.
A selection of the crops in season this month down on the allotment include: Beetroot, cabbage, calabrese, cauliflower, carrot, courgette, cucumber, french beans, lettuce, marrow, maincrop potatoes, radish, runner beans, spring onion, tomatoes.