In September, there is still a lot to do in the kitchen garden. In our monthly gardening tips, we have summarized the most important gardening tasks for you.
In our gardening tips for the kitchen garden in September, we tell you exactly what work needs to be done this month. First and foremost, of course, you can still harvest. The Andean berry (Physalis peruviana) has a real advantage over other late-ripening fruits such as blackberries, elderberries, or dark grapes: its lampion-like sheaths protect the fruits inside from the cherry vinegar fly. Harvest time is in September, as soon as the protective sheaths turn yellowish and parchment-like and the berries turn orange-yellow. Also called Cape gooseberry, this vitamin-rich fruit is a member of the nightshade family, like the tomato, and has similar soil and climate requirements. In late autumn, you should cut back the exotic plant and overwinter cool, but frost-free.
When harvesting apples also remove diseased fruit
Especially on larger trees, apples ripen less uniformly on the sides facing away from the sun and inside the crown than on narrow bush trees. Therefore, several harvesting passes are necessary. Also remove any fruit with rot, heavy infestation with apple scab, or other signs of disease. Only perfect apples are suitable for storage, the rest should be used quickly. Cut out rotten spots generously, they contain the fungal toxin patulin! Small brown, dry spots in the flesh (stippling) are caused by nutrient problems and are harmless to health, but the apples usually taste bitter.
Tomatoes and peppers: remove new blossoms
Break out the newly formed blossoms of your tomatoes and peppers regularly starting in September. Reason: The existing fruits ripen better and grow larger when the plants can no longer form new ones. You can give both vegetables another application of liquid vegetable fertilizer or nettle manure in September, and should remove any yellowed leaves on an ongoing basis.
Maturity test for sweet corn
It’s easy to determine the right time to harvest sweet corn: Pull aside the bracts and press your thumbnail firmly on the kernels. If the liquid that comes out is still watery, the cobs must still be ripening. If milky white juice comes out, they can be harvested.
Cutting cuttings of currants
Currants can be propagated in the fall by cuttings. To do this, cut shoots about 20 centimeters long from one-year-old canes. From long, strong shoots you can obtain several cuttings. Break out the middle buds so that the cuttings only from roots at the lower end. Then place the shoots ten inches apart in a 10- to 15-inch-deep planting trench. Fill the trench with soil, mound it up and press it down so that the end buds at the tip of the shoot are about a hand’s width above the soil. Set the strongest seedlings in their final location in late spring.
Underlay pumpkins with straw
Bed maturing pumpkins on a thick layer of straw. The straw cushion conforms to the contour and ensures that the heavy fruits do not deform asymmetrically, but remain uniformly round. It also better protects them from contamination and rot fungi.
Fertilizing celeriac tubers
Celeriac bulbs gain considerable girth in September, so they need a boost of nutrients. Work vegetable fertilizer around the tuber or water the plants twice with diluted comfrey liquid manure at two-week intervals.
Sea buckthorn berries must be harvested before they turn over. If left on the bush too long, their bright orange-red color will fade and they will develop a rancid aftertaste at the same time. Good varieties for the home garden are ‘Dorana’ and ‘Orange Energy’. They are ready for harvest in early to mid-September.
Let cornel cherries ripen well
Cornel cherries are harvested in August/September when they are almost overripe, meaning dark to blackish red. The fruits are then sweeter, softer, and easier to pick. The stones also separate better from the pulp. Yields can vary greatly from one year to the next. Large-fruited varieties for home gardens include ‘Cornell and ‘Cornella’ and ‘Jolico’.
Attach glue rings
Place glue rings around your fruit trees in late September to ward off frost moths. The flightless females climb up the tree trunks starting in October to lay their eggs. Important: Either place the glue ring above the connection to the tree stake or also provide the tree stake with a glue ring so that the insects cannot enter the tree crown via detours.
Sow green manure
Harvested beds should not be left fallow. Sow green manure instead. It prevents erosion, leaching of nutrients and enriches the soil with organic material.
Harvest rose hips early
Don’t leave the fruits of wild roses, rose hips, on the bush too long. If you want to use the rose hips for jelly or jam, you should harvest them by mid-September. Otherwise, the fruits will become too mealy and lose their fine acidity.
Voles begin to build up stores for the winter in September. To prevent the rodents from attacking your roots and tubers in the vegetable garden, you should fight them now with vole traps.
Harvest bean seeds for stock.
The thick seeds of mature pole beans dry well. Almost all varieties are suitable for this purpose. Toward the end of September, it’s best to wait until the pods dry parchment-like and pick the beans on a sunny day around midday. After plucking, let the seeds dry out in an airy place for about a week. Our gardening tip: Don’t use the thickest seeds, but reserve them as seeds for sowing next year. Pack the remaining seeds, which are also stain-free, smooth, and firm, in tight-fitting tin cans or screw-top jars. They will keep for about a year.
Thyme yields a second harvest in September. Cut thyme back by half when you do this. The best time to do this is in the late morning. Then gather the branches into small bundles and hang them in an airy, semi-shaded place protected from rain and let them dry.
Donald D. Greenwell serves as editor-in-chief, primarily responsible for the print edition of Crown-Times.com. He is a trained ornamental horticulturist and, after several years of professional horticultural experience in Louisiana, graduated with a degree in agricultural engineering, specializing in horticulture. In addition to his studies, he gained his first journalistic experience as a freelancer for horticultural trade magazines. After training as an editor, he joined the editorial team of Crown-Times.com in July 2020. His main topics are gardening practice, lawns, kitchen gardens, and houseplants.