In September, the weather can still be lovely, but it can also begin to get a lot colder. It is at this time of year that you will really notice how a polytunnel can prolong the summer season in your garden, and make your growing efforts easier as the temperatures begin to drop and the nights begin to draw in. Though the summer season is drawing in, there is still plenty to do in your polytunnel this month. To help you make sure you stay on top of things, here is your September polytunnel gardening checklist.
September Polytunnel Gardening Checklist:
Sowing in September
There is likely to be plenty of plants producing food in your polytunnel at this time of year. But while you can continue to enjoy much of the abundance, it is also important to plan ahead, and plant for the seasons to come. This month, you can still sow many crops, including:
Lettuce & other salad leaves
When choosing seeds to sow, be sure to choose the right varieties – ones which are specifically suited to overwintering in a polytunnel.
Tending in September
As well as sowing seeds and thinking ahead to the winter season and the hungry gap that lies beyond, this month there will also be plenty of existing polytunnel plants that you have to tend. Continuing to tend for crops is important. In September, you might:
- Remove any leaves shadowing pumpkins and squash to help them to ripen up.
Continue to harvest French and runner beans little and often to delay their maturation.
Continue to harvest tomatoes and take measures to encourage green ones to ripen.
- Take hardwood cuttings to increase your stock of currants, gooseberries and figs.
- Pot up strawberry runners for next year if you have not already done so.
Cut back the canes of summer fruiting raspberries and tie in next year’s canes.
Sometimes, tending in September will also include making difficult decisions, and pulling out plants that are still productive in order to make space for the next wave of plants.
Harvesting in September
Harvesting is one of the most enjoyable jobs in a polytunnel in September and there will be plenty of harvesting to do. You might be harvesting:
Lettuce & other salad greens
And more… if you’ve had a good year, harvesting in September can keep you pretty busy.
General Polytunnel Jobs This Month
Finally, there are a few other general jobs to add to your September polytunnel gardening checklist:
- Water early in the day to prevent problems caused by cool, damp nights.
- Make sure your rainwater harvesting system is all in good repair before wetter weather arrives.
Order bare root canes, fruit trees and soft fruit bushes for autumn planting.
Remove and wash any pots or containers that you are not currently using.
Consider sowing green manures to protect soil and keep down weeds over winter.
Gather falling leaves this month and next to make leaf mould or to add to compost.
Consider if/how you will heat your polytunnel when weather cools in winter and begin to prepare/plan for the colder weather.
Keep on top of things and you can keep your polytunnel healthy and productive all year round.
Originally posted 2018-09-03 13:45:32.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.