September is already almost gone and here comes the autumn – by the way, Groww, our garden application has just turned its main theme colour to a warm orange for the occasion!
Autumn may be the time to harvest your last summer veggies – tomatoes and zucchinis, but there are still other things to do !
Harvest and keep an eye on things
if you still have tomatoes in your veggie patch you haven’t harvested yet, just keep an eye open : with a somewhat more humid and colder weather, powdery mildew is around the corner and might spread easily, and when it does it does so quickly you could lose your last tomatoes to it! Cut out any leaves under the last fruits, and branches that touch the ground. Early signs of mildew appear on the lower leaves : should you spot any, harvest the last fruits and cut out the whole plant – and take it away from the other – healthy – crops.
« Shall I burn the remains? »
Well, sincerely, we think not. Powdery mildew is in your soil, in your neighboor’s soil, in the air, everywhere, and burning remains doesn’t mean you’ll be safe in the next season.
Last harvests and collecting seeds
So now is the time to harvest your last veggie fruits – even if they look a little small. Tomatoes harvested green can ripen indoors : green tomatoes will ripen faster if wrapped in a brown paper bag which will contain ethylene gas and hasten the process. Store them at 55-70 F. (13-21 C.) — or cooler if you wish to slow the ripening and warmer to hasten it, and check routinely for ripeness.
A quick note : tomatoes don’t require light to ripen, but instead need a gas – ethylene – produced by mature fruits – other tomatoes, or apples or bananas ! So there is no need to place them on a window sill (thanks for the photo, Clarice Barbato-Dunn !).
Conversely, you can ripen a fruit that’s gotten a little big, sometimes too much, to collect seeds – for next year!
What can I still sow?
Salads, radishes, spinach – there are still things to sow for a winter garden! Choose your varieties well, including salads, some are more suitable for the first cold days than others.
This is the time to plant strawberries, red fruits in general, but also to bring perennial plants to your vegetable garden : multiplier (or ‘perennial’) leek bulbs (until mid-October), Daubenton kale …
Prepare next season
Add a thick layer of mulch on the soil of your veggie patch for the winter! As you’re also probably thinking of trimming down hedges and shrubs, just leave aside the small branches and the leaves as you do, and shredd it, mixing with some mowing remains as well. If you do not have a shredder, you can grind with the lawn mower, and mow over a layer of branches on the ground – it works pretty well! Providing a consistent mulching will get you a fertile soil in the spring.
Finally, plan your seedlings for the next season : Add plants as projects in Groww, and the app will remind you of sowing time!
Top image credits : Let ideas compete.