You may think the sowing season is over once you begin harvesting your crops and the days get cooler, but in fact there are plenty of things you can sow in September that will be ready in the next several weeks, into the winter months, or early next spring. These seeds will germinate because although the air may be getting cooler, the ground is still warm.
Spring cabbages, spinach, winter salads, chard, a second round of broad beans and even snow peas can be planted to give a fruitful harvest going after those dark cold months, though during colder winter days you’ll want to make sure your plants are covered with fleece.
Quick growing crops like pak choi and radishes will have you harvesting them before winter arrives as they each take only 30 days to come to fruition. Turnips are another fast grower and they prefer it cool. You may even get two rotations in. Plant one round now for a late autumn harvest and another in late autumn for a winter harvest.
There are many plants that need those long dark days in order to germinate and grow to fruition in the early spring such as onions, shallots and garlic. These have a long growing season so if you’re looking to have onions in spring, get planting now.
Autumn is also a great time to plant citrus. It gives the trees plenty of time over winter to focus on developing strong roots while they aren’t concentrating on making leaves or blooms. They also require less water during the winter months so it’s a great time to get them started with minimal effort.
After you’ve harvested your summer veggies and cleared the remaining plants, a great thing to sow over winter is a green manure. This isn’t the smelly waste of animals the word may imply (though you could add some of that as well) but rather lush, fast, low-growing plants that can be turned over into the dirt while still green or shortly after flowering. It adds nutrients and organic matter into the soil and creates good fertilizer for your next years crops. It’s especially helpful in poor soiled plots.
Now is also the time to think about your spring flowering bulbs as they need the winter months to build up enough energy to burst through in the spring. Aliums, Iris, Crocus, Daffodils, Freesia, Fritillaria, Hyacinth, Spanish Bluebells, Snowdrops and Tulips all fall into this group. They are the first bits of color you’ll see in the spring but they need to be thought about this autumn.
If your summer crop left you inspired, you don’t have to wait for next year. Autumn is the perfect time to plant!