Sunday, September 20, 2020
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Things to do in September in your garden in central Portugal.

The children are back to school, the summer visitors are back home and the gardeners… are back in their potting sheds, of course! It’s time to prepare for the autumn sowing which Portugal allows us to do; well, to have a go anyway. Last year I was so excited about the summer crops I forgot to do anything for the winter / spring and hated seeing so many empty beds. This year I’m determined to keep the produce coming – and encourage you to do the same.

Here is your action list for this month:

  • Decide what you’re going to grow. Personally, my list includes peas and broad beans (legumes); calabrese, cauliflower, turnips, swede, cabbage and chard (brassicas); carrots, beetroot, radishes and onions (roots and onions) with garlic planted in November.  na horta dec2
     
  • Decide where these are going. Ideally crop rotation should be on your mind: legumes followed by brassicas followed by roots and onions. (These are then followed by solanaceae but there’s no way tomatoes or aubergines etc can be grown now.)

  • Put compost on the beds earmarked for the legumes, well rotted manure for the brassicas and prepare a fine weed free bed for the roots and onions. If your tomatoes etc are still going strong put compost around the plants as it’ll still work its way into the soil.

  • Sow the larger seeds in toilet rolls now and plant out when they’re about 10 cm tall next month. The little seeds can go straight in the ground. I make small trenches and fill these with seed compost, this seems to give them a head start. The onions, along with some lettuce, I’ll buy from the market as seedlings.

  • Start weeding! All sorts of unwanted things will start growing once the rain starts, and these take nutrients from the soil. Onions particularly hate sharing a bed with weeds!

  • Check your strawberries for runners. Unchecked they’ll put their energy into these rather than making new fruit. I’ve chosen a couple to be ‘parents’ and the new young plants, once they have some decent roots, will go into the strawberry bed this month.
    Strawberry
  • September can seem both autumnal and summerlike with temperatures soaring into the late thirties. It’s essential to keep an eye on any new shoots as these will need watering when more established plants may not. 

 

 

 written by Jackie McAvoy (read her blog The Story of Casa Azul)