September is a great time to plant overwintering onions and spring cabbages – it's also your opportunity to sow turnips, winter lettuces, broad beans, peas, and radishes to harvest next year. In this growing guide, we will look at vegetables to plant out and sow in September.
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Plant out or Transplant
Overwintering onion sets
Onions are such a versatile vegetable – they feature in so many recipes, and growing your own means you’ll always have them to hand. They are easy to grow from immature bulbs called sets. Although seed is available, sets are the easiest and quickest way to grow them. In autumn you can plant onion sets that will be ready to harvest in July.
Spring cabbages (sown in late summer) produce loose leaves or conical heads. The best month to plant Spring Cabbage seeds is July/ August with a view to transplanting them into the garden in October/November.
To Sow: Outdoor (Direct to soil)
Turnips are cool-weather vegetables seeded directly into the garden. Within a month, their greens are ready to harvest, and within a second month, the swollen roots are ready to be taken up.
Spinach is tasty, nutritious and easy to grow. You can even enjoy harvests all year round if you grow several different types. In September, Sow hardy winter cultivars, like the "Giant Cultivar".
Spinach can be sown now for pickings next spring. Sow direct in shallow drills in well-prepared soil, or in pots. Cover with fleece or a low cloche from October onwards. Sow outdoors, directly where they are to grow.
Winter lettuce can be the easiest to grow, with little effort. For best flavour, use fleece or row cloches from late November onwards. Winter lettuces will be ready to harvest in March or April the next year.
Broad Beans (or fava beans)
Sowing broad beans in autumn means plants can establish over winter and crop earlier the following spring. Broad beans take around 15 weeks to be ready for harvest if planted during the springtime. The autumn crop meanwhile takes around 25 weeks.
There’s nothing like the flavour of freshly picked peas – use them as quickly as possible after picking for maximum sweetness. The easiest types to grow are mangetout and sugar snap varieties, while dwarf varieties need little or no support.
By choosing different types and cultivars, you can harvest from June through to October. Pods are ready to harvest when they’re well filled. Pick regularly, otherwise, the plants will stop producing flowers and pods.
Because radishes mature so quickly, you can really sow them anywhere there is an empty space or sow in between rows of other vegetables such as carrots or beets. Radishes also happen to make excellent companion plants to help deter pests from other vegetables. For an autumn crop, sow seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the first autumn frost.
For more tips on growing your own veg, check out our growing guides.
Interested in renting out your garden this autumn?