Things to do in the vegetable garden in September

Featured in the September 2009 handbook.

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* Are your tomatoes still green? Hang them upside down in a greenhouse or indoors where they will continue to ripen.

* Or pick unripe tomatoes and place them in sealed brown paper bags either on their own (slow ripening) or with a ripe apple/banana (quick ripening). The reason for the apple/banana is due to ethylene gas production, which is a hormone that promotes ripening.

* Keep picking runner beans, French beans, courgettes and cucumbers regularly to prolong the harvest period up to the first frosts.

* Begin lifting root vegetables for storage such as carrots, beetroots and turnips. Parsnips are better left in the ground, as they taste better after the first frosts.

* To store the root crops, choose only undamaged roots, twist or cut off the foliage and store in boxes between layers of sand or old potting compost.

* Lift main crop potatoes. Leave them out to dry before storing (do this indoors if the weather remains wet) and store only undamaged ones in a dark frost-free place, in paper sacks tied at the neck Lift onions and shallots for storage once the foliage has died back. Dry and store in a cool, well ventilated place

* Earth up trench grown celery for the final time, leaving just the foliage poking out of the trench for blanching the stems. Harvest the last of the self-blanching celery before the frosts begin. Also earth up celeriac and leeks.

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