Early September - keep the growing going

I'm giving tomato plants lots of care and attention and aiming for good picking in October.

Generous feeding now will keep growth strong for a while, and supply the developing fruits. All growing points above head-height are stopped, and all side-shoots above waist height are removed. But one low strong side-shoot on each plant can grow and bear two or three trusses, each shortened to leave the best flowers. Damaged or diseased leaves are removed - but I try to do all cutting when the air is dry, in the hope that mildew spores will fail to establish.

Sowing carrots now is a gamble as are beetroot. I'll chance a sowing of 'mange-tout' peas, which could cheer up late October or even November.

Lettuce sown now can do well, though firm hearts may not form. Four or five different varieities can mature successively and may well mature into December.

Spinach and chard sown now will supply during the shortest days


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