From August into September

The full on blast that is August in the garden is over, things are gradually slowing down. The seasons are changing, to cooler mornings and evenings, and a dampness in the air is creeping in.

It is most noticeable up on the allotment where I’m not in that mad dash of picking, watering, and weeding that is August. I’m now in the gentler September where the dwarf french beans have finished, and I’m waiting for the climbing and shelling beans like the Borlottis to fatten up and dry off on the vine. The courgettes have slowed right down (Phew!) to a trickle, and I’m watching the winter squash continue to grow and ripen. The Swiss chard and spinach seemed to breathe a sigh of relief, they really don’t like the dry heat of August.

And the flowers are changing too – from the brights of the Californian poppies and the blues of lavender to the deep reds of dahlias, oranges of cannas and the brassy yellows of the sunflowers. Seed pods are creating a new landscape and are left on the plants to either self seed or for collecting to sow again next year.

There is still a bit of  late planting – the winter salads and oriental greens of Pak Choy, Choy Sum and Kailaan . And come October/November I’ll be planting out the garlic. There’s always jobs to do, it’s the pace that changes.

The big, bright and bushy flush that is August is gradually fading and dying down. Another summer over. A slower, temperate September is greeting me when I go to my allotment. But I’m still tasting August and summer when I eat homwgrown tomatoes.

The autumn fruiting raspberries are delicious, so much so that they never seem to make it back home! The sheer joy that is eating the 1st homegrown sweetcorn of the year took place this week. And I forget every year just how amazingly good it tastes – so sweet and fresh.

I still have to sort the crops for winter storage, finish digging the potatoes ready for grading and cleaning before they go into sacks, the garlic needs a good sort through and storing in a dry dark and cool place.

I’ve finally cleared the windowsills of the drying peas for seed swapping, they are bagged and ready to go. The sills will only be bare for a few weeks as the beans will soon takeover the space. And after that the windowsills will be decorated with the pumpkins and squash I’ve grown – in all their glorious shapes, colours and sizes.

So much to think about, so much to look forward to. The work doesn’t stop, it just lets up a little. Gives me time to reflect and wonder about the coming winter and of course the next growing seasons – what I’ll do differently, what I want to try and recreate.

Gardening and growing in August is like running at full pelt to emerge into September at a more sedate jog. I’m looking forward to ambling into October at walking pace!

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