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Happy New Year! In case you’re wondering –  I haven’t lost the plot. September has been the start of the year for as long as I can remember. I imagine it has everything to do with my agricultural roots and perhaps a little to do with being a teacher. Farm tenancies traditionally start in September as do school years. The previous year’s crops are harvested, seeds are collected and next year’s planting plans are finalised in a brand new notebook. Yes. It’s at this time of year that I get to indulge my unhealthy interest in stationery!!

Of course we are still harvesting from our plot – in particular borlotti beans for drying, courgettes, tomatoes,raspberries, dahlias, sweet peas and lots of herbs. But there is a sense of things coming to an end. I have been sowing green manures in vacant parts of the plot after harvesting and making plans for the coming year. And there is the Harvest Supper to look forward to.

This year’s plans also involve the local primary school where I have run a gardening club for a number of years. The exciting news is that this year gardening is on the curriculum. On Wednesday afternoons I will be working with each class in turn on a garden related project. I start tomorrow with Year 6 and a Dig for Victory garden to enhance their topic work on World War II. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

And if you’re looking for other jobs which can usefully be completed in September – either at home or with schoolchildren – here’s my Top Ten………

  1. Sow green manures on vacant parts of your plot
  2. Order garlic, shallots and over- wintering onions for planting next month.
  3. Sow something for Winter. There are some ready made planting packs available for those who want an instant Autumn into Winter garden from Rocket Gardens or River Cottage.
  4. Expose Apples and Pears to the sun to ripen
  5. Make chutneys with gluts of courgettes and green tomatoes.
  6. Plant Strawberry plants to increase your stock. If you are very organised you will have potted up runners from your existing stock. Aim to replace plants every three years and give each plant plenty of space.
  7. Earth up leeks
  8. Plant bulbs for Spring. This is a great project for school. We’re planning a daffodil maze this year near the garden shed.
  9. Place mesh or similar under pumpkins and squashes to allow air to circulate underneath and stop the underside becoming soft and mushy.
  10. Start your plan for next year’s edible garden..