• Maureen Little

This Month in the Garden - incorporating Wine of the Month - September 2020

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

With the demise of the View from The Wine Shed, I thought I would introduce a new regular post – This Month in the Garden. Many readers have asked for such a topic, so I hope this will fit the bill. This regular post will also include Wine of the Month - after all we gardeners will need a bit of a treat after all the jobs that need to be done.

This will be my first post of each month so that I can link it to the monthly gardening slot I do on our local radio station, Ribble FM, which airs on the second Friday of each month, 1-2pm, as part of their award-winning Countryside Matters show. Click here to go to their website.

So, let’s get going with


This month can be pretty busy as autumn sets in – the halcyon days of summer are swiftly coming to an end, and winter is just around the corner. Let’s have a look at a few things that we need to address.


If you sowed biennial seeds earlier in the season (such as Erysimum – see my post Wallflowers take Centre Stage - June 17th) they should now be big enough to fend for themselves in their final planting position. These are mine which I have grown from seed from Chiltern Seeds - they will look pretty good when they flower next year.

Talking of sowing, you can carry on sowing hardy annual seeds (such as Centaurea cyanus (cornflower) and Calendula (pot marigold)) so that they will flower earlier next year.

Keep dead-heading to encourage a flush of flowers. If you forget, don’t worry because you can collect seeds from many plants that you haven’t dead-headed, but make sure you store them in a cool dry place.

If you have any perennial plants that are getting a bit overcrowded or are beginning to lose their vigour, now is a good time to divide and replant them.

As your annual bedding goes over, clear it away and add it to the compost heap, or pop it in your green bin.

You can also start thinking about planting spring-flowering bulbs. Leave tulips until later in the autumn, though.


Now is a good time to sow broad beans (to crop next year), Swiss chard, winter spinach, and hardy salad leaves.

If you have harvested all your beans and peas, cut back the top growth to soil level and add it to the compost heap, or put it in your green bin. Don’t remove the roots, though: you can dig these into the soil to provide extra nitrogen for subsequent crops.

If you think there will be patch empty over winter, sow some green manure. This will help prevent any leaching out of nutrients, add nutrients when you eventually dig it in, and also protect the structure of the soil.

Keep harvesting:

aubergines, beetroot, Borlotti beans, carrots, chard, chillies, courgettes, cucumbers, Florence fennel, French beans, globe artichokes, kale, kohl rabi, maincrop potatoes, onions for storing, peas, peppers, radishes, runner beans. salad leaves, spinach, sweetcorn, and tomatoes.


If your strawberries have produced baby plants, pot them up to make new plants for next year.

Cut back summer-fruiting raspberry canes – the ones that have already borne fruit – and tie in the new canes ready for next year’s crop.

Harvest: apples, autumn raspberries, damsons, figs, pears, plums, quince.

Last but not least, OTHER JOBS

  • Collect up any leaves, especially from the lawn, to make leaf mould.

  • Assess your lawn and, if necessary, scarify and re-seed bare patches.

  • Continue watering plants in containers and any perennials that you have planted recently.

  • If you haven’t already, order bare-root roses, hedging and trees to be delivered during the dormant season.

  • Keep up with the weeding.

  • If you don’t already do it, think about feeding the birds. Establishing a routine now will get them used to where they can find food over the winter months.

This month I'm featuring Tempo Al Vino Alese Negroamaro, a lovely red wine, from Puglia, way down south in the heel of Italy. It's made from the Negroamaro grape, a relatively little-known variety. It has flavours of red fruit – strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants – with floral hints and subtle notes of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. The grapes are grown on young vines situated a short distance from the sea under strict organic farming principles. Wild fermentation takes place using natural yeasts – all in all, a labour of love from the vine to the wine. I tried it with spag bol - lovely. I also think it would be good just on its own - especially after a hard day's work in the garden!

Tempo Al Vino Alese Negroamaro is available from The Wine Shed's online store - click here - and at just £13.95, it's a bargain.