September's Top Tips
Start CLEARING summer crops – Be ruthless and pull up any plants that are no longer at their best, thus making valuable space for winter crops.
In wet weather, USE SPARE SPACE inside the polytunnel for drying outdoor crops.
PRESERVE tender herbs, such as basil, lemon verbena, and sweet marjoram (which start to deteriorate in damper, cooler weather). This will help to capture the last of their delicious summer flavour.
SHUT doors and vents on cold nights (which may start to become frosty before the month is out), but ensure VENTILATION is good during warm, and even cooler, days. Good ventilation in the polytunnel aids winter crops and helps to minimise condensation which can lead to an increased risk of fungal diseases.
PULL UP weeds and REMOVE debris, such as pots, canes, and rubbish that could be hiding diseases and pests, such as red spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies, that could be carried over into your winter crops.
As the weather gets cooler and growth slows down, REDUCE the amount of watering inside your polytunnel, ensuring that your crops are not left to sit in waterlogged, cold soil. Plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons may still have lots of fruit, but their growth is slowing down and they are using less water. If you keep giving them the same amount of water, they will quickly become waterlogged which could spoil the rest of your crop.
DON’T let cucumbers get too cold as the temperature drops. During colder days and every night, try to keep them as warm as possible. Give them a weekly dose of liquid tomato feed and they should remain productive right up to the first frosts.
REMOVE lower leaves from tomatoes as they turn yellow, allowing more sunlight to reach the ripening tomatoes. September is the time to HARVEST tomatoes, but some tomato plants can continue cropping into October – But don’t hesitate to pull out any sickly plants.
In September the days start getting shorter and the sun gets lower, so now is the time to REMOVE any summer shading to ensure your plants can make the most of the remaining summer weather.
WASH OFF any dirt from the polytunnel cover, in readiness for allowing more sunlight into the polytunnel as daylight hours get shorter during the winter months.
REPAIR any tears in your polytunnel cover before the winds get higher. Once repaired with polytunnel repair tape, there is no reason why the cover will not last its full term.