As summer starts coming to a close and the nights get longer, harvest season is here. It brings the best the British countryside has to offer to our dinner tables and fabulous colour to our gardens. This is also one of the best months for foraging, as nature’s bounty is at it’s most productive. Despite the shorter days, this harvest season is one to celebrate!
- Hedges: finish trimming hawthorn hedges.
- Roses: feed the soil around the roses and dead-head as the blooms fade.
- Perennials: never allow to dry out, especially autumn-flowering types, such as michaelmas daisies. Dead-head faded flowers not needed for seeds.
- Vegetables: sow spring cabbages and lettuces for early winter use. Pick sweet corn-cobs. In the north, sow Brussels sprouts, Japanese onions and lettuces for over-wintering without cloche protection.
- Fruit: continue pruning restricted pears and apples. Pick early apples and pears before they ripen. Cut down fruited raspberries and support new canes. Protect September-fruiting raspberries from birds and wasps. Plant out rooted strawberry runner.
- Mow at least once a week, perhaps with the Winton or Agrint Finishing Mower. If the grass is dry, cut with blades on a higher setting.
- Aerate poorly drained lawns with a hollow tined fork.
- Feed problem areas and water where necessary.
Farm Animal Care
- Sheep: lambs weaned and turned out to pasture after the hay and silage have been taken.
- General: make hay and silage. Begin combining cereals and ploughing or cultivating for next year’s crop, perhaps with the Deleks Cultivator or Deleks Single Furrow Plough. Baling and carting straw.
- Blackberries: high in vitamin C and wonderful raw or cooked in puddings, wines, jams and vinegar.
- Elderberries: very nutritious and great in cordial, wine, puddings and jam.
- Rowan berries: bitter when raw but a great preserve to be eaten with game.
- Crab apples: not so good raw, but wonderful as a jelly.
- Apples: no need to go scrumping, there are plenty of abandoned orchards.
- Hazelnuts: a tasty snack when walking, or with enough, hazelnut butter.
- Hedgehog mushrooms: great in risotto, with a nutty taste.
- Sheep sorrel: a tangy addition to salads.
- Mint: great as a seasoning or in tea.