September Gardening Newsletter

Dear Fellow Gardeners,

In September we often have the best weather but so far this hasn’t materialised – at least not in the North-West.  It seems to have been a good year for root crops though.  Our parsnips and carrots are very good.  It is too early to harvest them though if you want to store the roots over the winter months.  I usually wait until the end of September and then I pull all the carrots, beetroot and potatoes and store them between layers of soil or sand in a frost free but cool shed. It is important to twist the leaves off rather then cutting them and never wash the roots before storing.  The soil gives them a protective layer and the vegetables should keep well until the following April.   Parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes should be left in the ground until at least the end of October.  Then you could store them for convenience or they can also be left in the ground and harvested as required.

Growing in Polytunnels

During the year we have been filming for an online course in Polytunnel Production.  The course is run by NOTS (National Organic Training Skillsnet) –  There are 10 one hour classes and 10 Q & A sessions.

We visited 8 amazing organic growers who shared their knowledge and skills so freely.  Each grower has their own unique technique and system and it was so refreshing to see that a decent living can be made out of growing vegetables especially with the help of polytunnels.

NOTS is also organising the 2020 Biofarm conference – certainly the highlight of the year.  It will be online but with the most amazing speakers from around the world.  Read more about it later on.

Seeds – Joanna’s shop in Manorhamilton

Joanna’s seed and gardening gift shop in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim will open again on the 21st September 2020 with a new range of gardening gifts, onion sets, garlic bulbs and seeds.


The only crops you can still sow in September are the hardy winter salads.  There is a large range of them available.  My favourites ones are salad rocket and wild rocket, mizuna, mustard ‘Red Frills’ and ‘Green Frills’ and ‘Green Wave’, pak choy, claytonia, tatsoi and corn salad.  You can still sow annual herbs such as dill, coriander and chervil and also perpetual spinach, chard and annual spinach.  These obviously prefer to grow in a polytunnel or greenhouse.

You can also plant autumn onion sets and autumn garlic (indoors and outdoors).


You can plant out lettuce, scallions, turnips, annual spinach, spring cabbage and all your winter salads.


You can still harvest early carrots, beetroot, dwarf French beans,  runner beans, cabbage, calabrese, cauliflower, courgettes, marrow, kohlrabi, lettuce, scallions, peas, early potatoes, radish, spinach, chard and turnips.   New vegetables to harvest this month are kale and leeks. By now you should have harvested all your onions.  If you haven’t done it yet, do it soon and let them dry in the sun. If you have attempted to grow sweetcorn you should check the cobs now.  Just lift the husk a little bit and see if the kernels have turned yellow.

Garlic and Onion Sets

Garlic and Onion Sets will be available within the next week or ten days (third week of September).  Please check our website on for availability.

Onion set – Troy

Troy is one of the most reliable autumn varieties. The sets can be planted in a polytunnel or outdoors.  The indoor crop should be ready in May while the outdoor crop is ready in June – over a month earlier before the spring planted types.

Spacing: 10cm in the row

25-30cm between rows

Plant in firm ground with tips sticking out.  You may need to protect the sets from crows or jackdaws with a cloche or netting until they have rooted.


A few tips for growing good garlic:

Plant garlic cloves about twice their depth into well prepared soil.  Space the plants about 20cm apart each way or even further if you want extra large bulbs.  Harvest garlic when it is still standing (around June/ July next year).  Keep the best bulbs for re-planting the following year.



One of my favourite podcasts is the Charles Eisenstein Podcast and any of Zach Bush’s podcasts.  I wish everyone would listen to these amazing thinkers and pioneers and the world could be a better place.  Especially during these difficult times Charles and Zach show us a potential for a brighter and more sustainable future where we hopefully feel and act as if we are a part of the world and not the dominant species which rules and controls.

In one of Zach’s podcasts he says that we should stop feeling like an individual.  We (all humans) are made up of human cells and also live with trillions of microorganisms in every part of our body.   We wouldn’t be alive without them.  And it’s great to feel you are not alone, but part of a whole universe.


BioFarm Conference

The BioFarm conference will be held online over 5 days from November 9th – 13th 2020 from 4pm – 8pm.  The cost for the 5 day event is only E50.

So far the following speakers are confirmed with many more to follow:

Gabe Brown (US)

Allan Savory (Zimbabwe)

Dr. Christine Jones (Australia)

Nicole Masters (New Zealand)

For more information on the speakers and details of the conference have a look at their website



Happy Gardening