Start sowing in September

Viola 'Blue Sail'

I feel like I’m being pulled in two directions in September. On the one hand I’m shoehorning in a few last-minute crops before winter arrives; on the other, I’m getting the new season under way and sowing the first crops for next year. Either way, I’ve got a lot of sowing to do!

More seed sowing advice:


September seed sowing inspiration

Plants featured in this video

1

American land cress

I sow lots of interesting hardy salad greens like claytonia, mizuna and cornsalads under cloches and in the greenhouse now for autumn baby leaves. This is one of the best: it’s a great substitute for watercress and tastes very similar, but it’s fast growing, hardy and bombproof as long as you keep it fairly well-watered.


2

Chervil

Hardy annual herbs like dill, coriander and chervil are another favourite for my winter salads: chervil isn’t that widely grown but I can’t think why as I love it. It’s got beautiful soft, ferny leaves with an aniseedy flavour, it’s also very easy going and one of the few herbs which prefers the shade.


3

Autumn sown onions

The first of next season’s crops to go in the ground are my autumn-sown onions – you might have come across them as Japanese or overwintering onions. They’re hardier than most so overwinter as seedlings from a September sowing – I’m usually pulling the first golden bulbs from June, a good month earlier than maincrop onions.


4

Bishop’s weed (Ammi majus)

There’s still time to sow hardy annual flowers for a splash of early colour next year. I sow plenty of ammi, also known as bishop’s weed, in modules to overwinter as seedlings; next spring I dot them through the borders for a froth of lacy white flowers all summer.


5

Love-in-a-mist

Sowing doesn’t get much easier than this – I just crack open a packet of nigella seeds and sprinkle them onto damp soil wherever there’s a gap. The filigree blue flowers are quite as pretty as their romantic name suggests, and followed by handsome seedpods too.


6

Violas

I’ve always got a few pots of violas around in winter as their perky little flowers make me smile. They appeal to the veg gardener in me too as the petals are also edible: I scatter them into salads, or dip them in egg white and sugar then dry them for candied flowers to decorate cakes.

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Flower Seeds

Composting

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