What to plant in September

Sowing broad beans

Planting in September is a good idea as it provides you with an earlier crop in spring, makes use of otherwise empty soil and saves you time on spring planting. Plenty of vgetables and flowers can be sown or planted in the UK in September, including hardy annuals like pot marigold and love-in-a-mist, which will bloom a couple of weeks earlier than those from a spring sowing. In the vegetable patch, crops like garlic and broad beans can be planted now, for earlier harvests the following spring and summer.


Vegetables to plant in September

Spinach

Sowing spinach in a seed drill
Sowing spinach in a seed drill

Spinach can be sown now for pickings next spring. Sow direct in shallow drills in well-prepared soil, or in pots. Cover  with fleece or a low cloche from October onwards.


Salad leaves

Veg to sow in September - mizuna lettuce leaves
Mizuna leaves

There’s still time to sow salad crops to harvest in the coming weeks. Sow in a sheltered spot outdoors, or grow in pots. Try mustard leaf, winter salad mixes, and mizuna. Winter lettuces such as ‘Winter Density’ can be sown under glass.


Broad beans

Veg to sow in September - broad beans
Broad beans in flower

Sowing broad beans in autumn means plants can establish over winter and crop earlier the following spring. Cover plants with fleece during hard frosts or snow. Try broad bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’, which does well from an autumn sowing.


Peas

Sowing pea seeds in the soil
Sowing pea seeds in the soil

Like broad beans, hardy peas can be sown in September to overwinter and produce an early crop. Choose winter-hardy varieties like ‘Douce Provence’ or ‘Meteor’.


Radish

Veg to sow in September - radishes
Radishes ready to harvest

Radishes mature in just a couple of weeks, so it’s worth sowing a late batch of seeds now. The warm soil and mild conditions will ensure they mature in time for autumn salads.


Turnip

Veg to sow in September - turnips
Newly harvested turnips

Turnips are another fast-growing crop that can be sown on bare soil in September – they do best in cool, moist conditions. Harvest as golf-ball sized, baby veg in around six weeks. Perfect for the Christmas table.


Onions

Veg to sow in September - onions
Planting onion sets

Planting onion sets in autumn means you will get an earlier crop the following year. Choose a variety that’s ideal for autumn sowing, such as ‘Troy’ or ‘Radar’.


Garlic

Planting garlic cloves outdoors
Planting garlic cloves outdoors

Garlic can be planted from September. Plant cloves 2.5cm deep and 25cm apart, in well-prepared, fertile soil. Shoots should appear before autumn and overwinter, then put on fresh growth in spring.


Flowers to plant in September

English marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Orange English marigolds
Orange English marigolds

English marigold has deep orange petals, which are perfect for a hot border or for cutting. It’s easy to grow – from an autumn sowing it should flower from May. Sow direct into shallow drills or on the surface of moist peat-free compost, in pots.


Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena)

Pale-blue, feathery love-in-a-mist
Pale-blue, feathery love-in-a-mist

Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist) is a cottage garden favourite and makes a lovely cut flower. Its dried seedheads are attractive, too. Sow in modules for planting out later, or direct where it is to flower (either the soil or in pots). Flowers will appear from early spring from an autumn sowing.


Cornflower

Blue cornflowers
Blue cornflowers

Centaurea cyanus often forms part of pictorial and annual meadow schemes, and makes an excellent cut flower. The blue-flowered variety is the most commonly grown, but different cultivars may have red, pink, white and dark purple flowers. Sow in September for an early spring display.

  • Buy Centaurea cyanus from Crocus

Queen Anne’s lace (Ammi majus)

White flowerhead of Queen Anne's lace
White flowerhead of Queen Anne’s lace

Ammi majus is best sown in autumn, resulting in bigger, better flowers in early summer. It bears clouds of cow-parsley like white flowers and is perfect for cutting. Sow direct where it is to flower or in modules for planting out later.


Poppies

Mauve poppy
Mauve poppy

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum, pictured), field poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and ladybird poppy (Papaver commutatum) can all be sown in autumn for an early summer display. Sow direct on patches of bare soil or in modular seed trays to plant out in spring.


California poppy

California poppies
California poppies

California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) brings swathes of bright orange-yellow to borders. Sow direct or in modular seed trays to plant out later.

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