What's in season: September

The approach of autumn sees the peak of our harvest. Historically, this time of year has been central to the UK's rural calendar, and many areas still celebrate with a traditional harvest festival.

September is probably the most abundant month in the vegetable garden. Summer crops, such as salads, tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers and runner beans are still highly productive while autumn crops such as apples, pears, squash, leeks are nearly ready for harvesting.

Whether you grow your own or visit farm shops, greengrocers and markets, you’ll find a wealth of British crops for late summer salads or cosy autumnal feasts.

Vegetables to harvest or buy

  • Beetroot
  • Cabbage
  • Calabrese
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Courgettes and summer squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Fennel
  • French beans
  • Lettuce and other salad leaves
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers and chilies
  • Runner beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Sweetcorn
  • Shallots, onion and garlic

Fruit to harvest or buy

  • Blueberries
  • Figs
  • Raspberries
  • Plums and damsons
  • Apples and pears

This month we're talking about damsons

Damsons are small, dark purple fruits with a far more intense and acidic flavour than a plum. They get their name from Damascus where they are said to have been bred and eaten enthusiastically by ancient Romans. However, they are closely related to the bullace, a small tree that grows wild in Britain. There are many different varieties of this tree, including 'merryweather', which was raised in Nottingham during the early 20th century. 

Their rich sharp flavour makes damsons excellent for jams and puddings and it is thought that their deep colour was once used to make purple dye. Some varieties including 'prune damson' are also suitable for drying to make prunes.

Damson trees are very easy to grow in most soils and will tolerate slightly windy sites and light shade. Like all plums they are best left unpruned but, if you must prune them, do it in spring or summer when wounds can heal quickly. 

 

Harvesting in the garden

September recipes

Get inspired