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Early September: stop sowing or keep going?

Ochtendnevel in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Morning mist in the Planty Garden
"Hey Jelle, what are you doing in the garden now? Or is the season over?"

This question pops up around the end of August. When the garden's all misty and cool, I get it. 

But stopping? Already? It's not even fall yet. And before winter sets in you can still do a lot.

It's actually a great time for the garden: the seeds sprout fast and the plants that are already there get an extra burst of energyy. Even the plants you pretty much wrote off.  

Come on, I'll take you on a tour of my garden: 

Re-energized plants

A lot of vegetables get an extra burst of energy at this point in the season.

I almost wanted to get rid of the Romano pole beans and bacon beans a few weeks ago, they looked so sad. 

But I kept them around, and check them out now:
Nieuwe spekbonen in september in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Bacon beans look good these days
Look at those new leaves, shoots, and flowers. What is this, spring?

The butter beans I sowed at the end of July - yeah, I know the app says that's too late, but I tried anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰  - look promising. 
In juli gezaaide boterboontjes staan er begin september prima bij
The butter beans sown at the end of July are starting to bloom
A long, hot summer helps with that. Let's hope it stays mild.

Cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchinis

Summer vegetables keep going strong.


See, the cucumbers are still in full bloom: 
Bloeiende komkommer Makkelijke Moestuin begin september
Baby cucumbers on the vine
As if we needed more. The fridge is filled with them:
Komkommers bewaar je lang in de koelkast in een vochtige theedoek
Cucumbers stay good longer wrapped in a damp towel
The plant itself will start to look less appealing, but in good weather, new cucumbers can grow for a long time.


Zucchinis just won't stop growing. I have to tie them up every few days as the vine stretches along the trellis. 
Bind de klimmende courgette regelmatig op aan het klimrek
Attach your zucchini plant to your trellis as it climbs
In rainy or cold weather, mildew quickly rears its ugly head. The first signs look like this:
Bij vochtig en kouder weer steekt meeldauw snel de kop op
White mildew on the leaves
It's a quick fix. Just cut off any leaves with mildew on them. And do it right away: you want to prevent it from spreading.

You can find our tips identifying and treating mildew here.

Sometimes even that's too much of a hassle for me.  And in my experience, plants with mildew last a pretty long time. Usually, they keep growing until the real cold sets in.


These yellomatoes are overflowing from the MM-Mini.
Bomvolle gele kerstomaat Gourmandise in Planty growbag
Yellomatoes galore
And the bush tomatoes look great too:
Balkon tomaat Maya in een Planty (of MM-mini)
Bush tomato in an MM-Mini
Every day we harvest tons of super-sweet cherry tomatoes too.

Topping time

If you want as many ripe tomatoes as possible, then it's time to prune the tops. The plant will direct all its energy to ripening the tomatoes that are already there, instead of producing new flowers and fruits.

Topping is easy: just cut the main stem off above the highest bunch of tomatoes:
Top tomatenplanten eind augustus
A topped tomato plant
But watch out: if you top a tomato plant, it will grow more suckers. Snip or pinch them off as soon as you see them. 

Your plants won't be winning any beauty contests anymore, that's for sure. 
Knip lelijk blad van tomaten in het najaar zoveel mogelijk weg
Ugly tomato leaves
Cut off any sad-looking leaves while you're at it. Don't be shy, the professional growers do it too:
Kale tomatenplanten: zolang je een paar bladeren laat zitten geeft dat niets
Bare cherry tomato plant in August
And remove any leaves that block the sun from your tomato fruits.

As long as you leave about 4-5 leaves, the plant will get enough nutrients.

Tomato blight

It rains more this time of year, so I keep a close eye on my tomatoes. Rainy weather increases the chance of tomato or potato disease - Phytophthora infestans.

Read here what it is and what you can do about it.

As soon as I see the first sickly leaf, I immediately remove it. And remove any tomatoes that turn a strange brownish color.

Sugar snaps and snow peas

Snow peas and sugar snaps sown in early August will be growing really well now. 

Depending on the weather, the first flowers should be out and the snow peas should be popping up soon.

And when they do, make sure you pick them quickly. Because at this time of year, your plants only want one thing: to produce offspring. They produce their seeds - the peas - faster than in the spring.
In peultjes groeien in het najaar de erwten sneller dan normaal
The peas inside the pods grow really fast

Harvest, harvest, harvest

In the meantime, we're harvesting our fill of cucumbers, tomatoes, and zucchinis. It's almost embarrassing how much the plants produce. That's why we often put some out on the street:
Overschot oogst Makkelijke Moestuin zetten we aan de straat
Free zucchinis anyone?

Does everything always go perfectly?

Well, no. It's still nature we're talking about. You've got heat waves - we've had them a couple summers in a row now - and those are tough on the plants. Then a lot of annoying critters show up. Apparently extreme temperatures don't bug them  ๐Ÿ˜›

Saskia is always quick to remove any duds, so I don't have a lot of examples to show you.

Except for this chard that bolted: 
Doorgeschoten snijbiet begin september
Chard going to seed
That's pretty weird because chard usually only flowers in its 2nd year. 

Dino kale often looks pretty busted around this time. Thanks, butterflies and caterpillars ๐Ÿ˜‰

But you'll see: it'll look beautiful again in the fall. These plants are tough as nails. 
almkool kan goed tegen vraatschade van rupsen
Dino kale will keep on growing

Keep your patches full

The season is far from over. With a bit of luck, you've got another two to three months before it gets really cold.

Don't be too shy about removing some of your plants even if you haven't harvested everything yet. 

You can sow again immediately in those empty patches. If most of the plants are ready to harvest, I'll harvest the rest along with them.
De laatste bieten uit het vak: haal de kleintjes ook weg
Harvest the smaller stragglers so you can sow again
You can sow something new right away. That's how you make the most of your garden box. 

Starting in September: What can you still sow right now?

The app shows you exactly what and where to sow. 

Dino kale and marigold are also options. Sow them now for next spring.
Net ingezaaide vakken Makkelijke Moestuin eind augustus/begin september
Freshly sown vegetable patches
I even sow Asian salad mix. Not all the varieties in there will grow well now, but the mizuna and the mustard should still come up. 

They can handle the cold really well, so I'll leave them to grow for a while. lot. With a bit of luck, I can harvest them all winter. Great for stir-frying ๐Ÿ˜€

Not up for more gardening?

Once in a while, I get a message from someone who has become so discouraged by the extreme heat, drought, eaten up plants, and other headaches that they just give up.

I can understand that, especially if you've just started. But what looks hopeless now, can turn into something amazing in no time. Nowhere else can you find so much variety and new opportunities as in a garden.

But if you don't feel like it now, that's no problem either. I sometimes neglect my garden boxes too. Even that can be fun.

Just look at these weeds: 
Viooltjes zaaien zichzelf uit
Violet invaders ๐Ÿ˜‰

Overgrown garden boxes

Think about it: what if you let your boxes get completely overgrown. So what.

A Planty Garden is easy to get back into shape. Just tear up everything, add some extra nutrients, mix it up and voilรก: in an hour your garden is ready for sowing again.

You can even do it now in September, or next spring.

Want to start right now?

That's no problem either. Even if you don't have a lot of space. Just look at our MM-Minis:
Makkelijke Moestuinieren in Planty's of MM-mini's
A full garden made of MM-Mini grow bags
What I want to say is: you don't have to do anything, but everything's possible. Just do what you want. That's why you started this adventure, right? 

Because what could be better than picking your own homegrown vegetables?
Oogsten in september uit moestuinbakken
Harvested veg all together now
So. Now you know what late August / early September looks like in my Planty Garden.

Let us know how it's going with yours. You can share updates with us on Instagram or Facebook

See you soon,

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