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What to plant, harvest and cook in September with Kathy Slack

by Kathy Slack

published on 23 September 2021

What to Plant Now

There’s plenty to do in the garden this month, but I’m afraid it’s more about tidying up than about sowing. The beans and courgettes are almost over and need clearing away.  The fennel is starting to bolt but I will pick it anyway and hope to salvage some for a salad before it turns woody. The beetroot and carrots have been nibbled by mice, so they too need a tidy up.

That said, there is just about time to get some robust lettuce plug plants (Four Seasons, some frisée, perhaps a Red Oak Leaf) in a sheltered spot, and I’ll be planting the last of the brassicas (Wheelers Imperial cabbages) which are getting impatient having been waiting in pots until the fennel harvest is picked and room made for them. Chard is happy in the autumn veg bed too, and with a fair wind (well, no wind at all and a warm spell, actually) you might risk sowing from seed rather than plugs.

What to Harvest Now

Non-gardeners will tell you that autumn is here. They will be turning to pumpkin soup, warming stews and dumplings by now and wondering about clicking the heating on. But vegetable growers know that’s not the case quite yet. Crops that need a long summer to ripen are only just ready to pick – aubergines, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers – and all the sunny Mediterranean flavours are still front and centre of my menus this month despite the autumnal clearing up jobs in the patch.

My tomatoes, for example, have been especially late and are only now turning red. I think the slow, cold spring was partly to blame for their sluggishness, but the recent bout of warmth has saved them (and me) from kilos of green tomato chutney this winter.  I encourage you to wring out the last rays of sunshine from these late harvests before the clocks change and autumn really does set in.

What to Cook with the Harvest

To that end, I’ve chosen some tomato recipes that celebrate the summery harvests, but also lend themselves to chillier evenings.

Kathy Slack Tomato Salad | Summer Lunch

A Tomato Lover’s Salad with Anchovy Breadcrumbs

This is the dish I make with the first tomato harvest each year because only the best will do here. Use the finest, freshest tomatoes you can lay your hands on and lavish them with the best extra virgin olive oil and the most succulent anchovies you have in your cupboard.

Jamie Oliver’s Roasted Tomato Risotto with Sweet Fennel, Crispy Thyme, Garlic, Vermouth and Parmesan

Jamie Oliver’s Roasted Tomato Risotto with Sweet Fennel, Crispy Thyme, Garlic, Vermouth and Parmesan

There’s a little work involved in this recipe, but the results are pure, concentrated tomato-y-ness and undoubtedly worth the small effort. Also a handy way to use the fennel harvest which is ready just about now.

Ottolenghi’s Hot Charred Cherry Tomatoes with Cold Yoghurt

Ottolenghi’s Hot Charred Cherry Tomatoes with Cold Yoghurt

from Simple

The contrast of cool yogurt and warm, smoky tomatoes is the highlight of this dish. I eat it with flatbreads, or griddled sourdough doused in olive oil. It’s a terrific messy-fingered celebration of the harvest.

Keep up to date with Kathy’s veg patch adventures over on her Instagram and website, and don’t forget to order your copy of Kathy’s cookbook, From the Veg Patch.

From the book

And find Kathy’s other monthly guides here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July and August.


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