Clearing ground  September marks the onset of autumn and with that, the need to clear and prepare the ground for new crops.

Soil PH  Knowing your soil PH will help you understand your soil and give you a head start in producing healthy crops. It is not as complicated as it sounds and a PH meter is simple to use and not expensive.

Phacelia green manure sown after second early potatoes flowering in mid-September. It can be cut down and added to the compost heap, leaving the roots to enrich the soil.

Green manure  If you have bare ground where you have lifted crops, and didn’t sow green manure in August, get some in early this month. It is a crop grown to be dug back into the soil to release nutrients for subsequent crops. It also helps stop weeds starting to get a hold in the bare plot but it needs the last bit of growing weather to germinate and establish.

Compost  As you clear this year’s crops use the material to begin a new compost heap. Be careful though, not to incorporate seeds heads or diseased plant material.

Keep hoeing  Don’t stop hoeing this month. You need to get rid of any last weeds and bring slug eggs to the surface for the birds to eat for you.

Sowing and planting At the beginning of the month prepare the ground for broad beans and spring cabbage. Dig the ground over incorporating well-rotted compost from your heap. Then, at the end of the month, plant broad bean seeds and spring cabbage seedlings.

Plant onions and garlic at the end of the month. They are part of the allium family and they don’t like an acid soil. The PH needs to be above 6.5. You can plant them with well-rotted material from your compost heap but don’t put them on newly manured soil. The space that had potatoes in it this summer will be right. To guard against onion white rot make sure you don’t put them where you put onions last year.

New strawberries  Strawberry plants only fruit well for three years. Then you need new plants in new ground. This must be done soon to give them time to establish before the weather gets cold.

Blackberries and Tayberries  Cut the blackberry and tayberry canes that fruited this summer out, like you did for raspberries last month. Next year’s crop will grow on this year’s new stems.

If you want to plant new soft fruit bushes or trees this autumn think hard about their location on the plot as they are not easily moved. Most will come with planting instructions but if in doubt ask in the shed.

Runner Beans  Dig your runner bean trench this month so you can gradually fill it with organic matter that will rot down in readiness for next year’s beans.