As the days get cooler and the evenings get darker, you may be put off spending as much time in the garden. But don’t let the thought of autumn looming dissuade you from keeping your garden in tip top shape! There is still plenty to be done!
Flowers may be losing their bloom but the best part’s just beginning in the fruit and vegetable garden. It’s time to harvest! You can reap the rewards of this years crop while preparing for next year’s garden. September is the perfect time to plant your spring flowering bulbs. Make the most of this time still spent in your garden before the rain comes!
Here’s the top jobs you should be doing in your September garden:
Hanging basket help
Carry on feeding and deadheading your basket and container plants. These plants will usually keep going until the first frost if they are maintained properly. Try feeding them using a product such as Gro-Sure 6 Month Slow Release plant food. This will feed your flowers and shrubs consistently over a long period. Perfect for autumn when you don’t always want to venture out in the rain! Keep deadheading annuals and perennials also to extend their bloom.
Divide your herbaceous perennials
As the weather gets cooler, you should divide herbaceous perennials. This will give you stronger and healthier plants when they come back next year. Herbaceous perennials include potato, peony, hosta, mint, most ferns and most grasses. It also gives you the opportunity to multiply your plants, so you can plant your lovely shrubs everywhere! Division should take place every 2-3 years for the best results.
Plant some autumn flowering plants
Most garden centres will offer sales at this time of year which makes it the perfect time to purchase some autumn flowering plants, for example sedum and chrysanthemum. Plant these in the gaps in your borders. These will keep your garden bright and colourful for as long as possible!
Buy your spring flowering bulbs
Now is the perfect time to plant bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths. These bulbs will be cosy under the ground until spring when they will bloom, giving you some colour early in the year. It’s also a good time to plant trees and shrubs. These will grow effectively in spring if planted now. Here at UpCountry you can buy 10kg of daffodil bulbs for just £9.99!
Fruit and veg tasting time!!
Keep harvesting this year’s crop of fruit and vegetables! What tastes better than a meal not only cooked but grown by yourself? Not very much! Have you got far too much crop and not enough meals to put them in? Try freezing, drying, pickling or canning any excess. This way you can enjoy the fruits of your labour for months to come.
Pumpkin protection and squash survival
Remove any leaves shadowing your pumpkin to ensure it’s looking bright and beautiful in time for Halloween! Place your pumpkins and squashes onto a piece of slate or wood to lift them from the wet soil. This will prevent them rotting.
Harvest your beans
Continue to feed and water your French and Runner beans. These will hopefully keep growing for a while yet! Harvest the crop little and often to prevent the plant from setting seed. This will get you a much longer harvest.
Tidy up time
It’s time to tidy up in preparation for winter. A thorough clean up now will be of good use when it comes to the spring. Remove any crops that have finished and remove weeds from around and within beds (and the rest of the garden if you’re being really thorough!). Plants such as beans and peas that may have finished can be cut back to ground level. These fix nitrogen which is then slowly released into the soil as the roots break down.
Pot your herbs
Plant some herbs such as mint and parsley into pots and bring them indoors. This will give you fresh herbs all through winter. They should be placed on your kitchen windowsill for the best light.
Prepare next years fruit
Surprisingly, it is a great time to plant strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and currant bushes. Even though it may seem like the end of their season! These bushes are best planted during their dormant season, giving you a great crop next year! As for this years strawberries, pot up any runners to make extra plants for next year. Plant out rooted runners alongside your new strawberry, raspberry and blackberry bushes. Tidy up the remaining plants and remove any straw. Leftover straw will attract pests and disease over the winter.
Harvest from the trees and bushes
It’s time to pick blackberries, apples and plums. Blackberries can be eaten straight from the plant or we suggest you freeze them for use later in the year! You could also use them as a perfect ice replacement if you don’t want to water down your Pimms! Plums can also be frozen. Start by washing them, before halving and stoning them. Lay the halves onto a tray and place in the freezer until frozen. They can then be removed and put into freezer bags before being stored back in the freezer for winter. Apples can be picked as soon as you have checked they are ripe. Gently lift them in the palm of your hand or give a gentle pull. If they are ripe they should come away easily. You are now ready to make a fruit crumble!
Protect the greenhouse
In the greenhouse you will need to be extra vigorous to keep it safe from pests. Empty your old pots of compost and decaying plants. Otherwise, these will become a haven for pests and insects throughout the winter. If there are still plants growing, try to water them early in the day so the greenhouse is dry by the evening. Damp, colder nights could lead to botrytis. This is a fungal disease also known as grey mould which will attack your healthy plants.
Love your lawn
September is time to revive your lawn after the harshness of summer. Top it up with turf or seed in areas where it is brown or sparse. The regular rain of September in combination with the fact it is still sunny will allow lawn to flourish. Raise the height of your mower blades as the grass growth begins to slow down. Aerate the lawn with a garden fork and rake any leaves or unwanted mulch from the surface. Feed the grass with a fertiliser specified for autumn. These should be rich in potassium and low in nitrogen. Why not try Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Lawn Food? Just £5.49.
Preparation is key with compost! Create compost bins in advance of the leaves beginning to drop. When they fall you can place them into your bin alongside any dead plant waste. This will be extremely useful when it comes to planting next year’s garden.
Protect your potted plants
Raise your containers and pots off of the ground for winter. You can use bricks or pot feet. This will prevent waterlogging once it begins to rain heavily.
So there it is! September means lots of hard work and clearing up. However it also means getting to eat all of the delicious fruit and vegetables you’ve worked so hard to produce! What more could you want. Enjoy!