September, a time of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness!’
The days begin to shorten, and signs of autumn start to appear. Yet despite the trials and tribulations of this year, our gardens have seldom looked better. Something to do with all the time and loving attention lavished on them in this ‘lockdown’ summer both by experienced gardeners and new converts, who hopefully have caught the ‘gardening bug!’
There’s still a lot of harvesting to do in both the fruit and vegetable sections of the garden, but our thoughts begin to think of tidying up for the approaching winter.
So let’s have a look at those tasks to do around the garden:
Time to raise the mower blades a little as mowing frequency reduces, to get the grass ready for winter and make the turf more resilient to the first frosts of autumn.
You can also apply an autumn fertilizer high in Potash and Phosphates (but not Nitrates as this will make the grass too soft).
It’s a great time to sow new lawns (or over-sow old ones). The soil is still warm and yet autumn rain is likely to assist germination and early growth.
Lots of produce to harvest this month! It’s a good idea if you haven’t already done so to cover your crops with netting to reduce damage from the birds.
You still have time to sow salad leaves, radish, spinach and baby turnips, though sowings late in the month may need cloche protection as they mature. You can also be sowing broad beans and peas to overwinter and produce early crops next spring, but make sure you choose suitable varieties. Sow green manures to improve soil fertility.
September is the time to be planting autumn onion sets and garlic. Time too for ordering rhubarb and asparagus plants to establish before the winter.
Crops may be heavy now, so think about storing your treasure by freezing, bottling or pickling!
It’s a time of change for flowers, with summer bedding schemes and containers beginning to wane. Keep them going by ‘dead-heading’ and feeding, but its time now to give a thought to your displays for next spring. Winter flowering pansies always provide some cheer in the dull grey days of winter and wallflowers not only provide a lovely background to spring flowering bulbs, but also provide delightful fragrance to welcome spring.
September is the ideal time to plant your spring bulb displays in the garden soil or in containers. You can also purchase hyacinths and baby narcissi bulbs to force for Christmas flowering! Bulbs are so easy to grow and so very rewarding and most will flower for year after year.
Autumn fruiting raspberries should be cropping well, as should cultivated blackberries and tree fruit like plums and apples.
Maybe you want to extend your cane fruit area? Well, now’s the time to be taking hardwood cuttings of currants and gooseberries for extra bushes next year.
Prune late-flowering shrubs and rambler roses when they have finished flowering.