- Maintenance tips & tricks
- 4-season garden care advice
- News from the gardening world
- Innovations & new product launches
Ask the Experts on +44 (0)800 669 6327 or Contact us
Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm
It’s September already as our gardening year gallops on! Where does the time go? Our day length begins to shorten and as I write this, signs of autumn are increasingly to be seen around the garden.
As last year, it’s been quite a difficult summer for us gardeners, with water shortages and high temperatures in some areas.
Let’s take a look at our tasks for September – another busy month!
For the second summer running, our lawnmowers in early summer had an easy time of it! We were mowing less often, with the mower blades raised to avoid stressing the grass in the hot, dry weather. Rain in July and August came to the rescue, with the familiar emerald green returning!
Time then for some autumn exercise with lawn maintenance!
Lawn spiking – use a garden fork to spike some 15cms deep into the lawn, 15cms apart. It can be hard work – so pace yourself! (mechanical spikers can be hired for large areas!)
Lawn scarifying – this involves removing the so called ‘thatch’ (dead grass etc.) by brisk raking with a ‘spring tine’ rake. Like spiking, this aerates the surface by removing the so called ‘thatch’ of dead grass and detritus.
‘Over-sowing’ – when the weather has been excessively dry, the fine-leaved, shallow-rooted varieties tend to die out, leaving the coarse-leaved deeper rooting types.
Over-sowing with a good quality lawn seed is the answer, but not before sieving some garden compost mixed with a little lawn fertilizer over affected areas. Rake the seed in gently and keep moist until the seedlings have established.
My flower garden has been superb this year, but not without a lot of watering!
Keep up with the ‘dead-heading’ and liquid feeding to get the most from your containers and borders into the autumn.
Don’t forget to save your seed – times are hard at present, so it makes sense to save seed from your favourite flowering items.
Would you like some colour in your garden early next summer?
It’s a good time to sow hardy annual flowers like calendulas, cornflowers, larkspur and scabious direct in the borders.
It’s time to plant winter/spring bedding such as wallflowers, myosotis, pansy, viola etc.
Don’t forget cyclamen, heuchera, heathers etc. for container planting.
Lift and dry gladioli corms and dahlia tubers.
Store in a garage/shed for planting again in spring.
Autumn is a good time to lift and divide herbaceous perennials if they are becoming overcrowded.
Take cuttings of geraniums, fuchsias, and perennial Salvias if you want more plants or the old ones are getting ‘leggy.’
Begin to plant spring flowering bulbs outdoors such as narcissi late in the month.
Pot up dwarf iris, narcissi, chionodoxa, scilla etc. for early spring flowering in the greenhouse.
Hyacinths in time for Christmas?
Make sure you get specially prepared bulbs for early flowering and keep them initially in the dark under the greenhouse bench or indoor cupboard until the shoots emerge.
September is probably peak harvest time in the vegetable garden, so freeze, dry and pickle to your hearts content!
A couple of weeks before lifting maincrop potatoes, cut off the foliage at ground level. On a dry day, lift the potatoes. Allow to dry for a few hours and store in hessian or paper sacks in the garage or dry shed.
If you want to save some runner bean seed for next year, leave the end of a row unpicked to let seed swell in the pods. Continue to pick the rest frequently to maximise your crop.
Remove the tops of cordon tomatoes if you haven’t already done so – it will help the fruit ripen. Towards the end of the month, cut off trusses of unripe outdoor tomatoes and take inside to ripen.
Clear the leaves surrounding marrows and squashes to help the sun ripen the fruits.
Raise fruits up on a brick or tile to prevent rotting.
Protect your winter greens from pigeons by netting over the plants.
Consider sowing ‘green manures’ where crops have been removed to grow and produce a crop for digging in, adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil.
Pot up herbs such as parsley and chives for winter leaf supplies on the kitchen windowsill.
There is still time to sow winter lettuce varieties and other winter greens such as lambs lettuce, kale, land cress, mizuna and pak choi.
Sow early varieties of broad beans and peas for early crops in the spring.
Make a trip to the garden centre to get your onion and shallot sets for autumn planting.
In the Strawberry bed, remove any weeds and straw laid to protect the ripening fruit to clean up the border for winter.
Separate any runners and pot them up if more plants are needed for next year.
Prune summer flowering raspberries by cutting the stems of this year’s fruiting stems down to ground level. Tie in new canes formed this year to their supports.
Pick autumn-fruiting raspberries regularly, they can crop through to December!
Pick ripe apples and pears before the autumn winds knock them down and store surplus fruit inside.
Potted peaches or nectarines placed outside for the summer should be brought into the conservatory or greenhouse to protect them through the winter.
There is still time to summer prune apple trees.
Order bare-root fruit trees and fruit bushes for autumn or early spring flowering.
Prune any late-summer flowering shrubs as the flowers fade.
Prune climbing and rambling roses as they finish flowering (other than more modern repeat flowering varieties – leave for later)
Camellias/rhododendrons – keep well-watered at this time as they are forming flower buds for next year at this time.
Order ‘bare-root’ shrubs for autumn or early spring planting.