September in the garden
Thereâ€™s plenty to be doing in the garden this month as the season comes to an end.
Hereâ€™s a summary, but scroll down if you want more information on any of these jobs!
In the Vegetable Plot
- Remove foliage from potatoes
- Pinch out tomato side shots
- Raise pumpkins and squash off soil
- Cover brassicas
- Plant autumn onion sets
- Sow early carrot varieties for next year
- Remove finished crops
In the Flower Bed
- Feed and deadhead containers
- Plant autumn flowering plants and spring flowering bulbs
- Prune climbing and rambling roses
Around the Garden
- Give your lawn a bit of TLC
- Set up compost bins
- Raise pots off the ground
- Install water butts
In the vegetable plotâ€¦
Remove foliage from potatoes
Prevent blight affecting maincrop potato tubers as you lift them by pulling or cutting off foliage three weeks before you lift them. This also helps to firm the skins of the potatoes.
Pinch out tomato side shoots
If you havenâ€™t already, pinch out the side shoots on tomatoes so that the plant can direct itâ€™s energy to producing ripe fruits.
Raise pumpkins and squash off soil
Help your pumpkins ripen up by removing any leaves that are shadowing the fruits. Raise pumpkins and squash on a piece of slate or wood to raise them off the soil and prevent them rotting.
Cover broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc with netting to stop the birds from feasting on them.
Plant autumn onion sets
Start planting autumn onion sets, and at the end of the month, plant garlic bulbs for next yearâ€™s crop.
Sow early carrot varieties for next year
If you want an early crop of carrots next year, sow early varieties in the ground now and cover them with a cloche, or grow them in pots in the greenhouse.
Remove finished crops
Start removing any finished crops and pull up weeds to get tidy for winter. When beans and peas have finished cropping, cut the down to ground level, but leave the roots in the soil as they will slowly release nitrogen in to the soil as the roots rot.
In the flower bedsâ€¦
Feed and deadhead containers
If you continue to feed and dead-head pots, containers and hanging baskets they will often continue to produce colour until the first frosts. Dead-heading Penstemons, Dahlias and Roses will also extend their flowering period.
Plant autumn flowering plants and spring flowering bulbs
If you have noticed some gaps in your flower beds and borders, autumn-flowering plants such as chrysanthemum and sedum will give you some extended colour and fill in the holes. Now is also the time to start planting Spring flowering bulbs such as crocus, hyacinths and daffodils, along with new perennials whilst the soil is still warm and we expect increased rainfall.
Prune climbing and rambling roses
If you have climbing or rambling roses, prune them back once theyâ€™ve finished flowering (apart from repeat flowering varieties which should be left).
Around the gardenâ€¦
Give your lawn a bit of TLC
Use a spring tine rake to remove debris from the surface of your lawn and then use a garden fork to aerate the soil. You can then spread a top dressing and work it in to the fork holes with a stiff brush.
Set up compost bins
If you want to make compost at home, get your compost bins set up now so that fallen leaves and dead plant material can go in to them over the coming months. Be careful not to put any diseased plant material in as the spores can remain in the compost and re-infect your plants.
Raise pots off the ground
Raise your pots off the ground by using bricks or â€˜pot feetâ€™ to help them drain more freely and prevent water logging. As temperatures drop, water in the soil can freeze and expand, potentially causing pots to crack or split.
Install water butts
Install water butts to collect the rain over the autumn and winter â€“ great for watering plants that like acidic growing conditions (ericaceous) such as Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas.
For the wildlife…
Try not to go too mad with the autumn tidy up – gardens provide fantastic shelter for wildlife over autumn.
Food & water
Continue to leave out fresh water and food for birds – high calorie foods such as sunflower hearts and fat balls will be beneficial for this and the coming months. Meat-based cat or dog food will be appreciated by hedgehogs looking for food before hibernation.
Log / leaf piles & bug hotels
Make a log, leaf pile and/ or bug hotel – this provides a safe and sheltered space for animals and insects throughout the colder months.
Clean out old nest boxes or put up a new one! Though nesting season is over, birds will still use them as a place of refuge over the colder months (and use it as an opportunity to stake out any new homes for next year nesting season).
Clean out your ponds of old debris and fallen leaves to prevent them rotting over autumn and winter, and tidy up pond plants.