September is a splendid month, often combining the best of summer with the best of autumn. Let’s hope for sunshine and pleasant warmth combined with the start of fabulous autumn colour and a bumper harvest from our fruit and veg plants.
September colour comes from dahlias, echinaceas, rudbeckias and sedums whilst grasses and seed heads add interest and movement. Tender veg will still be cropping, onions will be drying, and apples will be ready for wrapping and storing. Throughout summer we’ve enjoyed food fresh from the garden. Now is the time to squirrel things away for the less productive months ahead.
The days will be shortening and the temperatures dropping so it’s time to move houseplants back indoors. Depending on where you live, other tender plants will need taking under cover and do check that your fleece hasn’t been decimated by mice over the summer! You’ll be needing it soon for frost protection.
I am now starting to cut back those summer spent perennials to make way for spring bulb planting and for winter flowering pansies, bellis and polyanthus. Other jobs I need to fit in and you may need to focus on this month include:
1. September is a good month for repairing or for starting a new lawn from seed. Suttons Self-Repairing Lawn Seed is the perfect all-in-one solution, self-repairing in just 7-10 days.
2. Before leaves start to fall, place netting over your pond. Do please check the netting regularly to make sure no frogs or newts are trapped.
3. Now is a good time for planting new perennials and for moving existing ones, that’s me on the case. The soil is still warm and the autumn rains will help the roots to establish.
4. Continue picking tomatoes, courgettes, beans and other tender veg. September is pickle and chutney making month, or perhaps have a go at fermenting your veg, using a Kilner Fermentation Set.
5. Order and plant spring bulbs, there’s always room for a few more! Consider planting in an area where the bulbs can be left to naturalise. Remember that the planting hole needs to be roughly three times the height of the bulb.
6. To maximise on reducing light levels remove all shade paint from your greenhouse glass and give the glass a good wash, inside and out.
7. Order sweet pea seed now for sowing in October. Growing a few different varieties will give you a mix of colour, stem length plus fabulous scent.
8. Plant autumn onion sets, shallots and garlic for an early crop next year.
9. Towards the end of the month plant indoor bulbs to force for Christmas flowering. Choose bowls with no drainage holes and use specialist bulb compost as this will encourage root growth and control moisture levels.
10. Some hardy annuals can be sown now. Protect over winter and your reward will be strong, early flowering plants next summer.
The welcome increase in wildlife friendly gardening has resulted in our gardens being less tidy than in the past, with seed heads being left and the traditional “putting the garden to bed” clear up being much diluted.
Some plants will however benefit from a trim this month, whilst you can still identify the dead branches and stems from the living. Simply take a sharp pair of secateurs and snip off any damaged or dead material whilst creating an attractive open shape, chat or message me on the website if I can assist you in any way - happy snipping!