September is an important time in the garden — it’s a good month to plant bulbs, bedding plants and perennials to provide colour in the garden next spring and summer. Now is the time for planting herbaceous perennials, harvesting autumn fruiting raspberries and planning and preparing for new hedge plantings.
Keep recently planted trees and shrubs well watered and if you have planted bamboos or Hydrangeas in the past six to eight weeks, make sure to give them liberal quantities of water during dry spells. You can conserve or store water in water butts. Houseplants will require less watering as you move later into the year. Try to confine your watering to early in the day allowing the plants foliage to be dry going into the night.
Clear out cold frames and glasshouses in preparation for autumn use — perhaps for an overwintered crop of lettuce, salads, Parsley or carrots? Or maybe you require the space to overwinter some Geraniums or tender plants that will appreciate the protection of a glasshouse from the worst ravages of the winter weather?
Plant spring flowering bulbs especially Daffodils, Narcissi and Crocus.
Fruit and Vegetables: Continue sowing of vegetables for overwintering including spinach, winter, lettuce or Oriental vegetables. Plant overwintering onion sets. Plant out spring cabbage, taking precautions against pigeon or rabbit damage. Netting is recommended. Grazers is a good repellant against rabbits and is effective for up to six weeks.
Finish tying in shoots on wall-trained fan-trained fruit trees. Cut back old canes of blackberries, loganberries and tayberries. Prune blackcurrants. Spur prune kiwifruits after harvest.
Harvest apples when ripe. Hand pick for preference. Look for windfalls under the trees indicating when the fruit is ripe. As fruit ripens, handpick the fruit carefully and store in a cool, dry store. Make sure there are no sprays, chemicals or paints in the vicinity, which will taint the fruit.
Prepare the ground for new fruit trees and bushes. Choose a sunny, well-drained position for your fruit trees. Avoid frost pockets or areas that have bad or poor drainage. Don’t plant where fruit has been grown previously. If there is a lime deficiency in the soil this should be corrected prior to planting by an application of ground limestone. A ph test is recommended to assess lime levels.
When asparagus foliage turns brown, cut it down. Give the plants a good mulch after cutting down and removing the old growth off site. Use some well-composted compost to mulch or use well rotten farmyard or stable manure.
Water tomatoes consistently, preferably watering early in the day, especially as we move further into autumn. Feed regularly with a liquid tomato feed. Ventilate the greenhouse well on dry, sunny days.
Keep up watering on winter squashes, vegetable marrows, pumpkins and courgettes, especially during dry spells. The next four to five weeks are critical for these, as generally it is the last weeks of rapid and continuing fruit development. As they mature at the end of September or early October, they need to be brought indoors into a cool, air but frost-free shed. As with storing apples and pears, avoid any adjacent contaminants, which will taint the fruit. Onions and Shallots will be reaching or have reached maturity now. Harvest these carefully, drying thoroughly outdoors prior to storing indoors overwinter. Allow them to dry outdoors in a sunny place with plenty of air movement such as on a wire fence, on the roof of a sunny shed or indeed anywhere they can be exposed to the maximum amount of sunshine and air movement. When thoroughly dry, bring indoors and tie in bunches, which may be suspended from a shed or store.
Lawns: Mow less frequently as grass growth slows down. Adjust the height of cut as the growth rate of the grass slows down. This will allow the lawn to withstand the last of the warm, dry weather and also make the lawn more robust to treading when wetter weather arrives. Apply an autumn feed high in potash. Do this after scarifying and aerating but before top dressing. Do not give summer feeds at this time of year, as it will only cause weak, soft growth, which can be more prone to disease in the autumn weather. Sow new lawns this month — aiming to have new lawns in place before the end of September.
Sowing after September is not recommended as the lawn won’t have sufficient time to establish before the onset of winter. Sowing in September takes advantage of the accumulated soil heat from the summer and less dry conditions with rainfall, dews etc, which will allow for the quick and early establishment of your new lawn.
Sweet William, Wallflowers, Pansies: Sweet William for flowering early next summer should be planted into its flowering quarters now. Also plant colourful and fragrant wallflowers for flowering next spring. Plant as early as possible to ensure good establishment before the winter. Pansies and Violas may be planted now in containers or beds to provide colour in winter and well into late spring next year.