September in the Garden

What to do this month in your Garden, with David Williams

The summer holidays are over the kids have finally gone back to school and it’s that time of year again when the seasons are changing.

Some plants are coming to an end and some are just beginning to flourish.

There will be lots to be getting on with in the garden. Dead heading this month will seem to be a never ending job. It is essential to dead head your bedding plants. This will keep them flowering for longer into the autumn. You may find that some will have ‘run out of steam’ and so will need replacing.

You could replace these by planting spring flowering bulbs. Pansies, violas, primroses or wall flowers are all great choices. Simply dig over the soil and add some good garden compost, blood, fish and bone. Dig it all in and replant. I like to plant some spring bulbs along with some winter flowering violas on top to get a longer flowering season.

Lots of your perennials will need cutting back this month. Although it may be quite nice to leave a few of the more decorative seed heads in the border. This will offer the birds a source of food through the winter. They will also look great with frost on them. It adds a bit of extra interest when there is not a lot going on in the garden.

September is also a good time to plant out any perennials and shrubs that you have. Dig out a good sized hole, adding lots of garden compost and a hand full of bone meal and then dust the roots with mycorrhizal fungus. Then place the plant in the hole and back fill firming with your foot, so the plant is secure and give it a good watering.

In the veg garden there will be lots to harvest. Your main crop potatoes will be ready. When you dig them up leave them to dry on the soil before placing them in a hessian or paper sack. Store them in a cool, dark, frost-free place and they will keep well into the new year.

Your pumpkins and squashes should have a nice hard skin by now and will be ready to harvest once you have cut them. Leave them to dry in the sun for as long as possible then store in a cool place.

The end of September is a great time to plant onion sets, shallots and garlic. If you plant them now they will make some good roots before the worst of the weather sets in. A good tip is to plant them under the soil level rather than on the top of the soil as the birds love to pull them out of the ground!

Rocket, land cress, lamb’s lettuce and winter lettuce can all be sown now, and if given a little protection will crop all winter, giving you lots of lovely salad. Collect any seeds that are ready to harvest so you have lots of to sow and swap with your friends next year.

Some varieties of apple will be ready. Simply place the fruit in the palm of your hand and give it a gentle pull. If ripe they will come away in your hand. Store in trays in a cool dark place away from strong smells as they will taint the apples. The same method should be used for pears.

September is also a good time to order your new fruit trees and bushes for planting through the winter so you get lots to choose from before they sell out. Although some of the bargains that get offered in the discount shops look great a lot of the time they are unnamed variety’s and from poor stock. It is best to visit your local garden centre where you will likely have lots of choice and an expert on hand to answer any questions you may have.