With the summers receding and the drop in temperatures becoming quite evident as the month of September is approaching, days have become slightly shorter. But, September does not have to be the end of summer. Even though many plants will be past their best by now, some care and general maintenance will keep the gardening flourishing often into October. Though the weather conditions would not have much to add to the ornamental aspect of your garden, there still are many reasons to cheer about.
An ideal harvesting month, it is the most perfect time to pick the perfect raspberries and apples for homemade jams and pies, as you can store those for long during the winter months ahead. This is also the month for you to initiate planting for spring, while enjoying the last few of the summer fruits.
What To Sow and Plant in September?
– Buy and plant spring flowering bulbs this month and you will love the colours that will bloom in your garden during winter and spring. Get Daffodils, Narcissus, lilies, tulips, peonies, crocus and iris. For tulips, it is best to wait till the end of October though. So start planting these now, before it gets too late.
– If you have good weather, the asters, sedum and rudbeckia will keep the garden going for another two months yet, but make sure they are well staked as the taller varieties are prone to toppling in rain. By including asters and sedum you will help to extend the season for the nectar-feeding insects. The garden is filled with roses flowering, the lawns are greener, the late perennials are flowering, the sedum flower heads are starting to colour up. And, of course, the scarlet red, deep pink, magenta, cerise, and all shades in-between dahlias are in full flower.
– You also need to begin collecting seeds from annuals and perennials in your garden. Store them in envelopes after cleaning and drying them properly.
– For Christmas flowering, purchase already prepared bulbs and put them in bowls made of bulb planting fibre.
asters (left), rudbeckia (right)
– For a blooming and colourful garden in the following spring, this is the right time to sow seeds of flowering plants and perennial and hardy plants, as it helps form good roots. You can sow seeds of sweet peas, greenhouse and other hardy annuals. Parsley can also be sown to reap crop in early spring. Adding fertiliser is recommended to give your newly-planted trees a great start.
Preparing Your Garden For The Upcoming Winter Season
With the addition of moisture, this makes the autumn one of our best planting seasons as the roots of plants put in now will have time to engage with their new home before the onset of winter. This places them in a strong position to survive the months ahead and come away fast next spring. One of the best things about this month is that as it progresses, the need for mowing the garden reduces too. Start clearing your garden to prepare it for the coming months. Dispose the dead plants and shrubs, and dig and add manure to the soil to condition it.
Move plants and shrubs to other suitable areas according to the requirement and also, dig up all the potatoes before they get spoilt due to slug damage. If you have a greenhouse, you can relocate your cacti and other houseplants that have spent the summers outdoors.
Essential Things to Do
– To prevent pests and insects from crawling and destroying the fruit on your fruit trees, September is the month to tie grease bands around the trees.
– Tidy up your garden, trim the evergreen hedges and weed out the plants to give your garden a neat look for winters.
– After a long, dry summer, lawns will appreciate an organic, slow-release autumn feed but wait until the ground is moist and growth has started again. With the cooler evenings and autumn rain, mould and fungus are more likely.
– Take care of your vegetables and fruits: plant onion sets, sow winter salads and store potatoes for the winter. For best flavour, and storage, don’t be tempted to pick apples and pears too early. The correct time for picking, and storage potential, depends on the fruit and the variety. To test if an apple is ripe on the tree, gently lift it in the palm of your hand, giving a slight twist. If it is ripe, the apple will part easily from the spur. Pears, on the other hand, should not be left to ripen completely on the tree, pears need to be picked while still firm. Remove dead wood on wall-trained cherries. Shorten pinched-back shoots and complete tying-in. Cut out or tie down strong vertical shoots. Cherries are also susceptible to silver leaf disease.
– Harvesting nuts: Harvest cobnuts and hazelnuts when the husks start to turn yellow to brown.
– And in the herb garden there is plenty of fruitfulness, which means plenty of harvesting to be done, including seed to collect and store. Sloes will be starting to ripen, and elderberries and blackberries can be collected for jams, chutneys and jellies, or left for the birds. Harvest any remaining blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants and blueberries. All can be stored by freezing.
– Cut back shrubby herbs after flowering including lavender, santolina, marjoram and curry plant in mild areas. Take semi-ripe cuttings of rosemary, bay, hyssop, tarragon, rue, cotton-lavender and lavender. In areas where winters may be harsh, remove only the spent flower heads, leaving the majority of the foliage in place over winter, where it will provide frost protection for the plants.
– Collect and freeze annual herbs before they die back in the cold. Mint, chives, coriander, basil, tarragon, can all be frozen for winter use. Freeze in ice cube trays with a little water, or in the case of chives, milk, if you want chivey potato mash. Continue gathering seed of caraway, coriander, dill, angelica, chervil, anise and fennel.
– You’d need to reduce the frequency of watering your houseplants, as the temperatures drop. However, ensure to water your new plants regularly.
– As autumn is approaching next, cover ponds and other open water areas to avoid leaves getting underway.