September is the month where the gardening season begins to slow down.
For the vegetable gardener the majority of the harvest should be taken out of the ground now. As this happens you will notice your garden begin to empty and as a consequence the amount of work to be done slows down. This does not mean that there is no work to be done.
You can be planting hardy winter lettuces, spring cabbage and maybe some spring onions but make sure that the packet says ‘Winter Hardy’ because if it doesn’t then a bout of hard frost may destroy all your hard work.
At this time of year you also need to keep on top of the weeds. Keep hoeing or pulling weeds before they become established.
Potatoes: Your lovely crop of second early potatoes should be out of the ground by now and if they’re not, take them up. The main-crop potatoes should also be nearly ready and the stalks (haulm) should be dying back. Dig out your main-crop potatoes and after a few days dig over the top 8” to 10” of the soil again and you will be surprised how many bonus potatoes you will find.
To do list for September
- Lift and divide hardy perennials such as Lupins, Peony, Primroses and Pansies.
- Plant hardy perennials and hardy evergreen shrubs.
- Mow lawns less frequently as growth slows and as you do increase the height of the blade (2.5cm) so that the lawn is not cut as tightly as it was at the height of the summer.
- Take cuttings of your most prized herbaceous plants.
- Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs.
- Check tree-ties and loosen if tight.
- Remove and compost hardy annuals.
- At this time of year Garden Centres reduce the price of perennial plants and bulbs. Now is the time to snap up those bargains and you will be amazed next spring at how the poor quality plant you bought suddenly becomes revitalised and rejuvenated.
- In late September (depending on the weather) you should rake up leaves, scarify the lawn vigorously and spike the soil to allow air in and to allow surface water to drain away.
- Apply a quality lawn fertiliser which is low in nitrogen and this will stimulate early grown at the first hint of spring.
- Spray roses for mildew and dead-head where necessary.
- Clip back hedges neatly so that they look well in the winter months.