September - It is still warm enough to sit out in September and enjoy the autumn colour - bright berries, flaming foliage and colourful flowers such as dahlias brighten up the day.
- Collect seed from plants to sow now or store over winter
- Take cuttings of clematis
- Prune conifer hedges. If they have grown over the desired height, cut back their tops with a hedge trimmer
- Clear bedding plants when they are past their best and plant out forget-me-nots and wallflowers for a display next spring
- Continue to divide and take cuttings from herbaceous perennials and bedding plants
- Buy and plant spring flowering bulbs
Tip: Re-establish evergreens
September is the time to move established evergreens. With air temperatures falling there will be little new top growth but while the soil is still warm, roots will carry on growing below ground, so there’s time for plants to get established before winter. Don’t forget to regularly water plants toy have moved if conditions are dry, to help give them the best start.
In the greenhouse
- Water crops in pots and grow bags every morning and at night too if necessary
- Damp down the greenhouse floor each morning on hot days
- Add liquid feed to at least one watering a week to keep plants growing strongly
- Look out for pests and take immediate action against anything you find
- Buy narcissus and hyacinths to plant for indoor displays
- Clean and tidy cold frames and greenhouses so that they are ready for use in the autumn
Tip: Harvest aubergine
Aubergines can be successfully grown in pots in the greenhouse. A couple of plants will produce enough fruits for most families. Grow from seed in the spring in the same way as tomatoes and peppers and then harvest the fruit in the autumn.
Fruit and vegetables
- Harvest onions and shallots when fully sun-ripened
- Continue to water crops regularly during hot weather
- Rest marrows on bricks in the sunshine to ripen them
- Net blackberries, autumn fruiting raspberries and leafy vegetable crops with bird-proof netting
- Finish pruning trained apple trees
- Cut down the tops of potato leaves and crop at the first signs of blight
- Pick autumn raspberries and blueberries
- Dig up remaining potatoes
Tip: Bring on the beetroot
Beetroot often tops the list of best-selling vegetable – surprised? Three ways of eating beetroot are:
- Sown closely together the crunchy leaves can be picked for salads when they are young and tender
- Leave others to form baby beetroot. Pull them while they are still small, boil in their skins and then peel and eat while they are warm, tender and sweet
- Alternatively let some of them get bigger, for peeling and grating raw over salads.
There is still time to sow beetroot for salad later in the year, covering them with cloches will keep them cropping even longer.
Around the garden
- Top up water levels in ponds and other aquatic features
- Use a small net to scoop out weed from ponds
- Net ponds before leaf fall gets underway
- Finish pruning wisteria plants
- Trim conifers, laurels, privet and other hedges
- Stake dahlias and late-flowering chrysanthemums
- Continue mowing lawns weekly. Treat with autumn lawn feed to promote strong root growth for winter
- Keep up with watering of new plants using water from water butts
Tip: Plant perennials
Check out what seeds are available to grow your own hardy perennials in the spring. Seed is cheap compared with the price of new plants and most are easy to grow and good for filling borders on a budget. By autumn the plants will be large enough to plant outside. You will have plenty so plant in groups of 3 or 5 for impact. If you have sown your plants early they may flower the same year.