September is a special transitional month when we say goodbye to the summer days, and start to prepare for the autumn colours and leaf fall. It is one of the best months in the gardening calendar when the excitement of planning next year's display can begin. The soil is still warm, and there’s less need for water given the cooler days. There is still plenty to keep you busy to prepare for winter and the new year - here’s what you can do in the garden in September:
September is the optimum planting time for spring bulbs. Whether it’s tulips, daffodils or snowdrops, crocus, allium or bluebells, plant your bulbs whilst the soil is still warm to give them the best start. Bulbs are easy to grow and extremely versatile, coming back year after year. Storing their energy over the winter, they spring into life as winter draws to a close and look great in containers and borders.
Now is the time to clear annual bedding plants from your borders or containers and refresh your compost. You are then ready to plant Primula’s, Polyanthus, Winter Pansies, Heather, Heuchera and Wallflowers for a winter colour display whilst other plants lay dormant.
Shrubs that flowered early in the year should continue to be well watered to ensure a good flower display next spring.
Prune your roses once they have finished flowering, cutting the side shoots back a couple of buds from the main frame.
September is the best month to sow grass seed. It is the perfect temperature and the cooler days mean your grass can get off to a good start. If your lawn is looking a little tired, feed and weed will perk it up for the coming season and prepare it for winter.
Cutting the grass plays a huge part in maintenance throughout the year, even in the autumn months. As the days grow shorter and the temperatures begin to fall, the grass growth will slow meaning you don’t have to mow as frequently. Start raising the cutting height of your mower to a minimum of 2cm or 1in.
If moss and weeds are a problem on your lawn you will need to treat them before scarifying them out. September is also the time for aeration, a simple process of perforating the soil with a garden fork to create small holes in your lawn to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots.
This month is also an ideal time to rejuvenate your lawn through overseeding patches and will thicken your lawn and crowd out unsightly weeds, as well as improve both its health and appearance.
Grow Your Own
Lift maincrop potatoes and continue harvesting tomatoes, herbs, sweetcorn, courgettes, cucumbers, chillies, French and runner beans, while produce is ripe and when the flavour is at its peak.
If you are growing your own fruit, pick raspberries and cut back the fruited canes to ground level. September is the time to harvest apples, pears and plums, and pick up windfalls.
There are still some crops that you can grow in September. Plant autumn hardy onion, shallot and garlic sets for harvest early next year. Winter and spring cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, little gem lettuce and chicory can all be sown now also.
With colder weather coming, garden birds will need our help to build up their reserves for winter, so keep your feeders full and put out any old food onto bird tables. If you have a birdbath, give it a good clean to remove any dirt and moss and make sure you keep the water level topped up for bathing and drinking.
Invest in an insect hotel as this will become a wonderful sanctuary for a multitude of insects, which in turn will become a great source of food for hedgehogs and other wildlife.
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