Archive for September, 2011
Although September is generally recognised as the end of the summer as the kids go back to school and the nights begin to draw in, you should still enjoy the last of the warm sunny days by tidying your garden, discarding dead summer flowers and turning your attention to the best of this season’s delicious fruit harvests.
Your garden will benefit from autumn colour now with Asters, Dahlias, Echinacea and Japanese anemones which will all add interest to your garden borders.
Bedding plants that were the focal point of your garden last month including larkspur and stocks will now have finished flowering and busy lizzies, petunias and verbena will also be looking past their best. It is hard to know when to dig them out but the thought that your spring bulbs and autumn bedding need to be planted now will give you the added impetus to get going!
Firstly, prepare your soil and then choose from a full and inspiring array of bulbs ready for spring. Daffodils and tulips are easy to grow and as long as they are well fed, they should produce flowers for years to come.
September is the time to cut your evergreen conifer hedges – cut from the top of the hedge rather than clipping the new growth. Beech hedges should be trimmed with secateurs rather than hedge trimmers and concentrate on a shape that is tapering – thinner at the top rather than the base. Looking forward to the depths of winter, this shape will help snow fall from the branches rather than snapping them under the weight.
Your baskets and containers should still be going strong if you have fed and watered them regularly. If they are starting to look tired, reinvigorate growth by adding a soluble plant food around the roots and on the leaves. Or choose a vibrant new display of cyclamen, pansies and violas.
Your lawn will still need to be mowed now but once a fortnight will be enough as the growth of your grass slows due to the cooler weather. If you have a height adjuster on your lawnmower, alter it now so that the grass a little longer at each cut. Rake and scarify your lawn to get rid of any dead matter and then aerate the lawn to allow air into the top few inches. Your lawn will benefit from a feed now for a stronger root system and to harden growth.
Your homegrown plums should be ripe for picking now and of course, your apples too, as the apple season begins.
Harvest your vegetables throughout this month and store some away for use over the winter. Onions are especially worth storing. This is best started on a dry sunny day when the roofs should be broken and lifted using a fork. The leaves should be allowed to shrivel back before you lift the bulbs and let them dry on a patio under the sun. Choose the better onions for storing.
Your maincrop potatoes will now be turning brown to show they are ready for harvesting and storing. If you are using gro-bags, simply turn out your potatoes for an instant crop ready for cooking. If grown in your Edible Garden, you will need to be a little more careful! Trim the foliage and then wait for about 10 days until you harvest. Lift the potatoes to the surface using a fork and leave them for a few hours for the skins to harden. Like onions, choose the better potatoes for storage. Use hessian sacks to store your potatoes in small batches.
Continue to water and feed regularly your tomatoes, sweet peppers and aubergines for faster ripening and the best flavour. Remove a few of the lower leaves so that your fruits will see as much sun as possible.
And don’t worry, you have not left it too late if you want to grow your own late leaves for salads. Use a window box or windowsill for great results even now.
Raspberries will still be cropping if you are growing them against a fence but time may be running out due to the mild spring and the early onset of the season. Cut your raspberry and blackberry canes down to ground level and new canes tied into horizontal supports.
Remember to clear any fallen fruits from the ground so they do not create a wasp problem. Try to use up your early apples straight away as they will not store well.
Finally, we are likely to see the last of the summer this month so if the sun does make an appearance, make the most of it!
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