Gardening with Children

School Zone

Things to do in the garden in September

Date Posted: 01 September 2013

September is generally a cooler month than August and preparations begin for the autumn and winter, but if we are lucky enough to have an Indian summer this will give ourselves and our plants a much needed boost and extend the growing, flowering and harvesting season too.
General Jobs
  • Be prepared for the Autumn 'crop' of leaves by installing a Copious Leaf Composter and Garden Store or a Jumbo Leaf Mould Compost Bin in a corner of the garden
  • Invest in a new Compost Bin or add a module to your existing one to contain your extra waste vegetation, hedge clippings and grass cuttings over the next few months.
  • Turn the compost in your compost bins regularly to speed up decomposition.Copious Leaf Composter and Garden Log Store Combination
  • After harvesting crops tidy up and remove any leaf debris, weeds etc and recycle in the Compost Bin, if left it can harbour pests and diseases, then fork over incorporating Chicken Poo (a general slow release fertiliser) ready for your next crop or
  • Sow green manure (mustard, clover, rye grass) in empty beds, these will grow and can be dug in in spring, they will improve the soil, add nutrients and keep the weeds at bay.
  • Deadhead flowers to encourage them to continue flowering and provide a continued valuable source of nectar for bees, butterflies, moths and other insects or
  • Leave seed heads to mature and on a dry day collect ripe seed placing in paper bags to store and sow in the spring.
  • Now is the time to start planting spring flowering bulbs (daffodils, crocus and hyacinth), buy them now whilst stocks are new, pick ones that are firm and show no signs of damage or disease.
  • Plant up a new Strawberry bed using the runners that you have rooted, Strawberries prefer a sunny position, don’t replant in an area where they have previously been grown. Strawberries are perfect plants to grow in Raised Beds, Planters or large pots.
  • Protect ripening blackberries/loganberries/autumn raspberries with netting and keep watered during dry weather.Strawberry Table
  • Assess your fruit trees/bushes/canes and order new ones if any need replacing or to increase your stock/varieties.
  • Support heavily laden fruit trees and bushes to prevent the branches breaking.
  • Prune currant bushes by removing a third of the old dark wood as close to the ground as possible as well as any dead, diseased or dying wood, allowing air into the bushes and encouraging new healthy stems.
  • Remove any rotting fruit on your fruit trees to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Keep pumpkins/squashes well watered as the fruits continue to swell, apply Slug Gone around fruits to prevent slug damage and place wood underneath to prevent them from rotting, aid ripening by removing any leaves shading the fruit.
  • Cut off the tops of Asparagus when the foliage turns brown and apply mulch around their base.
  • Plant over wintering onion sets.
  • Thin out sowings of Winter Radish and Swiss Chard.
  • Transplant Cabbages, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower and Kale plants in rows in their final positions in firm, organically rich and limed soil and protect from pests (insects, birds, rabbits) with Enviromesh.
  • Plant out Leeks into 15cm holes made with a dibber and fill the hole with water, you do not need to fill the hole with soil.
  • August Planting PotatoesPlant second cropping potatoes such as Carlingford at the beginning of this month to give you home grown new potatoes in the New Year, plant in growing bags or large pots so that they can be brought inside before the first frosts.
  • Sow Turnips, Spinach, Winter Lettuce and Oriental Vegetables for next spring.
  • Continue to feed your Tomatoes, Cucumber and Peppers, remove any withered or yellow leaves to prevent disease and also lower leaves of tomatoes to expose the fruit to light and air to speed up ripening, water tomatoes regularly to prevent blossom end rot and the fruit splitting.
 In the Greenhouse / Polytunnel / On your Windowsill / In the Propagator
  • Continue to feed your Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Peppers, remove lower leaves of tomatoes to expose them to light and air and to speed up ripening, water tomatoes regularly to prevent blossom end rot and the fruit splitting.
  • Pinch out the growing tip of tomatoes when your plants reach the top of the greenhouse or after the fourth truss of fruit to encourage ripening of fruit.
  • Water plants in the greenhouse in the morning so that there is less moisture in the air overnight, which can encourage disease.
  • Close vents, windows and doors in late afternoon to keep in the warmth overnight to aid ripening.
  • Start to tidy out and clean your greenhouse and its contents, old compost, dirty pots and decaying plant material can harbour unwanted pests and diseases.
  • Harvest Autumn Raspberries, Blackberries, Loganberries and Blueberries.
  • During a dry spell harvest any remaining potatoes, use a Potato Scoop to minimise damage to the potatoes. Spread out main crop varieties to dry for a few hours before storing them in Hessian Sacks which will allow them to breathe. Store only undamaged and disease free tubers and place somewhere cool and dark.
  • Harvest Sweetcorn as soon as the cobs are ready (when a milky liquid comes out of the kernel when pressed with your fingernail) and eat as soon as possible after picking to maintain its sweetness.
  • Lift any remaining onions, shallots and garlic and allow to dry out before storing.
  • Pick Courgettes regularly when small to ensure a continuous crop, don’t forget the flowers, they are edible too, pick them early in the morning before they open.
  • Regularly pick Runner/French Beans before they become stringy and to encourage more to form.
  • Pick apples, pears, plums and damsons, checking for wasps who also find them irresistible, make life easy with a Long Handled Apple Picker or a Quicker Apple and Fruit Picker for those hard to reach fruits. The Quicker Apple Picker
  • Pick tomatoes, cucumbers and Aubergines.
  • Harvest sweet and chilli peppers by cutting off the fruit rather than pulling or twisting as the stems are brittle and can snap easily.
  • Harvest late crop Peas which were sown in June/July when the pods swell and whilst they are super sweet.
  • Continue to pick Carrots, Beetroot, Turnips, Broad Beans, Spinach and Salad Leaves, Spring Onions, Radishes and Herbs, if you have a glut of herbs they can be dried or frozen for use later on, try freezing them chopped up into ice cubes.
  • Pick Summer, Savoy and Red Cabbage.
  • Cover garden ponds with net in preparation for Autumn falling leaves.
  • Treat ponds overgrown with algae and blanket weed with Pond Magic to return to crystal clear water then add Bokashi Mud Balls to inhibit future algae growth. Top up ponds in dry weather.
  • The Hogitat Hedgehog HousePut out food and water for new families of hedgehogs to give them a boost and help them gain the weight they need to hibernate.
  • Install a Hedgehog house in a wild and quiet corner of your garden to provide a safe place for hedgehogs to sleep and hibernate during winter.
  • Put windfall apples in a Wooden Apple Bird Feeder for smaller birds; leave some apples where they fall for the ground feeding birds.
  • Put up a Pollinating Bee Log, Minibug Solitary Bee House or a Solitary Bee Hive to provide a home for Solitary Bees.
  • Look after our Butterflies, Moths and Bees by providing a Butterfly and Moth Feeder or a Butterfly/Bee Nectar Feeding Station which will give them a welcome autumn food supply.
  • Solitary Bee HiveCheck and clean pond filters regularly so that they don’t get blocked up with Algae. Remove any blanket weed or excess pond weed leaving it by the side overnight to allow any creatures to return to the water.
  • Replace damaged Bird Feeders or put up some extra ones to allow the birds to become familiar with them before winter. Continue to feed birds ideally with protein rich food such as live Mealworms, provide fresh water in your bird baths for the birds to drink and bathe in and regularly clean bird tables, feeders and bird baths.



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