September in the garden is a pleasure. The weather is mild, the Miscanthus grasses are flowering, a couple of roses are flowering again & I’m harvesting spinach, runner-beans, courgettes & beetroot. The business of the summer garden is over & everything is slowing down.
Whilst enjoying the garden now, we gardeners must look forward to the next season, though in an optimistic rather than a pressured frame of mind. So here are a few things to be getting on with in the garden in September.
Order spring flowering bulbs, you can pre-order them online, then you’ll get just what you want, before the favourites sell out.
They can be planted from now until the end of the year, tulips are the last to go in bulbs to go in, November – December is a good time for them.
Divide herbaceous perennials if:
- You want to make more plants
- or you have clumps of herbaceous plants that have died off in the middle & only grow from the edges. Plants such as Helenium & Phloxes are ideal candidates. Those that have a single strong tap-root can’t be given this treatment.
Dig up the whole plant, tease small clumps from the outside, alternatively place 2 forks back-to-back in the centre of the plant & prise it apart. Either way, discard the unproductive centre, re-plant the small plants & water them well.
This month is a good time to asses how your garden has looked during the year. Somehow a photo reveals more than the naked eye ever does. So take a few photos & reflect on what’s looked good, check if there are any there glaring gaps, what needs changing & are some areas looking dull at certain times of the year. It’s a nice thing to do later in the year when the weather keeps you inside.
A word or two about the soil in your garden. It’s the most important part of the whole garden, the health of your plants, how many flowers, & how much fruit & vegetables are produced is mostly determined by its quality.
So nurture it, give it some respect & it will repay you in spades.
One way to do this is by replenishing it in the form of compost. Add a thick layer of compost (home-made or bought in) its easier to do at this time of year as plants die back & create more space.
Turn the contents of the compost bin, ideally put them into an empty bin alongside the full one. If not just jump in & turn it as best you can, move the rotted stuff from the bottom to the surface. Not only is a it a good work out, the mixing process speeds up the breaking down of all the contents & you can use it sooner.
Sow green manure seeds now to fill the spaces left by harvested vegetables. It’s how farmers & gardeners used to grow plants before modern chemicals took over.
Green manure are plants that grow over a few weeks. Choose types that are appropriate for over-wintering, they’ll stay in place over winter & are dug back into the soil in early spring.
- They cover the soil & prevent weeds growing.
- Nutrients remain in the soil when it rains, instead of being washed away.
- They add structure to the soil when the plants are dug back in.
- Plants from the bean family fix nitrogen back into the soil.
I also like that there’s something green to see rather than bare soil.
Sow hardy annuals now, the soil is warm enough for them to germinate. They’ll make good roots, getting off to a quicker start next spring.
Ammi majus, that well behaved cow-parsley look-alike
scabious, are just a few to sow now.
Sow winter lettuce, all the information you’ll need is in this recent post.
Collecting your own seeds for next year is a very satisfying & sustainable thing to do. Peas, beans, pumpkins & tomato seeds are all ideal
On reflection, thats quite a lot to do this month, I’ll just be pottering at my own pace & enjoying the feeling of being all ready for next year.
Here’s some useful links for you, I’m not sponsored by any of them, they’re ones I’ve used & been happy with.
Green manure seeds are available from Garden Organic,
Hardy annual seeds are available from Higgledy Garden.
Peter Nyssen has a great range of bulbs.
Enjoy your garden for the rest of the month.
all photos: Jill Anderson