September is the beginning of one of the best times of year in a gardening calendar. The fight to keep your plants watered has eased, deadheading becomes less and less necessary and the excitement of planning next year’s display can begin. Even though spring may seem like a long way off right now, it’s essential to get your spring-flowering bulbs in before the ground starts to freeze. A little preparation this month will reap huge rewards later on.
- Start cleaning up your flower beds by cutting back anything that’s looking a bit worse for wear or showing signs of disease.
- Next, head out and buy your spring-flowering bulbs. Choose firm, plump bulbs and avoid any with signs of mould. Get them in the ground as soon as possible so they have time to set down strong roots before the ground freezes. Buy tulips now while they’re fresh in garden centres, but wait until October to plant them.
- While the soil is still warm, it’s time to plant evergreen trees and shrubs. By planting them now, it means they’ll be well established before the cold weather comes.
- Hanging baskets can still retain their looks well into autumn so continue to give them lots of attention. Feed and deadhead flowers regularly and keep their water levels topped up, that way your baskets should keep going until the first frost.
- Lavender bushes should be lightly trimmed with hedging shears, but don’t go overboard. Dramatic pruning should be left until March or April.
- Autumn is a great time to transplant and divide perennials. Lift each clump and then divide it into pieces, either by prising it apart with two forks or cutting it up with a spade.
- Carry on collecting seeds from your favourite perennials and hardy annuals.
- Continue harvesting your vegetables in order to keep your plants productive. Carrots, courgettes, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, beetroot, lettuce and spinach still need picking. Beans can quickly become stringy so pick everything whilst it’s still young and tender.
- Plant overwintering crops such as garlic, turnips, spinach, winter lettuce, spring cabbages and quick crops such as baby spinach.
- Lift all root vegetables and transfer them to a cool, dark, dry place for storage.
- Just because your summer bedding plants are starting to die off, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a vibrant patio display. Winter heathers, trailing ivies and spring-flowering bedding plants are great for keeping the show going right through to next year.
- Keep your containers in shape by deadheading your plants regularly to encourage more blooms. Keep their soil moist and every week give them an extra boost with a liquid fertiliser.
- Clean out cold frames and greenhouses so they’re ready for the autumn.
- You never know when the first frost might occur so ensure your heating system is in good working order before the temperature really plummets.
- While we’re talking about cold snaps, start bringing in any especially tender plants now to ensure you don’t get caught out.
- Winter is coming and as a result our feathered friends need our help to build up their reserves for the colder months, so keep your feeders full and put out any old food onto bird tables.
- Stack any spare twigs or logs in a quiet corner of your garden. 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.
- If you have a birdbath give it a good clean to remove any dirt and moss. Afterwards, make sure you keep the water level topped up.
- After a long, dry summer, September is the best time to give your lawn a little pick-me-up. Start by removing the moss normally found under trees using a moss killer. Afterwards go over the area with a rake to remove any dead bits.
- Areas of your lawn that are used most often, such as around the back door, can often become very compacted. Improve these areas by pushing a garden fork into the ground as far as you can, then wiggle it back and forth to make air channels. Repeat this every 10cm across the area.
- To finish off, perk up tired lawns by giving them a feed. Use an autumn lawn fertiliser to help strengthen roots and deliver healthy looking leaves.
- Make the most of dry days and rake the lawn to keep it free of leaves and other debris. A thick layer of leaves has the potential to smother your grass, leaving it weak and unhealthy.
Well that’s all for this month’s gardening calendar. What are you doing to keep your perfect September garden, we’d love to know? Don’t forget to keep your friends in the loop by sharing these tips on facebook and Google+.
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