Rushlake Green Village Leaf

Gardening Diary September 2011

" September blow soft till the fruit's in the loft."

With the shorter evenings there is less time available for gardening yet there is little falling off in the work to be done. The earliest bulbs and evergreens may be planted.

The main work of the month though is harvesting. Apples and pears for storing must be gathered just as soon as they part readily from the tree. Fallen fruits will be bruised and bruises are fatal to the prospects of stored fruits. Potatoes also should be lifted just as soon as the haulm dies down. Nothing is gained by leaving them in the soil and in the event of a wet spell there is a good chance of them making secondary growth. Onions too should be harvested as soon as the foliage goes over, I aim to have them in by Battle of Britain day. A space in the greenhouse is ideal as rain must be kept off. Whilst in the greenhouse we may be removing some foliage from the ripening tomatoes, likewise those outdoors. Regular feeding of fruiting plants should be carried on. I like to give my leeks a general fertiliser at this time to maintain growth. Carrots and beetroots are best lifted now before heavy autumn rains cause them to split. Complete pruning of raspberries and blackberries, cutting out wood that has borne fruit and tie in the new. Plums may be pruned now, cutting out only the weak, diseased and overcrowded branches.

Apart from the harvesting of fruit and vegetables we may be considering how the garden will look next spring and begin the planting of bulbs and other spring flowering plants. September is the time to be sowing hardy annuals, including calendulas, larkspurs, annual chrysanthemums, godetias, and sweet peas in the open towards the end of the month. Biennials from seed may be sown now including wallflowers, canterbury bells, and verbascum. Beneath the surface we may be planting bulbs of daffodils, crocuses and tulips, snowdrops, grape hyacinth, winter aconite and anemones. It is worthwhile on our heavy clay soil to drop a small handful of sand in each hole to prevent the bulbs sitting in a sump. Evergreen shrubs may also be planted now including hollies and conifers, for hedging or for specimens. Rhododendrons transplant well at this time. The growth of rampant climbers, such as some kinds of clematis and wisteria can be cut back now if the plants are taking up too much room. The long shoots made over the last few weeks by climbing roses may be tied in, it is these shoots which will make the best displays next year but they are brittle and easily damaged by autumn gales. Michaelmas daisies may now be in flower and when wet the big sprays of flowers may get very heavy so firm staking and tying is called for.

As always the hoe must be kept going vigorously both in the border and the vegetable patch. It is easy to overlook this at this late stage and I am often appalled at the sight of rank weedage hiding under my Brussels Sprouts at this time. After a few hours harvesting the garden on a warm afternoon in September what better time to proceed to the shed for a long pipe and a contemplation of our ropes of onions hanging from the rafters?

Content supplied by Ross Atabey from Green & Great Gardens your local landscaping and garden specialists. For further advice contact Ross on 07941 315214 01435 812 153 or visit