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September in the Garden

by CountryLife Gardening | Sep 01, 2014

Don’t let the fact that summer is over & the weather is turning dishearten you. There's always something to be done in the garden, from harvesting your crops to preparing for the coming spring.

September is a month for taking stock and planning for the future. This means we even have some jobs you can do from the warmth of your sitting room:

  • Make rough sketches of your flower beds and vegetable plot to help plan for next year. It is important to rotate crops in the veg garden every year to prevent the build-up of pests and diseases in the soil.
  • Reflect on what worked and what didn't!
  • Think about which bulbs you would like for next spring - now is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs and there is a full selection on sale now.
  • Start tidying up your perennials and collecting seed heads. Or you can leave them alone for the winter - they make stunning features in your garden on cold frosty days
  • Continue to feed containers and hanging baskets with liquid fertiliser like tomato food to prolong their colour until mid-winter. Remember to dead-head too - they will keep going until the first frosts.
  • Plant daffodil, tulip and snowdrop bulbs outdoors for a splash of colour next spring.
  • Plant prepared hyacinth bulbs indoors for early Christmas flowers
  • Winter bedding - your garden may be beginning to look dull now that the summer bloomers are beginning to fade, add some winter bedding plants such as Winter Viola, Winter Pansies and Cyclamens.
  • Plant some evergreen climbers this month to cover any bare walls and add a splash of colour. Ivy, evergreen clematis and evergreen jasmine are good choices. Virginia Creeper is not evergreen but  its rich red autumn foliage will add a splash of colour to even the barest gardens during autumn
September Gardening Advice

Fruit and Vegetables

  • Now is a time of harvest when all your hard work should be rewarded with a plenty of home-grown treats – Autumn Raspberries, Plums and Apples and other fruits are all ripening up now.
  • There is still time to plant out lettuce, cabbage, leeks, beetroot and scallion plants or you can still sow some from seed. Just watch for slugs especially when the weather is wet.
  • Plant winter onions and garlic for an early crop next year. These are available in store from early September
  • Wait for a hard freeze before harvesting Brussels Sprouts. Parsnips are sweeter after a frost as well.
  • Pick any herbs you want for drying or freezing.
  • Top Tip – Sweetcorn should be ready when the tassels go brown. To test if it is ready, pinch a kernel - it will release a milky sap when ripe. If the kernels are starchy you've left it too late, if they're watery they need a little longer to ripen.
  • Pull or cut off the foliage of maincrop potatoes at ground level 3 weeks before lifting them to prevent blight spores infecting the tubers as you lift them. This will also help to firm the skins of the potatoes.

Around the Garden

  • September is a good time to clean out the green house ready for over wintering tender plants.
  • Now is an ideal time to start a compost heap in your garden – autumn’s fallen leaves, your grass clipping and any teabags, eggs shells or coffee grind will all ensure you have a wonderful organic rich compost for next spring’s planting. Don’t forget to add a compost maker or activator into the mix. Read our blog an introduction to composting.
  • Get your bird table cleaned and start leaving out food for the birds – they will benefit from storing up fat now to get through the winter ahead.
  • When packing away your BBQ and garden furniture make sure to clean them first, that way they are ready to take out and use straight away once Summer hits next year.
  • Stop pruning and fertilizing at the end of the month when growth slows down for the winter months.
  • Bring tender houseplants back indoors while the windows are still open. Check carefully for hitchhiking pests
  • Now is an ideal time to reseed or to sow a new lawn. The ground is nice and warm after the summer months and the wet autumn weather will take care of any watering needed.
Jean’s Bio
Hi my name is Jean, I am a horticulturist with CountryLife in the Ashford branch. I grew up on a farm where we always had a veg garden, so you could say that horticulture and agriculture is in the blood! I studied Landscape Horticulture in UCD and worked part-time in Fernhill Garden Centre, Athlone while I was in college. After graduating I worked in Landscape Architecture for three years before returning to the Garden Centre trade. I began in Keane’s Garden Centre, Kilcolgan, Co Galway and returned to Fernhill Garden Centre for three years before joining CountryLife.  Being a horticulturalist is a great job, you are surrounded by nature every day and there is always something to be done. Meeting customers and giving the advice is very rewarding especially when they report back positive results. I love growing my own fruit and veg and I’m always trying new varieties and ways of growing. The seasons are always changing and while the weather is challenging in Ireland, I believe we grow the best produce in the world.