As the temperatures start to cool and the days start to shorten, get sorted for September with these top gardening tips.
1. Clean out cold frames and greenhouses. Let the maximum amount of light in by cleaning out guttering, getting rid of any moss, algae or general grime and sorting the glass to make it shine using warm water and a good cleaning solution. Make sure you pay attention to the dusty corners inside too, by brushing or hoovering them out.
2. Dig up any remaining potatoes to stop the slugs from feasting on the tubers. Don’t forget to leave the potatoes to dry on the soil for a few hours. Take care when handling them as they can easily bruise. Store in boxes or hessian sacks (avoid plastic as it can cause rot). All potatoes should be gathered by mid October at the latest, to avoid the inevitable weather damage.
3. Pick those autumn raspberries. Make sure it’s a dry day and once the fruit have been carefully harvested and eaten, sorted for jam making or frozen, take the time to cut back the canes. Don’t be tempted to leave old stems and cut the young stems to ground level again.
4. Now’s the time to prune any late flowering shrubs and give hedges a trim into shape. Take a look at the trees and shrubs and make sure they are thoroughly soaked in (especially if you’ve been doing any new planting). The soil will hold water well at this time of year, with the cooler temperatures.
5. It may seem like a huge task, but clear the dead leaves as soon as you can, once they start to fall. Good for the environment, and the compost bin, these can be shredded or mulched to help them break down quicker in your compost bin. Take care and time not to compost diseased leaves…these could just spread disease into the compost and make it unusable.
6. If you’re lucky enough to have a pond in your garden, cover the surface with netting to stop leaves from falling into the water. Any fish need the water as oxygenated as possible, so any algae weeds or pond rubbish will need to be removed before it can cause harm.
7. Plant new perennials at the late end of September. Hopefully, there’ll still be heat in the soil, but moisture levels will be higher due to cooler temperatures. They’ll be sure to root well over the winter. Take a look at this guide from the RHS for further advice: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=867
8. Deadhead to keep the garden looking fresh, especially if you have roses, penstemons or dahlias.
9. Sow sweet peas in your newly cleaned green house! They can be sown into small pots of compost to take advantage of any winter sun from inside the unheated greenhouse.
10.Take advantage of any autumn sunshine and dry weather by fixing a leaking shed, painting and protecting wooden structures such as pergolas, decking and not forgetting wooden compost bins before the inevitable rain comes. This includes oiling, cleaning and tidying away any wooden garden furniture that you won’t be using over winter. There’s something deeply satisfying about looking out onto freshly painted wood which complements the garden and its surroundings.