September can be a rather frustrating month for the gardener. Summer flowering perennials and annuals are beginning to go over and the garden can on the whole look a little sad. However, now is not the time to dwell on the fading days of summer, but to turn your mind to autumn and tidying up the garden in preparation for winter. Here a just a few of the jobs you can be getting on with in your garden during September.
September is a good month for sowing grass seed. You may have a few patches on the lawn that have become weedy or parched and in need of replacing, or you may be thinking of creating a whole new lawn. The earth is still warm enough for the seed to germinate and there should also be the right amount of rain during this month to help reseeded lawns establish before the cold weather stops growth.
Greenhouse crops should be all but over now and its time to think about clearing out and washing the greenhouse down with mild disinfectant. This will not only ensure that maximum light gets into the greenhouse during the winter months, but also deter pests and diseases. Choose a warm sunny day to do this.
Clip hedges for the last time this season. Once the temperature begins to drop, growth will then slow right down. Now is also a good time to take rose cuttings. Choose healthy stems of the current seasons growth. They will produce roots over the winter months and be ready to pot on in the spring.
In the vegetable garden, clear away any crops that have finished producing such as cabbages or peas. Harvest all those remaining crops that may be susceptible to early frosts such as marrow, squash and main crop potatoes. Pick fruit such as apples as they ripen. If you are lucky enough to have an asparagus bed, cut down the foliage at the end of the month. There are crops you can still plant at this time of the year. If the weather is fine, sow lettuce crops for winter harvesting. Winter purslane and lambs lettuce are good overwinters. Now is also the time to sow parsley for an early spring crop and the time to plant garlic.
Remove dying annuals from borders and containers to make room for spring bedding and bulbs. Plant spring flowering bulbs in flower beds and garden planters (except for tulips which should not be planted until November). September is also the time to plant prepared bulbs such as hyacinth for indoor flowering around Christmas time.
Jo Poultney is a RHS qualified gardener who has recently set up a business selling garden planters and garden related gifts via a website.