September is the busiest time of the month for harvesting and there is still plenty to do in the flower garden too.

If you find yourself looking at gaps where earlier plants have faded then consider filling them with late varieties such as sedum or chrysanthemum. As the weather cools and the year’s herbaceous perennials start to fade, look to divide larger clumps to plant elsewhere for next year. You can also sow hardy annuals in the Autumn to help them get a head start.

Although summer is fading, the joy in gardening is that we can already look ahead to next spring – so start planting hyacinths, daffodils and crocus towards the end of the month. The warm, wet conditions of September are generally also a good time to plant new perennials, trees and to re-design borders, so that plants can get a head start for next year before the ravages of winter.

Keep dead-heading and watering in the borders and in your hanging baskets, as this will encourage as much fresh flowering as possible up to the first frosts.

Time for a bumper harvest…

sunflowerKeep harvesting your produce as it ripens, freezing any excess. You can tell if sweetcorn is ripe by squeezing a kernel; if its ready there will be a milky juice visible.

If potatoes are more your thing, then make sure to cut the green growth off the plants at ground level three weeks before harvesting to reduce the risk of blight. Once lifted, leave them to dry on the soil for a few hours before storing them in a hessian sack in a cool, dark place.

With Halloween approaching, make sure your pumpkins ripen in time by removing leaves that shade them from the sun.

Start cleaning up the veg patch and clearing away faded and dying plants. Remove pea and bean plants at soil level, but leave the roots in the ground to fix nitrogen as the roots decompose.

Net your brassicas to stop birds from foraging on them, and plant out autumn onion sets, too.

Still got some time to spare…?

_MG_7188Pick blackberries and look out for ripening apples, too – they are ready when they fall into the palm of the hand when gently pulled. You can also tie in next years raspberry canes, after cutting back the old canes from summer fruiting varieties.

Now is also a really good time to replant or repair your lawn. Use a fork to make tine marks throughout to aerate the lawn and you can also use a rake to pull out dead grass blades. You might also want to use a top-dressing or autumn fertiliser to help establish new growth.

Lastly, as the autumn approaches, now is a good time if you have heavy or waterlogged clay soil, to dig over your borders and mix in some grit, sand and manure to help open up the soil structure.