What to do in September

Lots to do, just some ideas for your September list.

  1. Start your compost heap — compost is garden gold. Compost seals in the moisture of the soil, protects soil surface during heavy rain, feeds all the creatures, micro organisms, bacteria, fungi which is the essence of and basics of a healthy growing garden.It is free resource, and you are returning to the soil what you have taken from it.You can make a liquid feed from your compost. Place some compost into a porous bag — soak for a couple of days, liquids now a feed for your Camellia, Rhododendrons and Magnolias, as they are busy producing flower buds for next spring.
  1. Empty vegetable beds,  either plant spring cabbage or sow a green manure Phacelia Tanacetifolia, Clover,White mustard or buckwheat. I have sown clover, but would also like to plant spring cabbage!!! Green manures  fertilise the soil for the following crop mainly through the intake of nitrogen, which is then dug back into the soil ( cabbage likes lots of nitrogen).
  1. Sow seeds of perpetual spinach, baby leaf kale, lettuce such as Mizuna red Emperor as you can also use this in stir fries. Sow seeds into best quality compost, err on having it warm as this also helps with germination.Theres are more.Last Sunday I planted at least 20 trays of ornamental, vegetable seeds — hope my students enjoy pricking them out !!! 
  1. What ever herbs that still look fresh, clip and freeze . Also if you have lots of tomatoes ,broad beans all these can be frozen for later use.
  1. Flowers are setting seeds, collect when ripe on dry days  (damp will cause mould). Sweet pea, garden peas, broad beans all very easy( pods should be brown) for collection. Place into a paper bag, store in a dry dark consistently cool place in a plastic, metal or glass container. This can be a very interesting activity. A sweep pea packet of 20 can cost €2.49 not a lot but imagine saving your own and you can use the money for seeds you don’t have.
  1. You can start dividing some of your herbaceous perennials, such as Astrantia,Pulmoniara, Ophiopogan. If you have too much pot them up and share with friends. Be gentle with cutting back and autumn clean up of the garden as it is still providing food and shelter for many creatures.To prepare for their hibernation, hedgehogs eat as much as they can during autumn, munching on beetles, caterpillars and earthworms to build up good fat reserves. They will then seek out a quiet spot to rest for the coming months, usually in piles of dead leaves, stacks of logs, compost heaps or under garden sheds.The exact time they retire to this spot will depend on how mild the weather is. Hibernation can take place any time from October to April, but in a warmer winter you may still see hedgehogs out and about in December.
  1. Keep dead heading your Dahalia’s, as this prolongs flowering, food again for visiting pollinators.Saw quiet a few butterflies in the garden today Yippee.
  1. Bulbs ,start getting them into the ground.Tulips are the last and generally are planted in Winter  November, December and even January. If you can consider planting organic bulbs.
  1. The lawn, re-seed patches and also perfect for a new lawn. Did this in spring — disaster, soil too cold, too dry, now is perfect.  Scarifying or raking will really help with moss removal (moss is very useful for birds in spring for their nests not a total villain}. When I am collecting leaves or even planting and have made a mess on the grass, simply raking hard often is sufficient. Lawns are getting bad press now, but they act as an anchor for a garden, they absorb carbon dioxide, water soakage and give off oxygen. There is never a need to water it during droughts, leaving your grass cuttings feeds the soil, which brings us back task no 1. Biodiversity in your lawn is very welcome.
  2. Fruit trees, apples, pears, plumbs, all can be give a tidy up now.My plumb tree gave me 3 plumbs this year. Fantastic flower in spring, frost around 14 May, not too hard but as my garden is very dry I suspect the severe lack of rain in April-May had an affect. Plumbs are members of the prunus family so only prune gently and do it now before dormancy sets in. Pruning now is for shape. Hedges could also be cut now for winter structure.
Posted in Autumn Cleanup, Bulbs, Flowering Plants, general, Upcoming Events, Upcoming Events New.