Garden To Do List for September

Hello September!

The key tasks for an organised, growing, healthy garden for this month are:

1. Clean greenhouses

While the weather is still warm, get as much out the greenhouse as you can and give it a good clean. Compost, old leaves and general debris all encourage disease. If your cucumbers and tomatoes haven't finished, just clean around them.

2. Plant spring flowering bulbs

If there is ever a month for bulb planting, this is it. From daffodils and crocuses to lilies and alliums, plant as many bulbs as you can. Plant them in pots, planters or soil - just plant them! They will start to grow their roots before winter takes hold.

The only ones to delay planting are tulips. Buy them but wait until the end of October to plant them. This later planting time encourages healthier blooms by avoiding the onset of tulip diseases.

3. Protect leafy crops

If you want your sprouts and leafy vegetables for Christmas, and not feeding the pigeons, remember to net them and put out the bird scarers.

4. Divide perennials

Take a look around your garden. If any of your perennial plants are overgrown and not flowering as well as usual, dividing them can help.

Plunge a fork into the centre and tease the crown apart. Do this to the remaining pieces and produce lots of little clumps of plants. Each clump should have roots and leaves.

Re-plant elsewhere in the garden and watch them flourish. 

5. Collect seed

Plants are now producing seed that you can collect and store for sowing next spring. On a dry day, place a paper bag over your chosen flowerhead. Cut the stem of the plant, tip upside down and give a little shake. Label up the bag and store in a dry, cool place in your shed or garage. They will be ready to plant come spring.

6. Plant shrubs

While the soil is warm from the sun and moist from the showers, now is the time to plant new shrubs. Do it now so the roots can stretch out and mature before the harsh winter weather. This will make them stronger and happier.

7. Cover ponds

A few fluttering leaves may not seem a problem now. But it won't be long before they are sinking, decaying, clogging your filters and stopping your pumps. And the poor fish!

Net over your pond now to catch the early fallers and be ready for the deluge later on.

8. Plant out spring cabbage

Spring cabbages tough, if not the toughest, vegetables around. Plant them now into well consolidated soil. You should struggle to get your trowel into the soil once it's fully compacted. They will withstand the winter weather and provide tasty, nutritious greens next year. Just remember to net your new plantings to deter the birds.

9. Pot up strawberry runners

Strawberry plants send out runners. Spaced along these runners are new plants. Take a look and you should see little roots already growing.

Peg these new plants into small pots of compost making sure the roots are fully in contact with the soil. Wait for new leaves to appear - usually 3-6 weeks. Cut either side of the plant to free it from the parent plant.

Now you have a new strawberry plant in a pot ready to grow on and re-plant. They can be overwintered in a greenhouse or cold frame. It’s a great way to keep your strawberry beds going strong.

10. Sow sweet pea seeds

If you want earlier blooms from your sweet pea plants, sow the seeds now. Like all peas and beans, sweet peas have deep root systems so choose long pots if possible, or tubes from the insides of toilet rolls. Fill with a quality compost and sow the seeds. Leave in a cold greenhouse or cold frame and plant out next spring.

Do the same in spring for a longer succession of blooms from your borders and containers.