Our expert gardeners in Colchester share their knowledge on what to do in the garden in September
As if from nowhere, autumn is upon us, but just because your lush greenery is soon to be a thing of the past, it doesn't mean you need to hold off on gardening altogether until next year. Throughout September, there are numerous gardening tasks that should be completed to prepare your garden for the harsh autumn and winter months and, in some cases, even prepare it for next summer. Below, find out what to do in the garden in September to ensure your garden thrives this autumn and next year.
Take care of your flowers
Mistakenly, many think autumn is the end of the road for some of their favourite garden flowers and plants, but that's certainly not the case if you look after them properly. Often, hanging baskets will continue to thrive until the first frost hits, which means you should continue to deadhead and feed the flowers in your hanging baskets until then, or for however long they thrive. Similarly, you must continue to deadhead and prune your annuals and perennials to keep them looking their best.
Brighten your autumn garden
If you're worried that autumn signs the end of your vibrant garden, fill in the gaps in your flower bed with autumn flowering plants
such as chrysanthemums to keep the colour flowing until winter. By planting autumn flowering plants, you also considerably help to ease the dramatic change your garden undertakes at this time of year.
Plant a Christmas treat
Unbeknown to some, if you plant hyacinth bulbs in September, you can expect to see a bloom of colour by Christmas; these eye-catching flowers also make excellent Christmas gifts, so you've got a win-win situation in your mitts if you plant now. You should also think about planting hippeastrum in October for Christmas flowering.
Plant next year's blooms
Once you've finished thinking about keeping your garden looking its best throughout autumn and winter, you need to begin acting on ensuring it looks breathtaking next spring and summer. Throughout September, you should look to plant spring-flowering bulbs
such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths to guarantee garden excellence next year. Similarly, you need to plant out biennial plants sown earlier in the year; if you didn't have time to plant earlier in the year, you could pick up foxgloves, wallflowers and Violas at your local garden centre and plant them now. At the same time, plant new perennials as September has ideal soil conditions to kickstart growth.
Complete your harvest
If you haven't yet finished your harvest, do so by the end of September. If you have an influx of fruit and veg, freeze, dry and pickle your produce so you can use it later in the season and into next year. Homemade pickles, jams and even fruit-filled desserts make excellent Christmas gifts, too, so you could save yourself some pennies.
Prime, pick and plant for autumn
If you grow sweetcorn, September is a good time to check whether it's ready; if it is ready, it will release a milky sap. If it's too late, it'll be starchy. There's a fine line so test regularly so you don't spoil your harvest. Around this time, you should also cut away foliage on potatoes, around three weeks before lifting the potatoes, to prevent spoil when you lift them and to firm the skin. Similarly, you should remove leaves shadowing pumpkins to help them get nice and ripe in time for Halloween. When pumpkins are ready, put them on a piece of wood or slate to stop them from rotting. Throughout September, continue to care for your French and runner beans and pick them throughout the season. To complete your planting, plant garlic and pot some mint and parsley and keep it on your kitchen windowsill for use throughout the winter.
Look after your lawn
Autumn is an excellent time to establish your lawn, so take time to turf or seed your lawn if it's looking patchy and a little worse for wear, and you'll reap the benefits next year. As the rate grass grows at slows in the autumn, remember to mow your lawn on a longer setting than in the summer. Throughout the winter, your garden may experience waterlogging, but there are a few things you can do to prevent extensive damage to your lawn. Aerate your lawn with a garden fork, rake the lawn and repair dead patches of grass with new seed; you can also pick up a good quality lawn fertiliser to keep your lawn looking its best this season and next, and into next year.
The above gardening tips for September are just a handful of essential tasks you should be undertaking this month. As autumn approaches, your focus should be on clearing and prepping your garden for wetter weather, including preparing compost bins for fallen leaves and planting for next spring and summer. Providing you complete at least a handful of our suggested gardening tasks for September, your garden is almost guaranteed to thrive. Once you've completed your September gardening to-do's, you can sit back and relax with a cuppa while you plan your flower beds and vegetable plots for next year – prep and practice make perfect. Prefer to get the professionals in to prep your garden for autumn? Get in touch to arrange a complimentary consultation with one of our gardeners in Colchester.