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September Garden Tips

Garden work for September 2018.

Flower garden

September is a good time to establish a new lawn and for transplanting evergreens. Remember to divide your irises and to sow hardy annuals for the spring. Towards the end of the month make space to move your tender plants under cover to protect them from the cold nights.

With the start of autumn it means that many plants are producing seed heads, which we normally ‘dead head’ to keep the succession of flowers going. With the cost of seed increasing year on year -it might be worthwhile considering saving some seed head for sowing. Flowers like Sweet William, Love-in-Mist (Nigella), Cosmos, or vegetables like Runner Beans, can be harvested just before the seed pod has fully dried. Use brown paper bags to hang the seed head upside down and store in a dry place. Remember to label the variety, and then when it is all nice and brown shake out the seed and you have saved yourself pounds for a few minutes work. Unfortunately the lovely hybrids that abound now will not breed true and you will have to rely on the expertise of the professional for that, but if you don’t mind a variety of colour in your Sweet William and so on it is fine.

If you have winter flowering pansies they may start to flower if the weather is good. It is best to pick off these flowers up to about October. This will help the plants make stronger growth before the winter really sets in. Then they will need all their strength to keep those cheerful ‘faces’ blooming despite the grey

Vegetables

Carrots should be lifted this month, and stored before the roots start to split, which they will do very quickly once the heavy autumnal rains begin. Tomatoes should be cleared from the greenhouse so that it can be prepared for autumn and winter flowers. Onions should be dried and ripened off. In our uncertain weather it is a good idea to put them into a greenhouse or bench where there is plenty of air circulating before tying them up into ropes. Alternatively, use the mesh bags that are used in grocery stores. They need to be kept in the light and to have plenty of air round them, unlike potatoes that need to be stored in thick paper sacks with the light excluded.

Where possible it is best to clear away all the tomatoes in your greenhouse, so that room can be made for the autumn and winter flowers. Any unripened fruit can be made into chutney, or put them away into boxes to ripen indoors.

The second week of September is about the latest for gathering herbs for winter drying. Cut them fresh, tie them in bunches and suspend from a hook upside-down in order to store.

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