Autumn is soon to be with us, while the nights continue to draw in we can expect to have some warm sunny days followed by some cold nights with the chance of early frosts in central areas.
In the garden it's time to pick top fruit, clear away dead summer flowers and tidy up lawns in preparation for winter.
Beds and Borders
- Clear the annual flowers from your garden and deposited these plants in your compost bin. To improve the chance of Daffodils and tulips flowering in spring, dig out and separate the old bulbs and replant them in a new panting hole.
- It's a good time to cut hedges.
- With all hedges try to create a tapering shape that is thinner at the top than the base. This slope will help snow to fall off the hedge that could otherwise pull down branches.
- As temperatures drop and rainfall increases then the growth of grass tends to slow down in preparation for winter hibernation.
- The first lawn job in September is to adjust the cutting height of the blades so the grass is left a little longer at each cut. And before you mow next it's a good idea to rake the whole lawn to pull out any dead material and lift up any grass runners so they can be trimmed by the mower.
Reduce mowing frequency to once a fortnight now that cooler daytime temperatures have reduced rapid grass growth.
- Vegetables should be being harvested right through September and some of them stored away for winter use. You can freeze the excess crop of runner (stick) beans and French beans
- To harvest onions for the longest life lift each bulb out with a fork on a dry day. When the leaves have shrivelled back lift all the bulbs and let them dry during on a patio. Select only the unblemished onions for storage.
- When the foliage of main crop potatoes turn brown this means they are ready for harvesting and storage. Simply cut off the foliage, and wait about ten days before harvesting. Use a fork to lift the potatoes to the surface where they should be left for a few hours for the skins to harden off. Like with onions store only the unblemished potatoes. To reduce the risk of a rotten potato ruining your whole crop, store them in a number of small cardboard or wooden boxes instead of large sacks.
- Tomatoes, sweet peppers and aubergines growing in pots will still need watering regularly to encourage quick ripening and maximum flavour.
- The soil at the base of Brussels sprouts will need firming with the heel of your boot and stems may need staking with a sturdy cane to ensure vertical growth in autumn winds.
- Plums should be picked as they ripen to give great fruit for pies and crumbles.
- If you clear up any damaged fruit that falls to the ground on a regular basis you will also reduce any wasp problem. Any excess crop that can't be eaten straight away can be frozen for making into great winter puddings at a later date.
- Pears should be ready for picking before they start to fall and some early ripening apples, such as 'Discovery' will be sweet enough for harvest during September.