Autumn has arrived but the garden grind isn’t over just yet. While we welcome the subdued cool weather of the season’s change, there’s still plenty to harvest in the fruit and vegetable garden to brighten up the days. Drops in temperature gradually invite you to begin pruning and tidying up in the garden, while the thought of next spring prompts the start of the overwintering crops. Discover how you can make the most of the last days of warmth with these gardening tips for September…
Prune Fruits & Flowers
By the end of the month, autumn weather should be set and strong. In other words, cold. Set this as a deadline to prune any of your remaining fruits and flowers. Especially those past their prime or fading away.
This is a great option for those of you who don’t like gardening in the colder months. If you don’t mind being out when it’s a little chillier, leave pruning until later to ensure plant is in a completely dormant state.
If you were lucky enough to have a wonderful display of flowers or harvest of fruits this year, pruning is important to encourage more fruits and flowers to bloom from the same plants next time around. This also applies to soft fruit-producing shrubs or trees such as raspberry, gooseberry or blackcurrants.
Autumn is one of the best times to start composting. The combination of an abundant supply of organic plant materials due to harvesting and the still some-what warm weather makes for the perfect environment to get compost going.
If you’re a kitchen gardener, any leftovers from your harvest should go into your compost bin, along with any dying but un-diseased plant materials like grass cuttings or foliage. Don’t forget to balance with some browns such as dry leaves, shrub prunings, shredded cardboard, paper and eggshells.
When it comes to composting, there’s always an option to suit your method of gardening. Check out these 5 composting methods any gardener can try.
September brings the last of the remaining summer harvests, such as tomatoes and aubergines. Larger varieties of tomatoes such as beefsteak will take a little longer to develop, encourage them with this hack for ripening green tomatoes. Chillies and peppers harvested in September will produce sweeter harvests than August croppings.
With the correct timing, you should be able to harvest the first of autumn crops such as leeks and sweet potatoes. On the even sweeter side of gardening, there will be plenty of mid-season apples and pears, ripe and ready for picking.
Overwintering spring cabbages should be planted out between now and October, into their designated cropping areas. Cabbages like fertile, well-draining but moisture-retaining soil. It’s the rule of 45 when it comes to planting these crops out. Plant each cabbage 45cm length between plants and rows.
Other fruits and vegetable to plant out include cranberries, onion sets, peaches, nectarine and strawberries – which produce a sweeter crop when planted earlier.