How is it September in the garden already? And we’re officially into Autumn too, after a fairly underwhelming summer. But although there’s still plenty to do, on the bright side, there’s lots of harvesting to look forward to as well.
CARRY FORWARD JOBS
If you read my August in the garden post, then all those jobs are still applicable, (click here if you want a recap!) deadheading, pruning, taking cuttings, collecting and sowing seeds, weeding, and ordering your spring bulbs.
JAMS AND SPIRITS
Last year our plum tree yielded so many plums I was stewing, freezing, eating fresh from the tree, and making jam for what seemed like weeks. Pickings are a lot slimmer this year but my neighbour’s damson tree is cropping heavily so I’ll be making damson jam and damson gin. I’ll also be cooking all things apple and my husband will be making apple juice from our early ripening tree.
And I’ll be making blackberry brandy, rhubarb vodka, and sloe gin again too.
Now is a good time to lift and divide some perennial plants. You can do this with your own plants or by picking up some cheap, end of season plants from a garden centre. Just because the flowers are dead, as long as the soil in the pot hasn’t dried out then the roots should be undamaged. Once you’ve divided your plant(s) then you can plant them out straight away. The soil is still warm and very moist thanks to all the recent rain, so any new plants should be able to put down strong roots and grow away quickly before winter.
FOR THE HOUSE
Keep picking flowers for the house – sweet peas, dahlias, phlox, roses, hydrangeas, scabious, nigella, cosmos, echinacea, plus the odd gladioli are all still going strong.
My new favourite is my Sarah Raven Thomas Edison dahlia grown from a tuber this year. Just a single stem looks lovely with some fragrant phlox and weeping birch foliage – and it’s a display unlike anything you can buy in the shops.
Also keep picking your fruit and vegetables as soon as they ripen to encourage any little green ones to mature more quickly too. Once your beans and sweet peas have finished cropping and flowering, cut them down but leave the roots in the soil to add nitrogen, ready for next year’s crops and flowers.
Don’t forget, if you grow borage the flowers are edible and look very pretty frozen into ice cubes, ready for all your home made fruit brandy, gin, and vodka!
If you have a pond, now is the time to clear away any accumulated algae, duckweed and fallen leaves. This can all go on the compost pile but leave it on the side of the pond for a few days first, so any pond creatures caught up in the haul have a chance to crawl out, and scramble safely back into the water.
What do you do with all the leaves that will be falling this month? If you throw them away, please don’t! Scoop them up and into sacks – either biodegradable ones (e.g., from Amazon) or black bin liners with a few punctured holes.
Then leave them to one side until this time next year by which time you’ll have some glorious, crumbly leaf mould that you can use in your garden. Either to improve the drainage of your soil or to use as a brilliant mulch for your bulbs and tubers over winter. Best of all, it’s free!
So this is my September in the garden. Have you made start on any of these jobs? Are there any you do that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know! Or feel free to get in touch if you’d like recipes for any of the alcoholics or spreadables mentioned above. :-)
A GUEST BLOG BY LISA MCLACHLAN.
Visit her website: www.lisasnotebook.com.