Autumn jobs

Date
Published in
Various local newspapers (UK)
Written by
Kim Wilde

It is sad to think that summer is nearly over and another season has come and gone, but September heralds the start of early autumn, a new season to look forward to in your garden. Autumn is one of nature's real spectacles, with rich vibrant colours, cooler days and the time to reap an abundance of produce, which is a just reward for the season's hard work.

My garden is looking slightly tired at the moment, because as my children have been on their school summer holidays, I have not been able to give it my full attention. However, with the holidays nearly over and the weather about to change, I will soon be able to spend more time preparing for the autumn.

In your vegetable garden this month, you should harvest onions and shallots once their tops have died back. Gently lift and leave to dry in a greenhouse or shed. After which, clean off any soil and dried outer leaves, before storing in open trays or hanging in strings until ready for use in the kitchen.

Maincrop potatoes should also be lifted once the foliage has turned yellow and before the weather becomes too wet. Once dry these should be placed in trays or paper sacks before storing in a cool, frost-free place.
Crops that will continue to need harvesting this month include tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, sweetcorn, carrots, marrows and courgettes. Continue to pick runner beans regularly, unless you wish to save seed for next year, in which case pods should be left on the plant to dry before picking.
In your flower borders, many plants will produce seeds that you may wish to harvest and save for sowing next year. Good plants to collect seed from now include Verbena, Californian and Oriental Poppies, Cornflowers, Love in the mist and Sunflowers.
If you need to fill gaps in your perennial borders to provide late colour and interest, good choices for planting now include Sedum 'Autumn Joy', Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm', Echinacea 'Kims Knee High' and Anemone japonica, which are readily available in garden centres at the moment.
Continue to deadhead roses and cut back any long unwanted growth on rambling roses and shrubs.
The summer bedding plants in your hanging baskets and patio containers will still benefit from a weekly feed, as they should provide a colourful display until the first frosts arrive. Continue to remove faded flowers to ensure a continuation of colour.
Your lawn will benefit this month from the cooler weather, so continue to mow regularly. If you are planning to sow grass seed for a new lawn, then now is the time to prepare the area ready for this job at the end of the month, provided the ground is not too dry.
September is the month to purchase and plant Spring Flowering Bulbs such as Daffodils, Tulips, Crocus and Hyacinths. A little hard work now will produce a wonderful colourful display next Spring.