September isn’t just the beginning of the new school year, it also marks the start of a new term for your garden too. It might feel as though it’s time to start winding things down for the winter, but - sorry to break it to you - September is actually a busy month for the garden, getting it prepped and ready for autumn, winter and even spring.
While you won’t need a new pencil case or lunch box in order to get outside and spruce your space, purchases of new tools, pots and gloves will all be forgiven - after all, what’s a fresh start without some fresh new kit?
If your house plants have been living the al fresco life over the past few months, now’s the time to bring them back inside before the cooler weather arrives. You’ve also probably been giving your house plants inside a little more TLC of late with the warmer temperatures, but you can start to scale back on the regularity of watering them now to prepare them for autumn temperatures.
It wasn’t the scorching summer we dreamed about, but nevertheless, the likelihood is over the summer months you won’t have needed to mow the lawn as frequently as you did in the spring. You may also have consciously left some of your lawn long to encourage wildlife - but as we head into September it’s time to consider treating your lawn to a fresh new shorter style. If you’re experiencing any bare or less-healthy looking patches, or the lawn just needs a little pampering, use an autumn fertiliser to bring back some of its lustre.
Set your sights on spring
The warm, September soil provides the perfect environment for your spring bulbs to get a great head start. And, in planting them it gives you an excuse to start dreaming about warmer days again. Crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, bluebells and snake’s head fritillaries will all be suitable for planting now, either in pots and borders. Hold off on the tulips though, as they prefer slightly cooler temperatures, so you’d be better off waiting until November or December to plant these.
All the hard work you’ve put into tending to your vegetables will come into fruition this month, because it’s finally time to harvest them and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Dig up any remaining potatoes, pick fruits such as apples, pears and plums before they fall to the ground, collect any late raspberries, dig up courgettes, pick tomatoes and harvest your onions. The next challenge is finding a recipe to incorporate all of your newfound ingredients...
Get swept away
It’s best to start tackling the falling leaves earlier rather than later, in a bid to avoid them quickly taking over - you’d be surprised how fast they drop when they all start to go, and all it takes is a couple of blustery days to give your garden a whole new carpet of brown. If you can, sweep them after a few dry days to avoid making too much of a mess with mulchy leaves. Or, if you have one in your possession, grab the leaf blower to do the hard work for you.
Wondering what to do with those leaves once you’ve gathered them all? Once they’ve decomposed the leafmould will make a great addition to compost, so collect them in a hessian sack or large bag, make sure there are some holes in the bag, and then keep them for up to two years before using them as compost.