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Gardening with Mick - September

I think it was John Keats that wrote of a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. And we are

already there.

Fruit abundant and ready, or almost ready, for picking. I am sad to say winter is only

just around the corner so, let’s gather in all that is ready and prepare for winter. It may be a good

idea in the current economic climate to make a few jams, preserves, soups and sauces to save

buying them at highly inflated prices in winter, and homemade always tastes better.

The gathering of the fruits of our labours must be the first priority from now until it is all safely

gathered in. Once collected and carefully stored we can get back in the garden and prepare for

winter. The bulb catalogues have been hitting my letter box fast and furious during August and my

order is in.

I have planned were everything is going and my gardener is preparing the ground accordingly. Much of the value will have gone out of the ground with the spring and summer plantings so it is imperative that we replace this with a good fertiliser. Everyone has their favourites and mine is blood, fish and bone. The blood starts feeding immediately, the fish cuts in after a couple of months and the bone follows with a very long release time. It is best with organic fertilisers to dress the ground two or there weeks before planting as the first release will not be for at least two weeks.

If you do not have a compost bin now is the time to make one. You will be removing a lot of plant

material from your garden over the next three months so make use of it by composting. Do not

compost diseased plants, burn them and when the ashes have cooled put them on the compost


September to February are the ideal months to move trees and shrubs, once moved water in

regularly, I do mine daily for at least a month. Also, if you intend to plant bare rooted items

October and November are my favourite months.

Bare rooted are much cheaper than container grown and are just as successful if properly looked after. I always start new plantings off with a good sprinkle of blood, fish and bone which has always shown good results.

This is an ideal time to get the pruning shears out especially on hardwood plants. Do not be afraid

to cut well back as this will produce excellent young growth.

If you haven’t done so already chop your lavender in half otherwise it will start to go woody and

end up dying off.

Your gladioli will have finished flowering by now so lift, dry and store for next year. If you have any tender perennials lift them before the first frost and trim off any yellow leaves, store in a frost free place until next spring.

Now is the ideal time to plant biennials. My ground likes wallflowers and always gives an excellent

show of these, sweet Williams are also a favourite of mine and of course pansies with their pretty

little faces.

Now is the time to sow winter lettuce they should be available to crop from January onwards,

there are many varieties but I find Winter Density a reliable cropper and Lambs lettuce is probably

the most tasty.

Onion sets and garlic can be planted from now until the beginning go December, protect from

birds as they seem to really enjoy pulling them out of the ground, they don’t even attempt to eat

them they just play with them.

As soon as you have cropped your greenhouse give it, and the cold frame, a really good clean. I

used to give mine a weak solution of bleach followed by a good dose of hose pipe both inside

and out.

Now is the time to bring your house plants back inside, give them a good wash first and a water

and feed, this should see them for a couple of weeks unless it is particularly hot. Most house

plants will happily survive on one water per week and one feed per month.

If you have collected seeds during the summer now is an ideal time to sow them, these should

germinate quickly and can be kept in a cold greenhouse until required.

Remember that September 23rd is the Autumn equinox, every day after then has less daylight.

That’s it for September folks, one of my favourite months will be gone before you know it and we

will be donning warmer clothing. I think an alcohol free beer is in order as I will soon be on the


Happy gardening. Mick


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