September in the garden

School children go back to their learning institutions resplendent in over-sized blazers and blister-inducing, shiny black shoes. Crows and ravens return noisily to nest uncomfortably close in neighbours' trees. Strictly Come Dancing revs up for its sprint to Christmas and.....there's plenty to be getting on with in the garden. There's lots of crops to pick, dahlias to cut, gladioli to stake against the breeze as thoughts turn to planting again. After all, the soil is warm, the soil is moist, the soil is ready. September is a marvelous month.

Gardening is a long game and planting bulbs now for superb display next spring is a must in September. Choose whatever you want but only go for sound, solid and disease-free bulbs and plant in well-drained soil and containers. Never let the soil or compost get waterlogged and your garden will be blooming marvelous next year.

 Top tips for September

  • Net over ponds to stop the first falling leaves clogging up your waterways.
  • Check all potatoes are out of the soil to prevent slug damage and tubers overwintering and growing in the wrong place next year.
  • Net over any brassicas on your plot to avoid pigeons pecking at your sprouts – ouch!
  • As plants die off in the greenhouse, take them out and thoroughly clean where they have grown. It prevents diseases from overwintering.
  • Large perennial plants can be divided into smaller sections and replanted. Carefully dig a clump, divide, ensuring the new pieces have both roots and shoots, and replant elsewhere in the garden.
  • Ripen green tomatoes in the house. Put them in a box with a ripe banana. Cover with a tea towel and wait. It works!
  • Reduce watering many house-plants as they need to slow growth down as the light levels drop. Clean any shiny house-plant leaves with clean water to make the most of every lux of light.
  • Keep an eye on watering, especially plants in containers and hanging baskets, as the leaves are full and rain will not reach the compost.
  • Harvest everything as it matures. Leave it on the plant to mature and production stops, so you run the risk of slugs and snails getting a free meal.
  • Sow spinach and rocket along with a few seeds of greenhouse lettuce.
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs.

Check out some more great gardening advice