August 31, 2018
If summer colour is all about gentle cooling pastels, then September brings vibrant fire to our gardens. Dahlias will be showing off this month, flanked by asters, rudbeckias and heleniums. Whereas many plants struggled in the heat of our wonderful summer, September’s dews and mists will refresh and revive.
Traditionally September was when we started “putting our gardens to bed” but hold fast. There’s sure to be some lovely warm sun to enjoy and the wildlife will enjoy a less than tidy garden. Just start to think about moving the more tender plants and buy in some fleece.
We hope you’ve enjoyed browsing our range of spring bulbs and have ordered your winter bedding. If not, there’s still time.
- Give your greenhouse a good clean, inside and out and remove any shading. Over the coming months your plants will need the maximum amount of light.
- Now is the time to start moving houseplants back indoors. They’ll have enjoyed being outside during the summer but as the nights start to cool down they need to come in. First check the posts for pests, unless you want slugs sliming across your floors!
- Onion sets, Shallots and Garlic can all be planted from now until mid-November See below for some guidance.
- We’ll be despatching spring flowering bulbs from early September onwards so plant on receipt. Do, make sure that the planting hole is the right depth – the general guideline is that the planting hole should be roughly three times the height of the bulb.
- Lift your main crop potatoes and carrots, taking care not slice or damage them. Don’t leave any tiny potatoes behind as they may harbour disease for next year.
- Continue to harvest tomatoes, chillies, peppers, aubergines and beans. Now is the time for making pickles and chutneys. Or perhaps dry them in the oven and store in oil?
- On a warm dry day harvest some herbs, such as mint, thyme and oregano and hang them indoors to dry for winter cooking
Chillies can take a long time to ripen but after the glorious summer that most of us experienced we should be reaping a bumper crop. Most green chillies will ripen to red and small ones tend to be the hottest but there are always exceptions. When tasting them always start at the tip as this will be the mildest part. The closer you get to the seeds then the more the heat will increase so nibble with caution!
Chilli, garlic and ginger are the trinity of spices for any decent curry, but chilli will give oomph to a great many other dishes. Apart from puddings – although chilli chocolate is rather addictive!
Your homegrown chillies will keep fresh in the fridge for a couple of weeks or you may like to dry some for use in winter. Just create a chilli chain with needle and thread and hang them somewhere warm. After a few days they will be dry so either store them whole in a jar or grind them to powder.
Chilli has many friends but works particularly well with:
Ginger Tomatoes Garlic Onions
Olives Potatoes Pasta Chicken
Parsley Carrots Cabbage Olives
Cumin Coriander Lemon White Fish
Now Is The Time To Repair You Lawn
As we near the end of an exceptionally sunny summer, your lawn may have been transformed from a lush green colour to a dry, brown expanse resembling coconut matting. Recent rain will certainly have helped your lawn to recover but with a little extra TLC, you can easily restore to its former glory.
In most cases your lawn will not have died during the summer months but will have simply become dormant. There is much more to your lawn than the green blades you see on the surface and what happens beneath the surface is incredibly important. Indeed, there are millions of micro-organisms beneath your lawn which are essential to healthy growth. With this in mind, here are our top 5 tips for reviving and restoring your lawn:
1) Irrigate your lawn thoroughly every one to two weeks. This is far more effective than more regular, smaller applications of water.
2) Use a Lawn Recovery such as Viano RHS Recovery to nourish the micro-organisms beneath your lawn. They will break down the feed and transfer nourishment straight to the grass roots.
3) Aerate your lawn to ensure that water and nutrients can reach the all important root structure. This is especially important if your lawn has developed ‘thatch’ or moss during the recent dry spell. Aeration will help the roots grow deeply to produce a stronger, lusher lawn surface.
4) Don’t leave it until spring – The advice of many professional Groundsmen or Greenkeepers is to start early if you want a good lawn the following year. Think of treating your lawn in September as ‘autumn training’ to ensure peak condition next Spring.
5) Only rake or scarify when your lawn is growing healthily. Removing thatch and moss is essential to a healthy lawn. However, if it is not growing well before you rake or scarify then it could result in a very patchy lawn surface.
Early September is a good time for final outdoor sowings of leafy green veg such as spinach, rocket and winter lettuce. Sow Leaf Salad Winter Mix in succession on a windowsill and you’ll still be picking leaves when the ground outside is frozen.
If you don’t plan to grow any winter veg (really?) then give your soil a boost by sowing some green manure. Green Manure Winter Mix will act as a nitrogen fixer and lifter and will both loosen and aerate your soil. One pack will cover 10m² and at just £1.79 has to be one of the cheapest ways of improving your soil.
Planting Autumn Onion Sets
Sets are small immature onions that, given time, will increase in size to form full-sized onions. Autumn is the perfect time for planting onion sets, the soil is still warm and the result will be an early supply of onions next year. Planting them in September/October will mean they will be mature in early to mid-summer, roughly 4 weeks before those planted in spring.
Your onion sets will grow best in well-drained fertile soil, in a sunny position. They don’t like too much nitrogen so any manure needs to be applied a few weeks prior to planting.
Plant the sets in shallow drills, leaving their necks just above the surface of the soil. Space the sets 10cm apart, leaving 30cm between each row. Keep the area weed-free and only water sparingly when dry. No feed is necessary.
Birds can be a nuisance in that they will pull the sets up searching for food so it’s best to cover the sets with fleece or netting.
You’ll be harvesting these onions just as your stored ones are running out!
Plant of the Month
Autumn’s on the horizon, and it’s the perfect time to plant a border to be proud of. There’s no need to worry if you can’t decide which plants to opt for, as our Cottage Garden Perennial Mix makes it easy to get your garden one step ahead for next year.
Anything you plant during late summer will establish in the ground quickly before the colder weather sets in and will take off more swiftly when spring arrives. That means you’ll be treated to bigger booms and more flowers next year.
This beautiful selection of perennials will combine a mix of varieties, foliage forms, colours and textures to help create a striking cottage garden style display. All plants have been freshly grown ready so they’re full of vigour and ready to go!
We’ll be sure to include some late summer flowering varieties so you can enjoy instant colour, including Leucanthenum, Rudbeckia,Sedum and many more.
Buy 18x 9cm Cottage Garden Perennial Mix for £25, 36 plants for £45 or 54 plants for £60.