SEPTEMBER IN THE GARDEN
September is the heart of spring. So much happens in the garden during this beautiful time of the year. Weather conditions can be atrocious on occasion with cold, wind, rain and snow, Nevertheless, it’s the season when gardeners plant with great conviction. There are just so many plants in bloom to tempt everybody to go gardening. Enjoy spring with all the flowers and lush new growth all around you. It only happens once a year!
- Most of the summer and autumn flowering seedlings are ready for planting from now on into the New Year. Bedding begonias, dahlias, salvias, marigolds, impatiens, torenias, zinnias and portulacas are the most popular plants coming into season now.
- As winter and spring annuals come to their end, remove and replant with new summer season plants.
- Mixed hanging baskets will soon need to be re-planted with summer and autumn flowering plants.
- Sow seeds in situ of summer and autumn flowers – cosmos, marigolds, Californian poppy and sunflowers.
- Plant seed potatoes.
- Plant out seedlings of tomatoes, chillies, peppers, egg plants as well as the usual lettuces, cabbages, beetroot, spinach and Swiss chard.
- Sow seed of all the pumpkin family, dwarf beans, runner beans, maize and sweetcorn.
- Still time to sow carrots, radish and turnips in drills.
- Keep weeds under control by hoeing between the rows in large gardens.
- Plant out young plants of all the different basil types.
- Plant new curry leaf trees when all danger of frost is over. They are a member of the citrus family and must be cared for in a similar manner.
- Sow coriander seed regularly from now on at three weekly intervals.
- Prune back any aggressive herbs like mint and oregano.
- Fertilise the entire herb garden to maximise spring growth.
- Harvest citrus and avocados.
- Plant young citrus and sub-tropical fruit trees like avocados, mangoes and litchis.
- Stake them after planting and protect from sunburn with a temporary shade structure over the young tree.
- Fertilise all fruit trees now with a general-purpose fertiliser like 3:1:5 with slow release nitrogen at the recommended application rates.
- Start spraying or treating newly formed fruit for fruit fly, especially peaches, apricots and nectarines.
- Prune citrus trees that have finished fruiting by removing any old or straggly growth.
- Clivias bloom in spring. Early September is the best time to buy new plants whilst they have flowers on. It’s important to see the colour shape and form of the flowers.
- Dead head spent flowering bulbs and annuals.
- Water spring flowering shrubs like azaleas and deutzias to ensure a good show.
- All plants need liberal applications of fertiliser at the recommended dosage rates in order to optimise spring growth.
- Watering is vital until the spring rains arrive in earnest.
- Stake alstroemerias and other perennials that have a tendency to “fall over”.
- Prune back spring flowering shrubs immediately after they have finished blooming.
- Many tender sub-tropical shrubs and climbers like bougainvilleas and holmskoldias need to be pruned back in early spring as the weather warms.
- Colourful filler plants in season now – fuchsias, pelargoniums, scabious, dianthus, gaura.
- Increase watering to twice weekly.
- Pinch back (just take out the soft new growth tip with your fingers) one third of the new growth shoots to stagger the blooming. Pinch back another one third 2 weeks later.
- Fertilise with a balanced rose food. 8:1:5 or 5:1:5 formulations work best.
- Commence regular preventative spraying against fungal diseases at two-weekly intervals.
- Check for insect pests like aphids, thrips and bollworm and treat accordingly.
- Apply lawn fertiliser at the recommended rate. Water well after applications unless it’s raining at the time.
- Commence mowing and trimming the edges as growth increases.
- Check for weed growth and apply selective broad leaf herbicides where applicable.
- Plant new lawn grass seed or grass plugs. It’s the best time for establishing or laying a new lawn in summer rainfall regions.
- Weeds start making an appearance once again. Try and keep on top of them by hand weeding or spraying young seedlings wherever possible and practical. Never allow them to flower and set seeds.
- Pests and disease management begins in earnest. Be observant all around the garden and react immediately to any problems.
- Check for snails and slugs where new growth abounds and apply snail bait.
- Spray paving and hard surface areas to kill off weed growth.
- Turn the compost heap and remove any well-rotted matter for use in the spring garden.
Spring – a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can be.