Gardening jobs for September

Make sure that your onions are in store now after drying in the sunshine. They should last well into the winter – or try making Jill’s onion marmalade with the short keepers!

Penstemons don’t like cold, wet winters so as a safe guard it’s a good idea to take a few cuttings now just in case the main plant succumbs to the winter weather. The short tip cuttings root easily and can be over-wintered in a cold greenhouse or window sill.

To help greenhouse tomatoes ripen keep the doors closed as much as possible to retain heat and remove some of the lower leaves from the plants to increase air movement around the fruits as they start to ripen.

Remove tomato leaves to speed up ripening

Remove tomato leaves to speed up ripening

Many hardy annuals such as godetia, cleome, larkspur and nigella growing in then garden will have seed pods on them and these can be collected and saved for next year. Dry the seed pods in the house and then store the seed in envelopes.

Leeks are one of my favourite winter vegetable and around now I use a hoe to draw up a small ridge of soil around the base of the plants. This helps to protect the white stem in the soil.

Try to plant spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and snowdrops this month. The golden rule is to plant the bulbs three times their depth.

Pick autumn raspberries as on a regular basis to encourage more fruits over the coming weeks. Those that can be eaten fresh can be frozen for later use. The best way to freeze surplus raspberries is to lay them out on a sheet of grease-proof paper on a tray in the freezer and when the fruits are frozen they can be bagged into portions.