Jobs for September

As summer gradually slips into autumn it is time to enjoy the last of the summer colour and a time to harvest fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden. There are many plants that are looking their best at the moment such as dahlias and the shrubby salvias that come in an interesting range of colours.

Cucumbers growing undercover can be encouraged to put on a late flush of fruits if you keep the plants well watered and fed, by alternating high nitrogen and high potash feeds. By late September in a warm greenhouse you should have plenty of fresh cucumbers to harvest that can be turned into lovely cucumber relish – see Jill’s recipe. .

To keep dahlias flowering for as long as possible deadhead on a regular basis or pick bunches of flower and enjoy them in the house. The more you pick, the more new flowers will be produced into autumn.

Onions and shallots growing in the garden need lifting as soon as the foliage dies down. Before storing the bulbs for use over winter it is important to let the bulbs ripen to form a dry papery outer skin. On warm, sunny days dry the bulbs outside on open trays, or if the weather is damp, bring them undercover in an airy place.

Autumn raspberries should be coming thick and fast this month and will need picking a couple of times a week to prevent the fruits spoiling on the plants. A variety that is cropping well in my garden at the moment is ‘Joan J’ that produces large red, sweet berries.

Keep hanging baskets and planted containers growing and flowering to the end of the month by regular head heading, watering and feeding. With just a little extra care you will be rewarded with a lovely display for several more weeks.