September is often a glorious month in the garden. The weather is more likely to be sunny than in July or August. It is a time to spend outside doing all kinds of gardening.
You can start tidying up many shrubs, taking hardwood cuttings for propagation and just sticking 18in lengths into the ground to see if they grow.
Rosa Rugosa cuttings can be taken now. Just cut off a few leggy side branches and stick them in the ground. Flowering currant, elderberry and weigela can all be treated in the same way.
This will be the last month that you need to cut your hedge because its growth will slow down as the days shorten and temperatures begin to drop. The exception is an evergreen honeysuckle hedge that will need tidying up again in October.
Leaves begin to fall and need to be collected regularly, especially in grassed areas. Make sure you have enough space in your leaf compost bins for this autumn’s leaves. If they are full then either add another leaf bin or use the leaf mould you have been storing for the past year.
You can use your rotted leaf mould from the past two years around your roses, or in your vegetable patch. It will be incorporated into the soil over the next year increasing its organic content. Over the winter it will provide shelter to insects and somewhere for birds to find food.
This is also the time of year to top up your bark or wood chip mulch around your shrubs. You need to add about one inch every year to replace that which has rotted down.
Turn you compost heaps to re-oxygenate them and to get them going again. This is another job I have neglected all summer long. If you turn them now and a gain over the winter you can still have compost you can use by next spring.
Plant your spring bulbs, or at least your daffodils and crocuses in September.
You can plant seed potatoes in September and harvest new potatoes on Christmas morning to go with your turkey.
Keep on top of the weeding to stop annual weeds going to seed. If you are growing leeks this is especially important because they are easily stunted by weeds that compete for sunlight.
You can sow a couple of rows of spinach now to give you fresh greens through the autumn. Just add lots of high nitrogen chicken manure when you plant them.
Watch your broccoli for butterfly eggs. Remove them by hand when you find those clusters of tiny yellow eggs on the underside of the leaves.
Hoe them every week to keep weeds down. Dig out any couch grass with a trowel because hoeing breaks up its roots and spreads this noxious weed.
This is the time when I am gardening to the sound of my neighbours’ chain saws. The branches I put aside last autumn are now dry enough to be cut and stacked for firewood. I use a bow saw for speed and ease. It also preserves the peace and gives me exercise.
Your shed and fence will be drier now than they will ever be. Now is a great time to lash on the preservative. Remember the shed floor, too. That needs it more than the sides even though it means emptying everything out.