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Gardening Tips

Several new members expressed a wish to have more information for beginners so we thought we would prepare a few tips for things to do in your gardens at certain times of the year.

We will endeavour to update the information each month and would welcome input from more experienced growers  


SEPTEMBER: JOBS TO DO… Shortening days, the beginning of autumn and harvest.
In general
1. Make notes on the garden’s performance, what has worked, what hasn’t etc. to help plan for next year.
2. Stake tall plants in case of high winds and be prepared to move tender plants indoors if frost is forecast.
3. It is a good time to transplant evergreen trees and shrubs. Be sure to water well afterwards.
4. Pick apples and pears just before they are ripe, leave stalks on. Store unblemished fruit, wrapped individually in paper, in clean trays in dry, mice free place.
5. Cut out at soil level raspberry canes that bore fruit earlier in the year. Space out young canes and tie them to supports. 

In the vegetable garden
1. Ripen the remaining tomatoes indoors at the end of the month, or make green tomato chutney!
2. Pick sweet corn, courgettes, runner beans and French beans regularly to prolong picking season.
3. Sow winter lettuce.
4. Sow oriental greens and spinach.
5. Sow carrots under cloches.
6. Sow parsley and chervil to provide a spring crop. Trim off largest, yellowing leaves of parsley to encourage new growth.
7. Cut asparagus foliage down to ground level after browning off.
8. Plant strawberry runners to establish before winter arrives.
9. Onion sets to be overwintered can be planted out now.
10. Lift maincrop carrots with a fork, cutting of the tops and store in between layers of sand, keep boxes in dry shed.
In the ornamental garden
1. Continue dead heading flowering plants.
2. Prune late summer-flowering shrubs.
3. Prune climbers and ramblers and tie in to train growth.
4. Cut back unsightly growth and do an autumn tidy up, discard plants past their best, shred all the debris and compost or use as a mulch.
5. Fork the soil and add a light top dressing of bonemeal.
6. Empty containers and pots, fill with new compost, set spring bulbs deeper than normal and plant top with winter flowering plants. Plant bulbs in the garden for spring flowering (tulips are best left until Oct/Nov).
7. Buy sweet pea seeds for sowing next month.
Pests and diseases
1. Pick up and dispose of fallen leaves affected by rose black spot.
2. Control red spider mites with proprietary insecticides.
3. Control mildew by spraying with fungicide.
Indoors… or under glass….
1. Cyclamen should be established now as growing plants.
2. Freesias that have been in a cold frame must now be taken into a greenhouse or conservatory. Give plenty of light and air.
3. Prepare pots of bulbs to flower for Christmas. Force by covering and keeping them in dark moist conditions.
4. Take cuttings of fuchsias, geraniums and zonal pelargoniums. You may need gentle heat by the end of the month.
5. Check over greenhouse heating systems to ensure their efficiency and safety now before they are needed.
6. Begin to reduce watering and feeding indoor plants. Keep tender plants away from windows on frosty nights.
‘No peace for the wicked!’
"Youth is like spring, an over-praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes.  Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits."
Samuel Butler 1835-1902
October seems to bridge the gap between summer and winter - there's a chill in the air but precious little frost. There's still life left in some summer plants but there's not much colour about. And there's something particularly satisfying about planting seeds in autumn.
Sowing seeds is always an act of faith in nature but in October, as the earth is winding down for Winter, it seems to be even more trusting. And yes, most of the varieties that you sow now can also be sown early in the New Year but you know that nature will reward you with an earlier or a stronger crop. There's still time to plant Spring Bulbs - Daffodils can continue to be planted for the next few weeks and Tulips until the end of December
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