Preparing Your Garden for Autumn
As summer begins to wind down and September greets us, we prepare our gardens for the autumn ahead. Have you taken a moment to think about what needs to be done this month?
Potato Pie Anyone?
There are many types of potato that we grow in our gardens, the first earlies and second earlies will have long been dug up, and probably by now eaten. So now it’s the turn of the main crop potatoes! These will be the potatoes that were planted in April. Around mid-September the stems will begin to drop off, this is the ideal time to harvest. Any time before the stems drop off, the skins may not have set. And if you wait too long to harvest the risk of the potato rotting of being ruined by pests increases.
Why not dig them up and treat the family to a hearty potato pie? Homegrown of course.
Filling up on Fruit
It’s not only potatoes that are coming to an end. Other fruits in your garden are either long gone or should have hit that ripe point.
If you still have apples on the tree, now is a good time to test if they are ready to go. Using your flat hand, lift the weight of the apple up, removing strain from the branch. If the apple is ripe it should just lift away in your hand. A great tip at this time of year is to keep the grass freshly cut, this will enable you to spot any fallen fruit and collect them quickly.
September is also a good time to harvest plums. It is important to note that not all plums on a tree will be ripe at the same time. It could take a number of weeks before they are all harvested. The best way to know when to harvest your plums is to think back to having eaten a ripe plum. Noting the firmness from that memory will be a good guide when picking the fruits from your own tree. If you are unsure, pick one that feels right and give it a taste!
Collecting Your own Seeds
Why buy fresh seeds every year, when you can harvest your own from luxurious plants that are already established in your garden.
It’s easy enough to dig up or deadhead plants and flowers that are past their prime, but why not use this time to collect your own seeds. Using your own seeds for the next season allows you to know what to expect when the plant grows through.
Seeds should be ripe enough to remove when they are no longer green. They may turn red, brown or black depending on the species of plant. Seedheads should be removed on a dry day and left in a warm dry place (such as an airing cupboard) to dry out so that the seeds can be extracted.
When you have dried out seeds that are waiting for the right season to be sown, the best method for storage is to pop them into envelopes. This is a great way to keep them separate and you can write the contents on each one. Or you can leave them blank for a surprise next season!
Here a Net, There a Net
Nets can be a handy tool to use in the garden, particularly as we come into autumn.
Nets are great at keeping birds away from some of your tastier plants. Now is a great time to cover those plants over before they turn into bird feed! Remember to prop up the net so as not to stunt plant growth and so that birds can’t reach the plant itself.
Another great use for netting at this time of year is to cover your ponds. As with plants this can stop animals making a meal out of your fish, or taking a bath where they shouldn’t. But the greatest benefit of netting your pond in autumn is to reduce the number of leaves that can fall in and rot away before they are removed.
Autumn Colour Contained
If you’re looking to bring some colour into the garden in time for autumn, potting up containers is a great way to introduce movable colour.
For a simple autumn pot you can look at pairing up phormium, sedums (Hylotelephium), cyclamen and heather. It’ll give you a great and lasting autumn look. Don’t forget to regularly deadhead your cyclamen to keep fresh growth coming through. And when your pot starts to look tired, look at transferring your heather to the main garden! Ready for the pot to be used in the winter.
As always, here at Abingdons complete garden services, we are on hand for any routine garden maintenance you may need assistance with. Or if you are looking for a complete garden overhaul this autumn, get in touch and we can discuss your ideas and designs. Giving you the garden you deserve.