Hints & Tips
August came to an end on a rather underwhelming note, with wet weather and below-average temperatures affecting many parts of the UK on bank holiday Monday – although, thankfully, there were spells of nicer weather during the rest of the weekend.
September looks to be getting off to a more positive start, with clearer skies and more settled conditions. Could this be the beginning of an Indian summer? If so, it's a chance to make a start on this month's gardening jobs.
Divide perennials and harvest crops
Now is an excellent time to start dividing herbaceous perennials. Lift the clump and then divide it into pieces, either by using two forks to prise it apart or cutting it up with a spade or bread knife.
Plant your divisions, which need to have both leaves and roots, as soon as possible and water them in well.
Alternatively, you can put your divisions in individual pots to build up their size, overwintering them in a frost-free environment.
If you're keen on growing your own fruit and vegetables, there is still some harvesting to be getting on with. Autumn raspberries will be ready for picking, while apples and pears can still be harvested this month. Any of your remaining potato crop should be dug up before the slugs get to them.
Clearing, watering and maintenance
Those of us with greenhouses need to start clearing them out once tomatoes and other plants have yielded their last crops. Make sure you clean thoroughly to prevent any pests from making their homes in the greenhouse over the winter.
Watering should remain one of your main areas of attention, particularly if (fingers crossed) we do manage to have an Indian summer. Aim for once or twice a week, or every day for containers and hanging baskets, using rainwater or grey water whenever possible.
Don't forget to carry out any maintenance work as and when it arises, clearing debris from your garden, weeding regularly and using the waste for your compost heap.
If you have a pond, you might want to consider adding some netting to protect it from falling leaves. Netting can also be added to leafy vegetable crops to ensure they remain beyond the reach of birds.
Prepare for spring
And last but not least, you should start preparing for spring. It might seem like a long way off, but the earlier you begin, the better the results will be next year.
Take advantage of the good soil conditions to plant spring-flowering bulbs, as well as trees, fruit bushes and perennials.
Firm, plump bulbs that show no signs of mould should be chosen. Get planting as soon as possible so they can be putting down roots and water in well to give plants the best chance of success.