In our May/June issue, our garden columnist Vandra Costello shares her easy gardening tips for summer. But what happens after that? Here’s what to continue with when autumn arrives…
Things are starting to wind down in the garden in autumn, but there are still loads of jobs to do, from hand-picking your favourite bulbs for next spring to heading off the winter frosts. It’s the second busiest time for the gardener after summer, and these are the things you should be doing to get serious about your garden when autumn sets in…
1. Buy your bulbs for spring.
2. Plant daffodils and other bulbs by October, tulips can wait until November.
3. Cut back spent flower stems and put on the compost heap.
4. Keep weeding.
5. Lift dahlias when they are finished flowering.
6. Take seeds of any annuals you like, then take out the remains and compost.
7. Some hardy annuals for next summer such as Nigella can be sown directly into the soil in early autumn.
8. Stake asters, dahlias and other autumn plants and continue to deadhead to extend displays.
9. Divide perennials that have finished flowering. Only keep the youngest and strongest segments after division and replant in ground that has been improved with organic matter and slow-release fertiliser.
10. The ground is still warm so autumn is one of the best times to plant as the roots of plants put in now will have time to establish themselves before the onset of winter.
11. Apply a slow-release autumn feed to tired lawns.
12. Tidy the shed.
For the veg garden
13. If you’re a no-dig gardener, leave things as they are, but for those who like to dig over their beds – do it now. Birds will feast on any pests exposed by your digging.
14. Tidy your path edges especially if you have grass paths.
15. Think of sowing a green manure such as crimson clover, field beans or alfalfa on empty veg beds – their leaves will cover the soil and stop weed growth. When planting time comes, just dig the green manure plants back into the soil adding lots of nutrients to feed your new crop.
16. Cover winter brassica crops with netting to protect them from greedy pigeons.
17. Protect overwintering root crops from frost by covering beds with straw.
18. During September the ground is still warm enough to germinate lettuce and other leafy green salads. You can get in an extra couple of cut-and-come-again crops before the cold really sets in.
19. Sow broad beans and peas between late September and mid-November.
20. Plant garlic.
21. Plant potatoes in pots to serve with your Christmas dinner! If you plant in September they will be ready in time for Christmas Day, but don’t forget to bring the plants indoors or somewhere well sheltered if frost is forecast.
For Vandra’s foolproof tips for your summer garden, pick up the May-June issue of Image Interiors & Living, at newsagents now.