Welcome to the latest post in this series, looking at quick gardening jobs you can fit into a busy schedule.
Now that autumn has arrived things feel like they’re slowing down in the garden; plants are starting to shut down, lots of crops are coming to an end, and leaves are starting to fall. This doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do this month though, there are lots of quick jobs you can make a start on to prepare your garden for the cold weather and the spring that follows it. Here are some ten minute gardening jobs for early autumn.
Plant spring bulbs
We may be heading towards the colder months of the year, but planting spring bulbs is a gardening job that really gives you a lift. Spring bulbs flower when most other plants are still waiting for warmer weather, so they make such a difference to the amount of interest in your garden at the end of winter. Daffodils, crocus and hyacinths should all be planted by the end of September; hang on a bit longer to plant tulips though. If you’re not sure how to do it, check out my post on how to plant bulbs. It’s also worth potting up a bulb lasagne; this is a container layered with bulbs that flower at different times, and it’s a brilliant way to get a long display of flowers for minimal effort.
Divide summer flowering perennials
It’s a good idea to divide perennial plants every two to three years, because doing so gives them a new lease of life. It’s also a great way to create new plants for free. Summer flowering perennials such as crocosmia, geranium, hosta and euphorbia can be divided in autumn, make sure they have finished flowering first though. It’s a quick and easy job, my free plants post shows you how to do it.
Prune summer fruiting raspberries
If you have raspberries that fruit in the summer (as opposed to autumn fruiting varieties which are still producing fruit), you need to do a bit of maintenance at this time of year. Remove all brown canes that bore fruit this year; cut them down at ground level. There will be new, green canes that have grown this year, these are the ones that will bear fruit next year. Thin these out if you need to, and tie them into your plant supports.
Sow green manure
Green manures are plants that you grow to cover bare soil when you’re not using it; they’re a great idea for the less productive colder months in the garden. The foliage keeps weeds down, and when you dig the plants back into the ground they enrich the soil and improve its structure. Good varieties to sow at this time of year are winter grazing rye and winter tares. Scatter the seed thinly over the soil, then rake over. When you want to use the land again in spring, cut the foliage down and leave it to wilt before digging everything back into the soil.
After a pretty dry summer and lots of footfall, lawns are likely to be in need of some tlc. Use a garden fork to make holes in the lawn at regular intervals, this aerates the ground and helps avoid waterlogging and compaction. It’s also a good time of year to rake any ‘thatch’ from the surface, thatch is dead grass that becomes matted at soil level and it can really inhibit growth of new grass. Be warned: this job is a good workout!
Writing this has made me realise what a busy month September really is in the garden; it’s all about preparing for the coming season while still enjoying the garden as it starts to fade. What gardening jobs do you have planned for this month?