After a lovely long summer break I’m back to everything; back to school for the kids, back to early mornings for me, back to the overgrown and somewhat scorched garden and back to being alone in the morning when I can catch up on everything I didn’t get around to this summer. Sound familiar?
Summer brings with it so many distractions from the garden, holidays to take, guests to host, places to visit, people to see, meals to share. Short of harvesting the bounty from the garden this summer I managed to avoid doing much more than a lot of watering and a little weeding; the incredible and seemingly unending heat did not encourage me either. But now with September upon us and a most distinctive autumnal feel to the early dark mornings reality has set in – it’s back to work.
Early fruiting raspberry canes (now yellow-leaved with spent fruit spurs) should be cut to the ground. Next year’s fruit will be borne on this year’s new fresh green growth – don’t cut that back otherwise you’ll have no fruit next June. Autumn fruiting canes should keep on fruiting until the first frosts, or until you stop picking, then it will be time to cut them all back to the ground. To ripen your green tomatoes, pinch out any new growth and flowers from the tips of the plants, now is the time to discourage new fruit sets as they will not ripen before the weather changes. Remove the green leaves around the fruit exposing them to the sunshine, a fruit hidden by leaves will not get enough sun and will not ripen on the vine for you. Tidy up the perennials a little removing some of the spent leaves and flowers and they should continue to grow while the weather remains mild. Same for the roses and any annuals, keep watering and dead-heading and they will also keep flowering.
Unless you used an irrigation system on your lawn this summer you will undoubtedly have brown, scorched patches surrounded by green. Rake over the brown grass and remove as much of it as you can, scratching the soil beneath as you go, sprinkle grass seed over the affected areas and water in. The lawn will also green up if left to its own devices however you will most likely have more clover and weeds than grass.
Following my successful garlic experiment last autumn I’ve started thinking about what I can plant this coming season. I’m thinking about starting some green cover to improve the soil over the winter but also about growing some more kale from seed and perhaps some winter spinach. The seed catalogues are on the way.
Something that really helps with the evolution of a garden is to take photographs of your garden at different stages during the year. In the winter when everything is barren and many plants are underground, to high summer when everything is in that exuberant messy full leaf and flower stage. When the weather turns and you can no longer be outside photographs remind you about what you loved and what you didn’t like. They help pinpoint exactly where perennial plants are placed in the border which helps when you want to add to the border, and remind you why you need to move something. Now in these last days of summer, take photographs of your garden, it will only take 10 minutes but it will provide you with significant input for your future planning.
I’ve changed the name of this segment from “timely tips” to “the blog” to make it easier to identify.