September - Spring Gardening Tasks
Neither winter nor summer, September can be termed the ‘in between’ month. Usually, there is a hint of spring - a taste of better things to come, and it’s a very busy month preparing for the summer garden!
Hopefully, your houseplants have successfully survived winter. It is a difficult time for them as many originate from tropical countries. As tempting as it is, delay purchasing new houseplants for another month until indoor temperatures warm up consistently throughout the day. Continue to water plants sparingly and mist the foliage (leaves) regularly with lukewarm water and ensure they are positioned in a 'high light' part of the house. With large “glossy” green-leaved houseplants such as Fiddle Leaf Fig, clean the leaves regularly with a soft sponge. If you have any houseplants that are struggling, a few days in a steamy bathroom is an excellent way to revive them.
In the veggie patch
It’s the very end for harvesting traditional winter vegetables; broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, rhubarb, silverbeet, spinach and turnips. Keep planting out year-round vegetables like celery, lettuce, silverbeet, beetroot and spinach.
Many rush to plant out traditional summer vegetable seedlings in September e.g., tomatoes and cucumbers, but it is still a little early. You are better to wait until mid-October when soils have warmed up. However, you can now sow summer vegetable seeds in seed trays or punnets and place them in a warm sheltered position indoors or in glass houses.
Where areas of your vegetable garden are not too wet, start preparing your summer garden by digging in fresh compost. When ‘cleaning up’ the winter vegetable garden, all the green material can go straight into the compost bin (so long as it is disease-free).
A wonderful month to enjoy the spring flowers of traditional bulbs. When they finish flowering, sadly sometimes too briefly, allow the foliage to ‘brown’ and die down before removing. This is how the bulbs obtain enough nutrients for the next season of flowering. It can be worth marking in the areas of your major bulb plantings with some small stakes to avoid disturbing later in the season when planting possible trees and shrubs.
Most winter annuals are now coming to the end of flowering. Begin preparing for planting summer flowering annuals by sowing varieties in seed trays ready to plant out later. In the meantime, for continuous flowers in your garden, plant annuals that flower all year round; alyssum, calendulas, cornflowers, lobelias, pansies and violas.
Many rose varieties will now be in full growth and the first flowers will appear towards the end of the month. Apply the first side dressing of Daltons Premium Rose and Flower Fertiliser. Make sure your fertiliser is high in potash which promotes strong flowers. Compost can be spread around the base of the roses. This works as both a soil conditioner and mulch.
Grass will begin growing again in some warmer areas. Towards the end of the month, the first dressing of Daltons Premium Lawn Fertiliser can be applied. Check the lawn for wet spots or areas that may require additional drainage to be installed over the summer months.
Ornamental trees and shrubs
Camellias and azaleas will be near the end of their flowering, while rhododendrons are in full bloom. Complete any additional planting of trees and shrubs in September, before soils dry out in early summer.