Spring Gardening Tasks for September
Many houseplants can look tired towards the end of winter - a combination of lack of nutrients and withstanding growing conditions that have been very cold or very warm (near fires or heating systems). It’s still a little early for repotting, wait until the end of the month as temperatures rise. Continue watering your houseplants as required rather than routinely as overwatering kills more houseplants than any other factor. Always use lukewarm water so there is less shock to the plant.
In the veggie patch
Due to the impacts of Covid-19 and the subsequent nationwide lockdowns, we have been reminded of how empowering self-sufficiency can be. While it is still too early to plant traditional summer vegetables e.g. tomatoes and cucumbers, you can continue planting year-round vegetables, celery, lettuce, silverbeet, beetroot, and spinach.
Sow seeds of summer vegetables in pots or seed trays with fresh Daltons Premium Seed Mix, for planting into the garden in late October. Where possible, i.e. not too wet, start preparing areas of your vegetable garden for summer crops, adding fresh compost to existing soil.
Remove finished winter annuals (into the compost bin!) and prepare for planting summer flowering annuals. You can plant annuals that flower all year round, including alyssum, calendula, cornflowers, hollyhock, lobelias, nemesia, pansies, snapdragons, sweetpeas, violas.
The last of the spring bulbs will now be flowering. Allow all the foliage on your bulbs to ‘go brown’ later in the season as this ensures they have sufficient stored nutrients for flowering next year. Note the most successful bulbs your garden as you may wish to plant more of these.
All pip and stone fruit trees should be in full flower by now. Remember that apples are usually the last to come into flower. Hopefully warmer and calmer conditions will be favourable for pollination this season.
Strawberry plants are now in active growth. Continue removing flowers to hasten the development of the plants and mulch around them with pea straw or crushed bark. This helps keep the plants ‘clean’ and provides a bed for the berries when they begin to form next month.
In warmer areas of the country, the grass is beginning to grow. Lawn fertiliser can be applied towards the end of the month and seeds can be sown on bare patches. Add new ‘clean’ topsoil before broadcasting the seed. Start mowing the lawn regularly to encourage vigorous, healthy lawn growth.
Most rose bushes are producing new growth and, in some instances, breaking into flower. Apply a side dressing of Daltons Premium Rose and Flower Fertiliser around plants towards the end of the month. Fresh compost can be spread around rose beds now, and throughout the growing season.
It’s time to consider what to grow in containers over summer months - flowers, herbs, or summer salad vegetables. Prepare by emptying the containers, washing thoroughly, and ensuring drainage holes are adequate. Start planting towards the end of September/early October.
Herb gardens may be looking rather sad in September, as most herbs prefer a hot, dry climate. Prepare for re-planting in October by removing old plants now and raising the area to be planted and adding fresh compost.