Les’s Patch: Harvest time tips and seasonal ideas

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Throughout this month gardeners will have been gathering in the harvest (their own fresh vegetables) and watching rich autumn colours develop a hint of the glorious colours to come.

There is a distinct chill in the morning air and in northern parts there may have been a first frost.

With winter approaching it is time to start thinking about shaping the garden for next year by planting new trees, shrubs, climbers and perennials.

Things to do:

*Start clearing autumn debris to prevent pests and diseases over wintering. Don’t forget to net ponds to keep out fallen leaves.

*Sow or turf new lawns or scarify and aerate established ones.

*Move evergreen shrubs this month whilst the soil is still warm. Stop feeding trees and shrubs growing in containers.

*Take hardwood cuttings from roses which you wish to propagate for flowering next autumn.

*Begin dividing overgrown perennials and make sure to support tall, late flowering ones.

*Plant spring flowering bulbs and plant out spring flowering biennials. Plant up containers with spring bedding.

*Lift tender plants and bring them undercover or take cuttings.

*Harvest marrows and the last of the courgettes and lift the main crop potatoes.

*September is the month to plant out spring cabbages and sow winter lettuce.

*Continue to harvest apples and pears and pick autumn fruiting raspberries.

*Dig over heavy clay soil before the autumn rains make it less workable.

*Sow hardy annuals to flower next year.

*After completing autumn harvesting, storing tasks and all the other jobs that need doing why not think about putting up a greenhouse if you haven’t already got one.

*If you have got one now is the time to reduce watering and ventilation levels in the greenhouse. Take time to clean the greenhouse in preparation for the winter and wash off the cool glass (the white coating used to shade plants in the greenhouse).

*After the slight lull in activity in the garden over the summer there suddenly seems to be a lot to get on with.

*If you are forever trying to find space for overwinter plants, pots and trays of cuttings and seedlings maybe it is time to invest in a greenhouse.

*It is far better to choose one now and have it constructed and ready, rather than wait until spring and miss out on all the fun of raising your own plants.

*Once you have a greenhouse you will wonder how you ever managed without one.

*It is surprising how much can be grown in an unheated greenhouse. Why not give alpines a try.