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1 Sep 2020

Top gardening jobs for September

As autumn arrives, there's still plenty to do in the garden

It may be the start of autumn but the show carries on in your garden. For most areas, there won't be a frost for a good while yet, so flowers and veg continue.

Keep ufb02owers blooming by deadheading and regular feeding. It's also a great time to harvest veg and plant spring bulbs.

1. Plant spring bulbs

Planting daffodils

If you'd like a colourful garden and patio next spring, now's the time to plant spring bulbs, such as daffodils, hyacinths and crocus. Wait until November before planting tulips or they can get a fungal disease called tulip fire.

Garden centres and supermarkets sell bulbs, but if you're after a particular variety, order your bulbs from a specialist supplier online. It's always best to buy sooner rather than later before they disappear from sale.

Find out how to buy the best bulbs

Plant your bulbs deeply - three times the length of the bulb. Be generous with the number of bulbs for the most-colourful displays. Bulbs do really well in pots and you can plant more than one type by planting them in layers with compost in between.

Discover our Best Buy compost for patio pots

2. Trim hedges

September is a good month to finish trimming hedges, especially evergreen ones, such as yew and box, so that their outline looks neat during the coming winter.

Hand shears are good for topiary or small hedges, but for anything larger, buy a hedge trimmer. Electric ones are usually cheapest, but for flexibility and no risk of cutting through a power cable, try a cordless hedge trimmer or petrol one. The longer the blade length, the quicker you'll cut, but the harder the machine will be to manage.

Find out how to buy the best hedge trimmer.

If you have taller hedges, try a long-reach hedge trimmer or buy a stable ladder designed for the job.

Read our advice about whether you should buy a long-reach hedge trimmer.

Harvesting runner beans

3. Harvest veg

Keep picking veg while it's at its best. If you don't need to eat it straightaway, you can store it for later. Freezing is the easiest method, whether you're freezing the veg as it is or cooking it first, for example into tomato sauce or ratatouille.

Get advice about how to store veg for winter

Fruiting veg, such as runner beans, will stop cropping if you don't pick it. If you were away and you come back to find bumpy bean pods, either pick them and compost them to encourage the plant to produce new ones or leave them on the plant to dry and make seeds for sowing next year.

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that often strikes in early autumn, especially on courgettes. The leaves get covered in a white coating and the plants run out of steam. If this happens, keeping picking fruit for as long as you can and then put the plant on the compost heap.

Deadheading dahlias

4. Keep flowers blooming

Whether they're growing in the border or in patio pots, flowering plants can be encouraged to keep blooming by removing the older flowers as they fade.

Plants in pots and baskets should be fed with tomato feed to keep them blooming. They also need a good soaking every day as containers can dry out surprisingly quickly.

If you're looking for some border plants that bloom in early autumn, try purple asters (Michaelmas daisies); orange heleniums; and pink and white Japanese anemones.

Get advice on gardening problems at the Which? Gardening helpdesk

Winter lettuce

5. Plant winter salad

Early September is the best time to sow salad plants for harvests between November and early May, such as land cress, mustard, chervil, claytonia and lettuce.

Grow them out of the worst of the weather under a protective covering, such as glass, polythene, fleece or insect-proof mesh. Although no extra heat is needed, without any protective covering harvests are small in winter and of lower quality.

Read our advice our how to grow winter salads.

Watch our video of September jobs in the veg garden.