Jobs for early autumn

The Potager

  • Onions and shallots should now have been lifted so think about sowing a green manure. Phacélie and Ray grass Anglais can be sown anywhere in the vegetable garden. Phacélie might not survive the winter but is is a very attractive if you allow it to flower, bees just love it. The idea is to dig it in, but in reality we just let it flower and pull it up and use it as a mulch.
  • Now is the time to sow winter spinach,and mache. Ideally sow when the soil is moist.
  • Any squash or pumpkins should now removed from the plants. Put them in a sunny place so the skins can harden
  • Farm yard manure is now readily available and usually free (it is normal to give something for delivery). Ideally it should be well rotted and odour free. Cover until needed.

The Fruit Garden

  • If you have been growing strawberries, you will probably find enough runners to make new row. Throw out any old plants and plant in new ground
  • If your plum tree needs pruning, prune now. Prune the minimum, but cut back anything dead or damaged

The Flower Garden

  • Now is a good time to save seed from your annuals. Cut off the ripe seed heads into a paper bag and hang somewhere to dry. Don’t forget to write what you collected as this is easily forgotton and seeds are not always that obvious. I include seeds from the vegetable garden, especially coriander and parsley.
  • Allow your perennials to set seed. The birds will take advantage, but you should also have some new plants for next year
  • Take geranium cuttings to overwinter. Cut just below a leaf node, aim to have cutting about 10cm and pencil thick. Remove most of the leaves . Fill a pot with a mixture of sand and compost and insert the cuttings around the edge of the pot. Water well and leave in a warm place , out of the direct sun.
  • Take some rose cuttings. Grafted roses will not come true, but climbers and species roses are very successful. Cut just below a leaf joint, aiming to have a cutting of least pencil thickness and about 20-25cm long. If you have heavy clay soil you might like to make a slit trench and put some sand in the base. In normal soil, the cuttings can just be inserted up to 15cm deep. Firm and water. Be prepared to leave for at least a year.
  • As soon as the ground is moist enough start to plant bulbs
  • As soon as the day time temperatures become cooler and the soil moist, you can dig up and divide your perennials. It will give them time to establish. If it remains hot and dry, wait until October


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