Summer nearly over and autumn is on it’s way! Perhaps we will get an Indian summer. It’s harvest time if you are growing fruit and vegetables. Dig up potatoes and after drying them store in a sack, paper or hessian not plastic or they will sweat and rot. Beans will be coming to their end. Cut the greenery off and compost it( provided it is healthy) but leave the roots in the ground. They will rot down and return nitrogen to the soil. Autumn fruiting raspberries will be coming into their own now and may keep going well into October. If you have too many, spread them out on a baking tray standing on the stem end, and freeze them, putting them in boxes once solid. They will be very welcome later in the winter. Blackberries can also be frozen. Once the fruit is finished, cut out the fruiting stems and tie in the new ones which will provide next years fruit. Tomatoes should be ripening well, keep feeding them and remove some of the lower leaves so that the plants put their energy into the fruit.
It is time for a final prune of evergreen hedges. Climbing roses can be pruned if they have finished flowering. Cut side shoots back to two buds, take out dead, diseased or spindly growth . On older plants, take out one of the older branches at the base to encourage it to make new shoots. Clear any leaves under roses as they drop to prevent disease next year. Tree leaves are also better cleared as they drop. Add them to the compost heap unless they are thick and leathery, because those won’t rot down easily.
Later in the month you could give lawns an autumn feed to give it a boost. Don’t feed shrubs or they will produce soft growth which can be damaged by frosts.
If baskets and containers are coming to an end and you have a greenhouse, try saving some of the half hardy plants by potting them up and take cuttings from geraniums and fuchsias. Non-flowering side shoots are best and geranium cuttings need to go into a sandy potting mix and left uncovered while fuchsias need a more open compost, add perlite, and to be covered. When you see new growth they have produced roots. Leave them in the pots until spring before potting up singly. They will however need to be kept frost free over the winter. In the borders it is time to tidy up perennials and split if necessary. If you are shopping for bulbs try to find varieties which will give colour over a long period. Why not try some alliums. They come in various colours and heights and will flower after the daffodils and tulips. The seed heads continue to give interest after the flowers. Be careful with some of the smaller flowered types as they can be invasive.