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Gardener's Diary


In association with the Royal Horticultural Society

The Royal Horticultural Society

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK's leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening.

Their goal is to help people share a passion for plants, to encourage excellence in horticulture and inspire all those with an interest in gardening.

In this section on Laterlife they share their expertise to provide your Jobs for the Month - making sure that your garden is ready for the season ahead.

Find out more about how to become a member of the RHS

Jobs to do in September

Late summer progresses into autumn

Top 10 jobs this month

September is generally a cooler, gustier month than August and the days are noticeably shorter. While there's not as much to do in the ornamental garden at this time of the year, if you have a fruit or vegetable patch, you'll be busy reaping the rewards of harvest. It's also time to get out and start planting spring-flowering bulbs for next year and you can collect seeds for next summer's colour too. Make the most of the remaining warmth while you can!


  • Divide herbaceous perennials

  • Pick autumn raspberries

  • Collect and sow seed from perennials and hardy annuals

  • Dig up remaining potatoes before slug damage spoils them

  • Net ponds before leaf fall gets underway

  • Keep up with watering of new plants, using rain or grey water if possible

  • Start to reduce the frequency of houseplant watering

  • Clean out cold frames and greenhouses so that they are ready for use in the autumn

  • Cover leafy vegetable crops with bird-proof netting

  • Plant spring flowering bulbs

Harvest time

Harvesting top fruit such as apples and pears begins in earnest in September. Quince and medlars are also picked now. It's also a good time to order new fruit trees, canes and bushes.

Sowing and planting


  • Continue planting new strawberry beds.


  • Continue to sow vegetables for overwintering, to mature next spring, including: turnip, spinach, winter lettuce, Oriental vegetables.

  • Plant overwintering onion sets.

  • Spring cabbages that were sown last month are probably ready for planting out. Cover them with horticultural fleece or netting to stop the pigeons shredding them.

  • Sow green manures such as crimson clover and Italian ryegrass to act as a soil improver and to cover bare areas. When dug in, they conserve nutrients and improve soil texture.

Pruning and training


  • Finish tying in shoots on wall-trained fan trees.

  • Cut back old canes of blackberries and hybrid berries after fruiting and tie in the new canes.

  • Prune blackcurrants.

  • Spur prune kiwifruits after harvest.


  • Watch tomatoes for blossom end rot, and other ripening problems.

  • Be sure to clear debris created when lifting potatoes, and take care not to damage the tubers.

  • Control against bacterial canker at ene end of the month.

  • Protect grapes from wasps.

General care


  • Harvest top fruit such as apples and pears. Look for fruit falling under the tree (windfalls) to indicate which apples are ready, but also assess taste and texture to determine whether they are ready for harvesting.

  • Quince and medlars are also picked now.

  • Finish tying in shoots on wall-trained fan trees.

  • Order cold stored strawberry runners for delivery in winter.

  • Order new fruit trees, canes and bushes.

  • Continue to provide support for heavily-laden fruit tree and bush branches.


  • When asparagus foliage turns brown, it is time to cut it down. Take care of the spines, and give the plants a good mulch afterwards.

  • Irregular watering can lead to problems with blossom end rot in tomatoes, splitting of root vegetables and flower abortion in runner beans. Help prevent this by watering well during dry spells.

  • Keep up too with watering winter squash and pumpkins -  this will prevent their growth from being checked. Use stored rainwater wherever possible.

  • Celery can be earthed-up for the final time this month, leaving just a tuft of foliage sticking out of the trench or collar in order to blanch the stems.



The Royal Horticultural Society

Want more Gardening tips?
Why not view the Royal Horticultural Society's website.

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