SEPTEMBER GARDENING TIPS

Harvest potatoes before slug damage becomes a problem. Leave them out for a while to dry, then store in paper sacks or boxes. Only store sound tubers – all damaged tubers should be used straight away or destroyed.

Plant winter hanging baskets and window boxes using dwarf spring flowering bulbs, winter pansies, heathers, bellis daisies and dwarf wallflowers for colour through the winter into the early spring.

To avoid winter moth problems on next year’s crop of apples, fix grease bands around the trunks of the trees, keeping the bands in place until next April.

Plant over-wintering onion sets and garlic bulbs. Many good varieties are now available (for example, Radar, Electric and Garlic Marco).

Add some late colour to your garden by planting hydrangeas, hibiscus, hardy fuchsia and ceratostigma. If you plant them now, they’ll establish themselves quickly before the winter.

Re-seed or turf any bare patches of lawn. Seed is cheaper but takes longer, while turf is more expensive but delivers instant results. Both need watering well in dry weather.

Remove greenhouse shading as light levels are decreasing, so you don’t deprive plants of light once the risk of overheating is over.

Asparagus foliage should be cut down to within 2.5cms (1″) of the ground once it has turned yellow – then mulch around the plants with well-rotted manure or garden compost.

Sow sweet peas in pots or tubs, and overwinter in a cold frame or greenhouse, for early summer blooms next year.

Blackberries and loganberries can now be planted – thorned and thornless varieties are both available. Harvest the fruit on established canes as they ripen.

Spray perennial weeds with a weed-killer containing glyphosate or pelargonic acid, taking care not to spray any other plants.

Scarify established lawns to remove layers of thatch (dead grass and debris) with either a spring tined rake, or a power scarifier which can be hired from a local machinery company.

Take advantage of dry weather, and paint fences, sheds and other wooden structures with a wood preservative.

Harvest sweetcorn as it becomes ripe. Push your fingernail into a kernel when the tassels at the end of the cob start to shrivel and turn brown – if the liquid looks milky, the cobs are ready to harvest.

Keep early-flowering shrubs like rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias well-watered during dry spells to ensure good flower bud initiation. If the foliage looks pale green or yellow, apply a feed of Sequestrene Plant Tonic.

Plant bulbs of ornamental onions (alliums) to a depth of approximately four times the diameter of the bulb. Dwarf, medium and tall-growing varieties are now available. If you’re planting them in containers, use a good multipurpose compost.

Protect crops of cauliflower, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts from pigeon damage by covering them with bird netting.

Plant new strawberry plants in open ground or pots. If you plant them now, they’ll establish well for cropping next year – a wide choice of early, mid-season and late fruiting varieties is available.

Apply Evergreen Autumn Lawn Care. This greens the grass, controls existing moss, and strengthens the grass roots to help the lawn withstand winter.

Any remaining outdoor tomatoes should be picked by the end of the month and ripened indoors. Put them into a paper bag on a sunny windowsill to ripen – you can also use any green fruits in chutneys.

Plant winter and spring-flowering heathers. Erica carnea and erica darleyensis varieties are fine in alkaline soils – plant them in groups of three or five for a good show.

Plant your spring cabbages now. These are best planted 15cm (6″) apart, leaving 30cm (1ꞌ) between rows, so that every other plant can be harvested for spring greens, leaving the rest to heart up.

Harvest autumn fruiting raspberries as they ripen, leave the canes unpruned until late winter or early spring.

Plant spring-flowering bulbs like anemone, snowdrop, winter aconite, crocus and daffodil – a vast range is available now for planting in borders, pots and containers.