So, that was summer then? What a strange month August proved to be, a real mish mash of unpredictable weather, that knocked over and knocked out. It tucked into everything above three feet, pushing over canes and cages and tumbling immature fruit. Not that the fruit issue worried me too much as pests have been active and every apple seems to have been visited by Codling moth grubs (the holes in the fruit announcing the departure of the overfed). Most things can be repaired though and the season of summer vegetables and flowers extended, with a prune, a bit of feed and the repair of support arrangements. Clip off the broken and damaged, even take out the tops of peas and beans and they will bounce back. Put your heel around winter veg to see it into the autumn. Sprouts and sprouting in particular will not deliver if they don’t have a firm hold. Have some net on hand too as the pigeons are already watching the domestic crop.
Many gardeners are ready to move on and as we move into September, winter pansies and violas are back, as are many over wintering bedding items.Planting them now will set them up for a good performance through the darker months. There are some great autumn chrysanthemums and cyclamen around too and these will bring colour up to Christmas. Shelves are full of bulbs and it is worth buying this month whilst there is plenty of choice. Check out the labels when you buy, it is possible to create successions as varieties of many bulbs flower at different times. You can for example buy Daffodils and Tulips which are early, mid season and late flowering. So you can have colour from February to late April. If you like your bulbs it is worth the time.
On the vegetable front, we are back in to the bulb season too, with Japanese onions, as well as shallots and garlic all appearing. You may still find a few greens about and it is worth trying your luck with Spinach, Chard and spring cabbage all of which can bring something else to the winter plate.
And finally if you have space and nothing to do with it, then have a go with green manures. This is a range of vigorous plants, raised from seed which will quickly cover and smother the ground. The plants can be turned into the ground in the spring and as the name suggests improve it’s fertility.