Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer and look for an Indian one? It has been a very odd journey and the weather in August has been ever changing, making life really tough for event organisers, holidaymakers and gardeners. It has though been very entertaining watching animated presenters wave their arms over maps, in the hope that by some mystical animation they might get the forecast somewhere close to accurate.
The warm and wet has made things grow and most vegetable crops are looking reasonable, one or two things unnoticed by pigeons and caterpillars. Our beans, especially the French ones have been fantastic. The mildness must encourage thoughts for an extended season. With that confidence I am going to do some late seed sowing. Spring Cabbage,Kale, Spinach and Chard together with lettuce will all catch up and there must be some worth popping in a pinch of root salads too. If you want to stick with convention, then winter onion sets and shallots will be available this month.
Traditionally September marks a turning point in the flower borders and bulbs are around in plentiful supply, with a good selection on offer to the early bird. As usual there are some magnificent new tulips to check out and of course all of the old favourites like crocus, snowdrops and daffodils. As summer bedding folds, the autumn plants are there too, with winter pansies and violas filling garden centre benches. Most centres will be offering bulging pots of autumn chrysanths, which can bring great colour for the coming months, but autumn is their time so don’t hold your breathe for winter colour, unless your plants are in good shelter.
As always there is plenty of tidying up to do, with dead heading and feeding still worth the trouble if you want to extend summer containers for a few more weeks. September is a great month for lawn seed sowing, so if you are planning to extend the lawn or repair the existing one, seed will germinate quickly allowing young roots to take good hold ahead of winter.
And finally, keep harvesting and be prepared to strip softer vegetables if there is a suggestion of colder weather. Green tomatoes, will ripen on a window sill, small squashes, marrows and cucumbers will be perfectly edible and softer herbs can be potted onto a kitchen window sill. Early frosts don’t take prisoners.