Prep your garden now for summer blooms
September is here - the sun is getting warmer, and our gardens are showing new signs of life. Spring is the perfect time to look at your garden with fresh eyes, make some changes and plan for the summer months ahead.
What to sow
During summer months, having fresh salad supplies ready to pick from your garden is a win! September is the time to sow lettuce, spring onion and tomato seeds, ready for your summer salads.
Lettuce can be grown in a sunny garden bed. Most varieties are quick and easy to grow and produce a harvest within a month or two.
The loose-leafed varieties are the most practical because you can harvest the individual leaves for up to three months before replanting. Others, like the butterhead or iceberg, are picked when the heads form, so it’s best to sow seed at 3–4 weekly intervals to have a constant supply.
Use a fertile, well-draining soil medium and space about 30cm apart to allow for good air circulation. Keep the soil evenly moist at all times - drought stress can cause a bitter taste.
Spring Onion can be grown in sun or partial shade and prefer a rich soil with compost dug in. Space seeds 10cm apart.
What to plant
A perfect plant to fill your shaded gardens with bright, long-lasting colour in summer is Impatients. The new Beacon Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) offers high resistance to downy mildew and won’t collapse due to this destructive disease.
For lasting colour plant your Impatients in fertile, well-drained soil in shade or partial sun. Beacon Impatiens are also great for baskets, window boxes, and containers, but will need a steady supply of water.
What to spray
You know that spring has arrived when you smell the Jasmine and see the orange blaze as the indigenous Clivia’s start to emerge from their buds. Watch out for the lily borer in your Clivia’s.
The caterpillar and their larvae damage the stems and leaves and if left untreated will cause a lot of damage. If you see any traces of larvae or damage to the plant, apply contact insecticide every two weeks to control. Visit your nearest GCA Garden Centre to find a suitable treatment.
What to feed
Rejuvenate your lawn in September by applying a lawn dressing - a mixture of well-balanced organic matter and weed-free soil. A thin layer should be spread on established lawns to level an uneven surface or help a lawn recover after an icy winter. It would help if you also replenished nutrients by adding a nitrogen-rich fertiliser.
What to prune
Maintenance is the heart of gardening, and September is an excellent time to get in there with some pinching, deadheading, and pruning. Your flower garden will be healthier and lusher and will stay in bloom throughout the season. Most flowers benefit from having their spent flowers removed. This is called deadheading.
Flowers that repeat-bloom will often do so only if the old, dying flowers are removed. If the dead flowers remain on the plant, they will go to seed, and the plant will stop producing flowers.