September is a fantastic time to be alive for us gardeners! The chill is almost gone from the mornings, and the afternoons are getting longer. Blossoms are bursting and you can smell spring in the air wherever you go. If you have been hibernating through winter now is the time to get out and into it. Read on for some fabulous September gardening advice for your area.
Improve Your Soil
Prepare your Yummy Yard for spring planting by improving your soil. Lightly dig over the soil popping in plenty of organic matter including top-notch compost and well rotted manure. Don’t forget to mulch the beds with a straw mulch. This bed will be awesome come planting time… and you will have the greatest Yummy Yard in the street!
Try some colour
Why not try some lovely colour in your patch as well like nasturtium, snapdragons, phlox, petunias, marigolds (French) and celosia. They are great at attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to your patch, and they look fantastic as well. Now is the time to plant some sunflower seeds. Find a sunny spot where you would like to see some happy sunflowers later in the year and plant the seeds to double the depth of the seed. Cover lightly with dirt and wait… they’ll be popping their heads up in no time!
Citrus Gall Wasp
Check your citrus trees for gall wasp and remove affected sections by pruning well below the gall. Don’t compost this or put it in the green waste bin. It’s a good idea to cut through the gall to expose the larvae to air – which they hate – before putting it in a bag and popping in the rubbish bin. Or you could soak the galls in water for a week or two – or burn them (if your local Council permits).
Other things you can do are to hang sticky yellow traps on the tree in mid-August as they attract and trap the emerging adults, but make sure you take the traps down by November as they also kill beneficial insects.
Do not use a fertiliser that is high in nitrogen, as this promotes soft growth which provides ideal conditions for the wasp. Use a balanced fertiliser or compost.
A biological form of control – introducing wasps that prey on citrus gall wasp – is used in orchards and home gardens. Megastigmus brevivalvus and Megastigmus trisulcus are natural enemies of citrus gall wasp. They lay their eggs inside the eggs of the citrus gall wasp and when their eggs hatch they destroy the host.
Megastigus brevivalvus is sold to home gardeners in some states, but it is only available for a two-week window around October/November. If you are able to get some of the parasitic wasps, they must be released soon after the citrus gall wasps have emerged.
This is your absolute last chance to do something about gall wasp before they hatch out and take over the world, so don’t put action off!
Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds. Choose a sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.
Look after your tools
On really cold days, why not head out to the shed and sharpen, clean, oil and maintain your garden tools. Sounds tedious, but it’s really rewarding, and will save you cash and plant illness in the long run.
Now is a great time to re-pot your Indoor Plants. Give them a bit of a feed with a seaweed tonic afterwards to keep them happy.
Below you will find more information that is specific to different regions and climates in Australia.
Frost free or occasional light frosts (North from about Coffs Harbour and all the way across to the west to Geraldton)
- Spring into it! There is so much ready to go, so why not plant some rocket, silverbeet, spring onions, Chinese cabbage, mizuna, lettuce, tatsoi, zucchini, pumpkin, leeks, capsicum, cucumber, eggplant, tomatoes and watermelon.
- In the herb patch, pop in some parsley, sweet basil, chamomile, dill, coriander, marjoram, oregano, catnip and thyme. Also try mint, but keep it in a pot, as it has a tendency to take over.
- Feeling fruity? It’s time to plant passionfruit, paw paw, avocados, banana, citrus and macadamias. If your tastes are a little more exotic, try putting in a guava… they’re tough plants and the fruit is sensational!
- Consider a green manure crop to add some life and love to an overworked patch. At this time of year, try millet, lablab, amaranth or mung bean. This will improve your soil incredibly and you’ll find it well worth the effort! Green manure crops like faba beans, barley, lupin, wheat or field peas are also good to go now.
Cool to Cold Areas
Low temperatures for extended periods of time (all of Tasmania, most of Victoria, the southern highlands of NSW, the ACT and a tiny southern bit of SA)
- There’s a bit happening in the veggie patch so you could try leeks, onions, parsley, parsnips, cauliflower, peas, radish, silverbeet, lettuce, swedes and turnips. Don’t you just love the start of spring?
- Don’t get over excited… it’s too early for tomatoes just yet!
- In the herb patch pop in some chamomile, dill, coriander, echinacea, catnip and thyme. Also try lemon balm but keep it in a pot, as it has a tendency to take over! Plant these after the frost risk has passed.
- Green manure crops like faba beans, barley, lupin, wheat or field peas are good to go now… improve that dormant veggie patch!
Occasional winter frosts (pretty much the rest of Australia, most of the inland, some areas of Victoria, most of SA and the southern area of WA)
- Leap into springtime gardening, especially in your veggie patch! Try celery, silverbeet, lettuces, leeks, spring onions, climbing beans, cucumber, sweet corn, tomato, carrot, Jeruslaum artichokes and radishes. Wait until the frosts have finished.
- Get into herbs in the ‘burbs with parsley, chives, catnip, sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme and marjoram.
- Feeling fruity? It’s time to plant blueberries, passionfruit, paw paw, avocados, banana, citrus trees, olives (non-weedy varieties). If your tastes are a little more exotic, try putting in a guava… they’re tough plants and the fruit is sensational!
- Green manure crops like chick pea and barley are good to go now… improve that dormant veggie patch!
Of course, this is just a rough guide, and many of you will find your situation varies from the above due to microclimates created in your garden, location in relation to your nearest major city, extremes of weather and garden type.
Happy springtime gardening, see you next month!
Bagnall, Lyn, Easy organic gardening and moon planting, published by Scribe Publications, VIC.
Peach Blossom – Tracey Martin
Garde in Girl – Elaine Shallue