Aug 282016

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!

Mulch Now!
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.

Indoor Plants
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.

Warm Areas

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!

Temperate Zones

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!

Information source:
Bagnall, Lyn, Easy organic gardening and moon planting, published by Scribe Publications, VIC.


Peach Blossom – Tracey Martin
Garde in Girl – Elaine Shallue


  7 Responses to “September In Your Patch”

  1. Hi, We have grown watermelons for the1st time this year and have had 3 so far with 5 more growing and alsmost ready to pick but my question is what do we do now as the vines are flowering and there is about 4 more smaller melons in the size range of about 5 inches long to 13 inches and it is now the end of summer. Will they ripen or is it a waste of time leaving them in. They are in a sheltered part of the garden between two galv, sheds and not in the way if we leave them but hane been told they will grow and rippen/ no they will not ripen. Now confused. We are just north of Port Broughton and have had the heat and the floods over the last couple of months is this why they are still flowering. They are warpaint variety.

    • Port Broughton. What a wonderful part of the world you live in!, despite floods and heatwaves. Watermelons like most beach bunnies love the heat. They love the heat and plenty of water (as long as they are not sitting in water), and that is why yours must be growing so well. So, keep doing what you have been doing and let them grow. They should continue to ripen until either the conditions become too cold and wet or the days too short, but there is plenty of ripening weather left especially in your lovely part of the country. I’m in inland far north Victoria and watermelons ripened until May last year until the near frosty mornings finished them off. Give them until late April, at least, until you pull them up. Give them the chance to prove the naysayers wrong, as you pass them a delicious slice of ripe watermelon. Tap the watermelons with your hand, they should be firm, heavy and make a hollow sound when ripe. If they are soft and squishy anywhere they are rotten, so cut the effected melon off the plant. If you have plenty of success, save some seeds for next year or try a different type of melon.
      Happy melon eating!

  2. Regarding Nasturtiums: Hi Lesley, When you say ‘weedy’ do you mean they trail everywhere? or do you mean they set seed everywhere? Jewel mix will still trail, however if you want a non trailing variety ‘Alaska’ is the one for you
    hope this helps
    happy gardening

  3. Hi , Regarding the Watermelons: Trish they will defiantly grow in Adelaide. When young they need to be protected from late frosts. They need plenty of compost,space,sun, water and protection from people and pets-they don’t like getting stepped on. Sarah it sounds like you have a pollination problem. Try removing the male flowers, removing the petals and rubbing them on the female bits of the female flowers. The male flowers have a bump on the base. This will be a huge improvement.
    happy gardening

  4. What are the non-weedy Nasturtiums? I planted some Yates seeds “Nasturtium – Jewel Mixed” (Tropaeolum majus) that was described on the pack as having ‘slightly trailing foliage’. However they have taken over the vege patch, and I’m guessing they are the weedy ones.

  5. I planted watermellon in my garden in Melbourne and got two watermellons (a bit undersized – they were the size of a canteloupe). They didn’t taste quite as sweet as we expected and they were more yellow than watermellon-pink but the kids had fun with them anyway. Since it is warmer in Adelaide than Melbourne I expect you will have more luck.

  6. what about watermelon in Adelaide?? will it grow? keen to try it to entertain my 2year old..

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