05 Sep, 2019

Seasonal Gardening Tips for September


This year, we had a wetter than normal June (which was very welcome!) but warmer than average temperatures during July - and a very short winter. In my garden, spring started mid- July this year, a couple of weeks earlier than is typical for our climate. Usually spring begins sometime in August, but not always! These climate conditions resulted in many fruit trees in my garden flowering earlier than normal. With the soil moisture available, they got off to a good start and avoided aphid infestations on new growth.

I carefully observe clues each year of what happens when in my garden. I’ve noticed many annual patterns, so I know what to look for. I watch for specific signs that occur simultaneously and indicate a shift in activity. When birds start nesting, certain plants start flowering and insect activity. Nature’s clock is never wrong!

Being observant is one of the keys to learning what happens when in your garden and how to time your activities accordingly, so you maximise results. If you don’t already, I encourage you to keep a Garden Journal. There are so many benefits to keeping a simple record of what happens in your garden - visual or written. Learn why a garden journal is your most valuable tool and how to use one that suits you.

So, what can we expect during September? According to the latest BOM report, we’re in for a warm, dry spring in coming weeks. That means we need to pay attention to watering to ensure our plants get the nutrition they need for growth.

Our grace period with minimal pests won’t last too long! Watch for aphids, bronze orange bug, citrus leaf miners, QLD fruit fly, scale, slugs and snails. Exclusion netting and traps are useful strategies, but nothing beats observation!

If your fruit trees haven’t started to flower, you better be quick to prune or you’ll have to wait until next year! With so many fruit trees already flowering and fruiting, it’s essential to attract pollinators to your garden by planting flowers and companion planting or be prepared to hand pollinate! After fruit set, fruit trees have a high need for moisture and nutrients. So remember to fertilise and mulch your garden well to hold moisture in.

A shallow bee bath provides water for pollinators and beneficial insects. An ‘insectory’ garden with a variety of nectar-rich flowering herbs, vegetables and perennials encourages predator insects to keep seasonal pests under control. Remember the birds in your garden, especially while it’s dry. They need clean water to drink and bathe, so add a bird bath and you will be rewarded with free pest management services! Also use safe bird exclusion netting.

Time your planting, fertilising and pruning activities with the moon phases for optimum seed germination, early growth, healthy plants and better harvests. Change your new moon date on the 1st September on the Moon Calendar and follow the suggested planting dates for this month. Be ready to sow on the first day of the new moon cycle in a few days.

What to Plant Now

If you missed planting cool season vegetables with a long maturity period, it’s too late! My climbing peas are still going strong but should finish in the next few weeks. If you’re desperate to eat a few peas, sow bush snow pea seedlings, not seeds, and you may still have a chance of a harvest before the humidity hits and mildew becomes a problem. Try a pot instead so you can control your microclimate. You’ll have to put in some effort but you can always eat the delicious tendrils in salads! Otherwise, next year remember to plant early autumn instead! Refer to my Subtropical Planting Guide for what to plant each season and seasonal gardening tasks, so you don’t miss planting your favourites.

As the weather is quite mild during the day with cool nights, you can try an early planting of warm weather vegetables. Zucchinis often do really well at this time of the year, as the days are long enough and the humidity is relatively low. Mine are thriving right now, although I have to keep the moisture and liquid feeds up. The risk of mildew is minimal so plant a few seedlings now for a delicious tummy-filling crop.

Spring is a good time to plant perennial food plants including asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, water chestnuts, ginger, turmeric, galangal, yacon and chokos. You can plant certified seed potatoes into well-mulched beds or deep pots.

Sow herb seeds or plant seedlings including basil, coriander, cress, borage, catnip, chamomile, chives, dill, lemon balm, sweet marjoram, Mexican tarragon, peppermint and sage. Save seeds from dill, rocket or other herbs from your garden.

Plant flower seedlings and sow seeds of sweet Alice, cosmos, marigolds, phlox, salvia, nasturtiums, sunflowers, snapdragons, Queen Anne’s lace, verbena and statice.

Sow vegetable seed or plant seedlings of suitable varieties of broccoli, corn, celeriac, Chinese cabbage, capsicum, carrots, parsnip, cabbage, silverbeet, lettuce, radish, rosella, beetroot, rocket, tomatoes, eggplant and spring onions.

Green Harvest has a wonderful organic plant nursery (just outside Maleny) and an inspiring display garden. They have a free Organic Gardening Resource Guide you can order online. They also open on the third Saturday of the month from 8am - 12.30pm when the Witta Farmer’s Market is on (Saturday, September 21). You can pick up veggies at the market that day and visit them at the same time for seeds and plants.

Dave Jarrett at The Garden Shed Nursery at Palmwoods is an experienced and knowledgeable soil agronomist and sells organic fruit trees and gardening supplies including chemical-free mulch and fertilisers. Worth a visit and chat, and he can organise soil testing if needed.

If you’re lacking in confidence, feeling frustrated or just need a helping hand with one-on-one personalised expert advice and support for your garden, consider my onsite garden consultation service. Read what a few of my clients say.

Enjoy the harvest! Cheers, Anne The Micro Gardener

Garden Tasks this Month

  • Install pest controls early including netting and traps to minimise crop damage.
  • Fertilise citrus, perennials and fruit trees. Mulch well.
  • Protect crops from drying winds and control weeds as many host pests.
  • Apply compost and liquid feed plants.

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