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Sue Adams offers this advice on gardening in September and October to help keep our gardens looking good now and in the future.


spring gardening ideas

At this time of year I start planning for the year to come and (I hope) reaping the benefits of the current year.

  • Harvest and store the last of the late summer crops – for example chillis, tomatoes, figs, apples, pears and quince, pumpkins and squashes, borlotti and haricot beans, late potatoes, second sowings of beans, beetroot and late summer salads. It is a time for drying beans, making chutneys, freezing or bottling tomato coulis and pears, making quince jelly, membrillo and chilli jam. Pumpkins, and autumn squashes can be “cured” and can then be stored well into winter. Soups can be made and frozen ready for the colder weather.
  • Ground which has been freed up in the vegetable garden can be dug, if digging is your thing, ready for the colder weather to break up the soil, or mulched with something nutritious so that earthworms can take all of that goodness down into the soil over winter ready to feed next year’s crops.
  • Winter salads can be sown along with hardy annuals for next year’s ornamental garden.
  • Collect the remaining seeds from this summer’s flowers and either emulate nature and sow them immediately where they are to flower next year or store them in paper envelopes in a cool dry place (a sealed plastic container in the fridge works well) until ready to sow.
  • Plant spring bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, muscari, fritillarias and alliums. Leave tulips until November as they prefer to be planted later.
  • While the soil is still warm enough divide and replant hardy perennials.
  • If you intend to create new borders next year then now is the time to mark them out and give them their first dig over. Over the winter frosts should break the soil down further and you have the chance to fork out persistent weeds before they get the chance to develop.
  • Clear the garden of dead and decaying plant matter and compost it where appropriate. Leave grasses and architectural seed heads as they provide food for the birds in colder months and look beautiful throughout the winter.
  • I find this time of year best to cut hedges and re-shape rounded shrubs which have lost their form.

Sue Adams has lived in SW France for 15 years and is developing a small field into a garden with orchard, vegetable and soft fruit garden, flower beds, dry garden and a wildlife haven.  It’s still a work in progress.  You can read more from Sue at and other gardening articles online on our website

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