As we move from one season to the next, this month is all about that change: Harvesting the last of summer crops, and preparing for autumn and winter.

Key Points

  • Mow lawns more regularly and feed with lawn food as rain becomes more frequent
  • The first of the season’s cyclamen will appear in store this month. Remember to keep in a well-lit room that has a cool even temperature.
  • New season’s Camellias are now coming into the store. The perfect shrub for winter colour in the garden

The Edible Garden

  • Some of the summer vege crops will be coming to an end this month. As they do, it is a perfect time to dig over the ground in preparation for new winter crops. Add in organic compost and follow with a dressing of garden lime. Do this several weeks before fertilising and planting new seedlings.
  • In colder areas, if you still have tomatoes on the vine, it is best to pick them and let them ripen on a sunny windowsill. This will stop early frosts splitting them!
  • Once the soil has been prepared seedlings of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach and silverbeet can be planted out.
  • Carrot and parsnip seeds can be sown directly into the garden. For a succession of other crops sow seeds of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, silverbeet in seed trays for planting out later in the season.
  • Any areas of the garden which are not going to have a winter crop can be sown with a green manure crop such as blue lupin or mustard. These crops can be dug in in early spring to provide structure and nutrients to the soil.
  • Citrus trees can be fed this month – apply fertiliser out to the drip line of the tree and water in well afterwards. Citrus – tips for success
  • Continue to feed that last of the summer veges with liquid food to get the best out of the late harvest.

The Flower Garden

  • Keep planting spring flowering bulbs this month – you can start to plant tulips plus all the other favourites, including daffodils, freesias, crocus, Lachenalia, hyacinths.
  • Plant Hyacinth bulbs in pots or Hyacinth “Jars”. Leave to grow outdoors – if you have them inside, they will become leggy and soft. Once the bulbs start to flower in spring, you can then bring them in to enjoy their colour and perfume in the house.
  • The flower garden can now be replanted with seedlings of Polyanthus, Primulas, Pansies, Stock, Calendula. Remember proper preparation is the key to success – dig the soil over, add compost and general garden fertiliser before planting.
  • A handful of dried blood around your polyanthus seedlings will do wonders for them.
  • Sow Sweet Pea seeds directly into the ground – traditionally before St Patrick’s Day on the 17th. Soak seeds overnight to soften their hard skin and speed up germination.
  • In cooler areas, this is a good time to lift and divides perennials and replant fresh new pieces for next summer flowering.
  • Stop deadheading roses now and let hips develop for winter colour. Some rose food now will help new wood to harden before winter.
  • Freshen up pots and hanging baskets with potted colour pansies, violas, lobelia, and alyssum.
  • Prune hydrangeas

The Lawn

  • Start preparation for re-sowing lawns. Spray weed killer to remove weeds, wait at least three weeks after spraying before sowing new seed.
  • Fix any lumps, hollows or bare patches.
  • Re-sow lawn seed when ready and water daily until fully germinated.