The month of September can be a really busy time of the year here in this climate, warm rains and still long sunny days still encourage growth. In northerngardens there are sure signs of autumn and harvesting where as here in this climate we are encouraged to start planting up again, its almost like the spring growing season.
Once these late summer rains are over the gardens almost say their ‘thank you’ by growing lush and green, be they flowers or vegetables that are planted up. First of all there are all those weeds to get rid of and a good deep dig, dig in some manure if you can get hold of it or some compost, the ground does need feeding preferably with natural fertilizer if you are going to start all over again.
So, what do we plant up a late summer garden with? In the flower garden, if you are going to want bulbs for next spring now is as good a time as any if you can remember where you put them away! Bulbs are lovely in pots for the balcony and terraces as well. The co-op and farmers markets always have a good selection of well established bedding plants and you may well find some of your own old favourites have self seeded fromtheir last growing season.
Osteospermums (black eyed daisy ) do well planted up now either from cuttings or if you look around the already established growth there will be lots of seedlings that could do with transplanting to their own space. This really is a good ground cover perennial, once established you could have it in the flower border for ever and takes very little looking after surviving all weathers.
The vegetable garden is something else, remember to rotate whatever vegetables you are about to plant. All of the root vegetables will do really well as well as the peas and beans family. These latter ones will of course need good sturdy supports to encourage them to grow up off the ground. The only ones that don’t do so well are the tomato, aubergine and pepper families that do prefer full summer although who am I to dictate what you plant or not because there is frequently a special corner in nearly every garden where something special can be nurtured.
The winter winds are the gardeners worst enemy during these coming months so sheltered areas or good supports are always to be considered. That doesn’t mean the plants won’t grow, it just means they can be battered to bits in any one of those ‘big blows’, that can blow up at any time during what is considered the winter months in the Mediterranean oh, I hate the wind more than anything.
If you really want tomatoes all year round ones grown in the winter months will need to be in a very sunny spot, even in a large plant pot on a south facing terrace and here again, well sheltered from the wind and a sturdy supporting cane to tie it to as it makes new growth.There are no actual ‘winter’ varieties, frequently the self seeded ones seem to be more hardy than those from the packet ! To harvest fruits like tomatoes well out of their normal growing season always seems more worth while to me those bought when anyone can grow them in season. The lawns will still have a few more growing weeks which of course means more cutting than ever after the few wet days these last weeks.
Sunshine and warmth is what encourages the Bermuda grass to grow, it can even grow waist high if overlooked and create its own little jungle, it really must be pulled up by the root if you don’t want it every where, that is why a frequent cut and good edging clean-up is essential.
Here is where I suggest the edging tool to cut through the creeping stems as opposed to the strimmer that just seems to trim the blades of grass and encourages them to grow more. One pull and you could well find yourself with about two yards of grass that always seems to take root all along its length just where you don’t want it. Unfortunately there are many gardening jobs that really are best at hands and knees level and this could be one of them if the runners get out of hand. In spite of all the work, I still like to see a nice green lawn as part of a garden if there is room for it., and you can enjoy sitting on it with a nice cup of tea or something stronger when the work is all over.