September is the month of transition (at-least in the garden). There’s a ton to do, to prepare for the upcoming season of flowers – Winters! While I have been busy making preparations, it occurred to me to share with you all, what are the common tasks for this month to get the garden ready to bloom.
1.PLANT CHRYSANTHEMUMS / GULDAUDI
If you haven’t already, this is the correct time to plant. Seedlings are available at nurseries starting from Rs.5 – Rs. 10. Ask questions like which variety is it – buy the double ones. Also check that the seedlings are healthy dark green with thick stems. Do not buy if the leaves seem infected or damaged.
If you cannot plant the seedlings immediately, cover the roots with a hanky & dip in a glass of water. Cover only the roots. This can keep the seedlings fresh for about one night.
2.SOW EARLY BLOOMING SEEDS
While it is advisable to wait till mid September for most winter flowers, you can start some hardy varieties like Dianthus, Nasturtium, Petunia & Marigolds. The rest can be started after the weather cools downs. Where we live, the weather has cooled down already but it is raining non-stop. If you wish to start seeds in rainy weather, keep them under cover.
3.REMOVE SUMMER FLOWERS
Unless you wish to make seeds, then you can keep some plants. I have emptied all the pots that had summer blooming flowers like Portulaca (which I grew in abundance this season). They are usually almost done blooming by this time anyhow.
4.TILL THE SOIL & LET IT DRY
This is very important. Dig over the soil in pots, deep & let it dry in the sun to kill weeds, to prepare for upcoming winters.
If you haven’t already, refresh your rose plants to prepare them for the blooming season. Cut back old stems, suckers & just generally clean & shape them.
Harvest, Dry & Store extra herb leaves for winters. These include Curry Patta, Tulsi, Lemongrass, Mint etc. Fertilize them once every 15 days till November to keep them happy for winters. I make a simple fertilizer for herbs at home. 1 spoon dahi/ yogurt/ curd, 1 tall glass water, A pinch of Hing & ½ Tsp. Epsom salt. This makes enough for about 3 plants.
7.ORDER BULBS & SEEDS
If you haven’t already, now is the time to order seeds & bulbs for winter season. My favorite seed brand is BIOCARVE. Cheap, quick shipping & great germination.
Potting soil for winters should be rich & well-draining. Amend hard, clayey soil with sand, compost & cocopeat. Never plant winter flowers in the same pots where you grew summer flowers, without adding some compost & drainage material as needed.
9.CHECK DRAINAGE HOLES
Re-check that all your pots have drainage holes. This is very important since winters mean less sun-shine, standing water can rot the seedlings. Also, winter rains & no drainage can wreck havoc in flower pots. They also cause unsightly fungus.
10.START WINTER VEGETABLES FROM SEEDS
It is a good time to start Tomatoes, Chilies, Capsicum etc from seeds. You may wait for the rest as per your local weather.
11.GET HANGING BASKETS READY
Winters are the time for hanging baskets to shine. Get them ready with fresh soil, compost & cocopeat.
12.PREPAPE SEED SOWING EQUIPMENT
Wash seed trays or pots. Stock up on seed starting mix. Keep watering cans & spray bottles handy. It’s time to do the most exciting thing in the garden – sow seeds & dream of colorful flowers!!
For a handy guide on easy seed sowing, CHECK HERE.
Do a general clean-up in the garden. Remove weeds, clean corners, wash fancy planters, repair broken stuff & get the garden ready for winter glory!
Beautiful flowers must be displayed in beautiful pots! If you wish to paint your pots & planters, do it as soon as rains end. They will enough sun & time before winters to dry out and be ready for plantation.
15.FERTILIZE WINTER BLOOMING PERENNIALS
Flowers like carnations, roses etc. are ready to bloom. Give them a good dose of fertilizer every 15 days. This will help kick-start blooming early. My choice of organic fertilizer is made of banana peels & eggs. Check HERE & HERE.
16.CLEAN UP SUCCULENTS
The weather is neither cold nor hot. It is the perfect time to clean you succulent pots & divide them, if you wish to. You can also try to propagate some of them now. See HERE what I have been doing with my succulents.
17.KICK-START WINTER FLOWER PLANTS
If you are travelling to or live near hills, you can now bring back Geraniums, Carnations, Fuchsia, Impatiens, Petunias & even Cyclamen. They will not die now and you can satisfy your cravings with early flowers from these plants.
18.SAVE PLANTS FOR NEXT SEASON
If you have some collectible Coleus, Caladiums or Portulaca from the summers, you can plant some of them in small pots and keep at a shaded place. Water them occasionally to help survive the winters. Replant in bigger pots in March.
Have you been lucky enough to have winter bulbs survive summers? First congrats! Now dig them up and divide them so that they may put up a show again! This is particularly essential for lilies.
20.SAVE SUMMER BULBS
Even if you plant to let them grow & multiply, it is a good idea to dig up and save some of them, just in case you lose the potted bulbs due to any reason. This will help you start the next season with at-least some in hand – like a backup. These bulbs include – caladium, tuberose, football lily, rain lily etc.
That’s all for now! What’s up in your garden these days? Do comment below!!
HAPPY GARDENING 🙂
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