Gardening jobs for September

Spring Pansies
Photo: Justin Russell

The word spring comes from the Old English springan, which means “to leap” or “burst forth”. There’s plenty of leaping and bursting happening in my part of the world at the moment, with garden and gardener alike making the most of some warm weather and the irresistible burst of energy that September delivers. I hope the month is just as vibrant at your place. Here are some jobs you might want to tackle before the month is out.


  • The transition from winter to spring means crazy, mixed-up weather in many districts. Have crop protection fabrics on hand to shelter your crops from late frosts, drying winds, hailstorms, and unseasonably hot days. Hessian, shadecloth, vegie nets and horticultural fleece all work well.

  • If you’re gardening in a summer wet climate, the first storms of the season are weeks away, if they haven’t arrived already. Clear house gutters of leaves to get the maximum flow into rainwater tanks. Don’t waste the semi-decomposed leaves - throw them on the compost or use them as leaf mould.

  • In cool temperate climates, the soil will still be cold despite air temperatures starting to feel warmer. Take this into account when starting plants from seed, and avoid mulching until early October so that the soil can take full advantage of the sun’s warming rays.

  • Summer crops such as basil, corn, climbing beans, zucchini and tomatoes need warm soil for seed to successfully germinate. Eggplants, melons and capsicums need even warmer temperatures – at least 18°C. To get a jump on the season, warm soil with a temporary cover of black plastic or use a heated propagation tray.

  • Other seeds to sow now in temperate climates include asaparagus (for harvest in 3 years time), broccoli, beetroot, Asian greens, spring onion, carrot, lettuce, potato, silverbeet, peas and more. In subtropical climates, avoid planting cool season vegies and get cracking on the summer crops listed above.

  • Plant edible annuals flower for cheery colour, interesting salad ingredients and attractiveness to beneficial insects. Naturtiums, calendulas, violas, borage and marigolds can be planted now in all but the frostiest districts.

  • Dig up and divide perennial plants such as rhubarb, horseradish, artichoke and arrowroot. Warming soil helps roots get established quickly, but for a real boost, water the newly planted divisions in with seaweed solution, and keep moisture levels consistent until establishment.

  • Fruit flies will be emerging in warm temperate areas from Queensland to northern Victoria. Early control will reap dividends later in the season, so hang certified organic baits, begin spraying with products containing spinosad, and have exclusion bags ready to protect early ripening fruit.

  • September is the ideal month to spruce up chook sheds and other animal enclosures. Rake up floor litter and throw on the compost, then scatter some lime to help control lice and keep the soil healthy, and lay down a new bedding of clean straw. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on perches and in nest boxes, and on a warm, sunny day, spray any lice-infected chooks with organic pyrethrum.

By: Justin Russell

First published: September 2017

Related topics

Organic Gardening, Gardening Basics, Plants & Vegetables, Soil & Compost, Pests, Diseases & Weeds, Watering, Garden Tasks, In Season, Organic Techniques, All Gardens, All Plants, Spring, Subtropical, Cool climate, Dry temperate, GROW, What to do now
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