1. In order to keep flowering plants in bloom for as long as possible, continue to dead-head in order to encourage new blooms and up to the end of September a weekly or fortnightly liquid feed will help, although if we have early frosts this won’t be needed.
2. Autumn is a good time to split perennial plants which have grown too big, but this must be done before the first frosts occur. Dig up the whole plant and either use a sharp knife, your hands, or two forks placed back-to-back to split the plant into as many sections as you wish. Replant immediately in new locations, adding some compost to the soil and watering in well. They should establish new roots before winter sets in.
3. If you grow late-fruiting raspberries, such as Autumn Bliss, wait until the leaves fall off before cutting all canes to the ground. Mulch with compost to encourage good growth next year. If you grow early-fruiting raspberries, prune all this year’s fruiting canes to the ground, tie in new canes to protect from gales and apply a good mulch.
4. Strawberries will have sent out numerous runners by now and if you want to increase your strawberry bed, carefully dig up any that have rooted and pot them on, not cutting the connection with the mother plant until you are sure the new plant is in good health, after which the runner can be cut free and the new plant bedded in to its new location.
5. In general, all weeds should be removed and your vegetable patch should be spade dug at the end of the autumn, leaving the soil in clumps so that the frost can get at it to kill off the nasties. At the time of digging you can add manure to the soil, particularly around roses, but it is fine to leave it till spring and then dig in some well-rotted manure and/or home-made compost, before the first seeds go in. The two methods have their pros and cons, but perhaps the autumn is the better time to feed the ground.
6. Garlic can be planted in good soil at the end of autumn to winter over, which may help to avoid rust and other diseases. Broad beans likewise can be planted in the late autumn, which can help to stop blackfly infestations next year as the foliage will be too tough, not the beans though! Come December, which is really winter, shallots and winter onions can be planted, either from sets or seed.
7. If you planted chard or perpetual spinach in July to winter over and give you some tasty meals in the spring before it bolts, protect from wildlife, particularly pigeons, snails and slugs; otherwise there will be nothing left for you to pick at what gardeners refer to as ‘the hungry time’.