What to do now

Timing is everything in gardening — for best results. But there is some leeway. In this section, Garden.ie offers accurate horticultural advice reminders on the main groups of plants under Irish conditions, week after week.

  • Trees, Shrubs and Roses
  • Flowers
  • Lawn
  • Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
  • Greenhouse and House Plants

Greenhouse and House Plants

  • Keep picking greenhouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers as soon as they are ready, otherwise cropping tails off quickly.
  • Stop feeding most greenhouse plants now because they will have enough in the pot to keep them going and they are better going into winter a little ‘harder’.
  • Stop feeding house plants except those that flower in winter.
  • Take cuttings of evergreen shrubs and trees and insert them in pots of two parts peat/one part sand in the greenhouse, covering them in white polythene.
  • Pot up some freesia corms when available for wonderful scent in spring.
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Trees, Shrubs and Roses

  • Trimming of all evergreen hedges – cypress, thuya, holly and laurel – can be carried out about now. As growth is nearly over for the year, there will be very little new growth and the hedges will stay neat until about May.
  • Even this late in the growing year, young trees can benefit from watering if they appear to be struggling – they can still make some growth in the remaining couple of months.
  • Preparations for autumn and winter planting can be made now, clearing grass and weeds.
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Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs

  • The vegetable garden has gone past its summer peak.
  • Watch sweet corn as it is becoming ready, also parsnips, potatoes and swede turnips.
  • Get rid of all old crops when they are finished and make sure not to let weeds get away and go to seed.
  • When lifting potatoes, make sure to get out all small potatoes because these will become ‘ground-keepers’, and can carry blight and blackleg disease.
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Lawn

  • If there are some warm days, it keeps soil temperatures high and good growth of grass results.
  • Little needs to be done except to keep the grass mown.
  • Autumn lawn fertilizer could be applied if the grass is a bit sluggish through lack of nutrients.
  • Moss control using sulphate of iron could be carried out where there is a problem.
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Flowers

  • Spring bulbs are appearing in the shops and it is a good time to make an assessment of new locations for bulbs.
  • Tidy up messy perennial flowers, but be sure to leave good stems and seedheads, such as agapanthus, fennel, lysimachia, dierama, phlomis and monarda, for autumn and winter display.
  • Bedding and container annuals will last longer if given some liquid feeding now – they still have two months in them but will fade long before that without feeding and regular watering.
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