Summer is midway in Ireland, and even though it’s hard to imagine, it's time to start prepping our garden for autumn harvests and potting. So it’s time for our late summer-autumn edition of your month-by-month Irish gardening checklist.
It’s not too late to plant the odd late vegetable crop, though - there’s still a lot of growing and producing in the next 3 months.
Plant a Late Vegetable Garden
There is still time to plant a late crop of vegetables before August. You can harvest these just before the first frost.
Take a look at this blog to spot the 20 Vegetables to Plant in Late Summer
There are still some delightful gardening moments you will look forward to in the late summer, like waiting for those lovely unctuous Dahlia buds to burst forth and the odd lily to reach its full height.
In general, it’s a month to keep tabs on the fabulous growth around you and keep it in check and safe from pests.
Plan for Spring, Believe it or Not, it's Time!
- During autumn, you will want to research and source your spring bulbs for planting this autumn - if buying online, you may want to place your orders by the end of the month.
- Also, it is a good time for ordering your annual seeds, especially if you are plotting your next food garden.
- You can also start collecting seeds from your crop of plants throughout this period and store them somewhere dry for next year. Or replant them back for a second late summer crop where possible.
Specific Gardening Tasks in August
- If you have chrysanthemums, you may want to stop and dis-bud them.
Turnaround the Biennials and Remove Annuals
Some of your biennials and annuals will be on the wane.
- Harvest what you can in terms of seeds or remaining flowers.
- Pot out biennials and replant as space becomes available.
- Remove spent annuals such as sweet peas and replace them with late summer varieties.
Support Late Summer Growth
- As some of your creepers die down like clematis, remove them
- Other varieties like Jasmines may grow taller and longer - be sure to stake/tie-in plants as they grow taller or secure them with hooks along your walls, pergolas and trellises to guide the ornamental plants.
- Developing a regular watering and feeding regime will be necessary as the weather dries out and temperatures rise.
- Be sure to water glasshouse plants more regularly and pay attention to pots that may not benefit directly from rain.
- This includes houseplants that may be thirstier during the higher temperatures.
Keep the Pests at Bay in our Summer Garden
- Keep on top of glasshouse pests and watch out for new buds and shoots. Protect them from aphids, especially if you have a rose garden.
PSSSSSST don't forget to go on holiday! This means you may want to give a friend or neighbour access to water your plants if you are away for longer than a week.
As autumn approaches, there may be harvesting on the one hand and an opportunity to sow the next round of annual seeds for the following spring.
In the meantime, the weather will still be mild in Ireland, so do keep watering and keeping pests at bay.
Cutting Back the Garden in Autumn
For much of September, you will cut back foliage as plants start to wane or spent crops die. This should make way for new growth and planting.
- Keep deadheading and weeding to keep the late flowering plants thriving and yielding new rounds of late blooms.
- You could start taking cuttings from mature plants.
Plan, Plot and Pot for Spring Growth
Once your bulbs have been ordered and are ready to be placed, it’s a good time to start planning where you want to plant them.
- You may want to be doing some light landscaping now and plan new locations for raised beds or plan ways you may want to layer your bulbs in the soil so that they will rotate seasonally.
- Continue to plant biennials as space becomes available.
Tidy The Autumn Garden
The tidying continues as plants continue to die back
- Keep clearing your beds of spent plants as you may way for the new bulbs and spring shrubs
- Keep weeding, especially if you spot weeds starting to develop dangerous seed heads
- If you have large pits filled with late summer displays once - time to start emptying these to make way for the spring bulbs and displays
- If you have zinnias in your glass house or greenhouse - clear them now
Planning for New Growth
In October, as the weather cools, it's good to start planting spring bulbs to give yourself some early colour at the beginning of spring. You’ll be grateful when the delightful sight breaks those grey winter days with spring bulbs you would have forgotten!
- You may also want to start ordering plants for spring, such as bare root shrubs. This includes roses
- It is also an excellent time to re-sprout and plant Anemone Coronaria and Ranunculus.
- Time to plant any remaining biennials and perennials that need to begin their new cycle
- You should also plant up large pots for spring displays.
Prepare for Winter
- If you have tender perennials growing outside - it is time to start moving them inside or into the glasshouse or protected areas indoors to protect them from frost.
- Check your dahlias and label them before frost.
- You should also plant out hardy annuals before the temperature drops too cold.
- Lay down mulching to protect the ground and support biodiversity. It is also an excellent time to lay down straw paths.
Don’t Forget To Enjoy It!
The most important thing to remember? Take time off the garden to just sit back and enjoy it now that you’ve got warm mornings, long evenings and balmy nights to sit outside and soak in the green all around you.
Ensure you’ve got your patio set out, not just for the once-off guests or barbeques! Get it out for yourself and enjoy your breakfasts, teas and late-night family BBQ outside whilst viewing and savouring flora and fauna in your immediate property.
This also applies even if you have a tiny balcony or have nothing more than a front curb facing your inner city street - get the pots out, hang some plants at your door and enjoy the sunny stoop.