This month is the transition from summer to autumn and a very busy time in the garden. Nights are cooler and morning dew is on the grass.
Pip fruit harvest time is here with apples and pears at their very best. Choose only the very best, sound fruit for storage over the winter and the second quality fruit for now, or to make into sauces or jelly.
Berry fruits should have the old fruiting stems removed (raspberries, boysenberries and blackberries) and the runners from strawberries when rooted potted up for new plants next season.
Brassicas for the winter need to planted and protected from white butterfly which is very active now. Leeks like to be well fed and watered to grow well and not stressed so that they will not bolt to seed.
Silver beet sown now and grown quickly is a reliable green for the winter and will not get the rust or mildew that summer crops often get.
Climbing beans harvested each day and kept well watered will continue to produce right through to the end of the month.
Tomatoes, if they haven't got the tomato/potato psyllid will continue to ripen good quality fruit.
Pumpkins will be ready for harvest later in the month or early next month once the leaves have died down and the skin is firm or hard.
Seed from some of our plants, be they vegetable or flowers may be saved. Select the best plants, wait until the seed is mature, then put the seed heads in a paper bag in a cool dark place upside down. Once the seeds have dropped to the bottom of the bag they can be collected and stored in envelopes with their name and date, ready to be used later.
Lawns respond in the autumn to weed control and feeding as the cooler days and nights encourage rapid growth. Topdressing, new sowing, and other repairs done now will respond quickly.
In the flower garden the summer flowers are coming to their end. Annuals can be removed so that the ground can be readied for planting winter and spring plants.
Now is the time to prepare the ground for spring bulbs (although it is too early to plant them yet). Of the bulbs now available for sale choose only the best, firm bulbs (and count them - I have come across a few short packets!). Keep them until the ground is right for planting.
Autumn perennials are at their peak flowering. Ensure they are well supported and remove spent flowers for continuous flowering. April flowering chrysanthemums will have their buds developing so removal of the side buds will give better, larger flowers on each stem if done now.
There are always weeds, pests and diseases in the garden so it is much better to deal with them as soon as they are noticed before they get to be a real problem.
Good Gardening, Michael Coulter