September garden tips
Vegetable gardening isn’t over yet!
We still have time to get in short season crops from seed like radishes and beets. And you can plant all sorts of cold hardy greens like kale, mache, arugula, sorrel, asian greens, endive, and lettuces to harvest later in the fall. This is also the time to get garlic and shallot bulbs in the ground for harvest next year. For more winter hardy options for Spring harvest try kale, cabbage, or fava beans.
Spread straw or mulch for added protection of overwintering crops or fallow beds.
Protect young fruit trees from insects and winter cracking by painting a strip on the lower truck with interior white latex paint mixed with a .5 ratio of water.
The downside to dry soil, cool nights, warm days and added moisture on foliage is that it is the perfect conditions for powdery mildew. Keep an eye out and destroy leaves as it appears.
As vegetables ripen pick them, remove the spent plants to your compost and replace with winter plantings, mulch or a cover crop to enrich the soil for next year.
If you want to collect seeds from your vegetables and flowering perennials see our previous blog post with tips.
Perennial beds and landscape maintenance:
Fall is one of the best planting seasons. The soil is still warm and easy to work and since the air temp has cooled a bit it’s much more pleasant for us too. Morning dew and (hopefully) the occasional shower is giving our gardens a bit of drink after the dry season and makes the soil easier to work too.
When you plant perennials and trees now you give your plants a jump on root development so they are better prepared for a beautiful show next season. Plants that have the fall and winter to develop will be better prepared for drought tolerance and to fight off disease and pests next season. Plus they will be more likely to set blooms and gorgeous foliage. The exception is borderline tender plants – which do better if planted in the spring so they have the summer to develop and prepare for their first winter out.
Bulbs are here too – if you want Spring bulbs to bloom now is the time to plant them. And if you want to force bulbs for the winter start looking now while the selection is best.
Dig plants that will not winter over such as dahlias and tender canna. Bring houseplants indoors. Divide iris, grasses and lilies. If you want to divide peonies now is really the only time of year it should be done. Remember to keep the peony roots close to the surface when replanting so they will be sure to re-bloom in the following year.
September can still be dry so watch the moisture level of transplants until the Fall rains come but hold back on watering after the night temperatures drop consistently below 50 degrees.