Friday, September 6, 2019

A Busy September in the Garden

Yellow and red roses on a two-toned wooden table with a white envelope that says "September". Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash
Now that Labor Day is in the rearview mirror and all the kids are back in school, people everywhere are amping up for the busy fall season. This is especially true for gardeners. This time of year is chock-full of gardening and taking-care-of-outside chores. As most serious gardeners know, September is not the end of the season. In reality, it is the beginning. What you do between September and late November will help determine how heavy your workload is for next spring.

An assortment of leafy greens in a silver colanderMany gardeners are well on their way to having a fall garden by now. Depending on where they live, the planning and prep has been done and they have already planted or are ready to move on to planting. Those winter greens and vegetables will be very welcome as fall turns to winter. Here is a delicious-sounding salad that features Brussels sprouts, pumpkin seeds – and a surprise touch.

But what if you are not doing a fall garden this year? If you want to plant in the spring or just want a healthy backyard environment for your warm weather enjoyment, there is a lot that can be done now to make that happen. Putting in a little time now can save you time, money and worry as you come out of winter next year.

A skeletal black tree on a green and misty hillside.  Photo by Adarsh Kummur on Unsplash.
Plant a tree: If you are not up to going the whole fall garden route but still want to get your hands in some soil, consider planting a tree. Every day is a great day for a tree, but September through November is the ideal time for planting one. This will give their roots time to establish before hard freezes and allows them to concentrate their energy on growing roots before they put out leaves in the spring. The key to success with this schedule is to encourage strong and healthy root growth and to water deeply. We recommend Root Build 240 for the roots. For more information, check out our tree planting blog here.

Multicolored plants in clay pots stacked against a brick building.Apply Beneficial Nematodes: We strongly encourage fall applications of these microscopic organisms to control pests that overwinter in the soil. We have beneficial nematodes that can control a myriad of pests, including various beetles, ticks, fungus gnats and caterpillars. Apply some now and apply again in the spring to knockdown any pests that got away. These fascinating creatures do amazing unseen work in the ground. We have a ton of information on them here. And they are on sale through September!

Move your garden to containers: If you have some plants that you’d like to keep going or some favorites that you like to have around, put them in containers. It will be easier to protect them (and yourself) from the elements. Put them close to the house or on a porch for easy access and raise them off the ground; this will keep them from becoming waterlogged in the wetness of fall and winter. Here is a video with some tips on fall container planting. 

Colorful fall leaves on a lush green lawn.Lawns: Your lawn will enjoy some dethatching, fertilization and aeration at this time of year. And, while you’re at it, you may as well go after those stubborn perennial weeds. Weeds draw up nutrients in the fall to prepare for winter; if you apply herbicide now it will be drawn up as well. Corn Gluten Meal may work well for you; it will fertilize as well as kill weeds. Check out our blog on this versatile corn by-product. We also have many other excellent weed control options here.

Clean out sheds, greenhouses and cold frames: Now that the weather is cooling off (except here in Southern Arizona), get out and clear up the clutter that it was just too darn hot to deal with over the summer. If you are planting again, you will want this clean slate. If you are not, cleaning now will give you a chance to move items that shouldn’t be out in the cold and free you from spending your spring days going through debris from the year before. Be sure to empty and clean out all the compost and decaying plant matter from old pots and containers to keep overwintering pests from finding a home there.

Teardrop shaped small pumpkin on dark soil and surrounded by green leafy vines.Photo by Steffi Pereira on UnsplashTrim things up: Help your plants by maximizing light sources as we move into the darker months. Remove thick or overhanging vegetation around your garden, greenhouse or patio. To encourage pumpkins to ripen by Halloween, trim up any leaves and/or re-direct vines that may be shadowing them. If you have apple trees – lucky you – run the mower under them so you’ll be able to easily spot any windfalls.

Young blond haired boy in jeans and a blue shirt playing in a pile of brown leaves, Photo by Scott Webb on UnsplashCompost: Not composting? Start now to take advantage of falling leaves and dead plant material. If you are already composting, you probably know already that the bounty of leaves in the fall are an excellent addition to a compost pile. Check out our composting products here.

A closeup of a hand holding some daffodils and daisies. Photo by Sam Mgrdichian on Unsplash

Plan for beauty
: Now that you have a trimmed up and cleaner yard environment, and a plan for all the fallen leaves that someone will have to rake up, it's time to plant bulbs for next year’s enjoyment. Stick them in now and when they start popping out next spring you will be so glad you did.                                                                 
Above all, get out and enjoy this time of beautiful time of year. The sunny, cool days and crisp nights of autumn are something that this Virginia native gets homesick for every year at this time.

Submitted by Pam

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