Photo: (from left to right) Sneezeweed and Joe Pye Weed in the September garden. Karen Jeannette
While some might consider September the end of another gardening season, it might also be considered a beginning for enjoying the harvest of the garden or planning next year's activities. This time of year you may notice some central themes helpful in remembering seasonal garden and yard care tips, such as: watering, cleaning up, moving, harvesting, and preparing for next season, just to name a few. As always, this September gardening list is far from all-encompassing, yet a good reminder of where to start.
Providing adequate water in fall is especially critical for increasing plant survival in winter and providing year-round health:
- Help your plants prepare for the long winter by adequately watering plants. This is especially true for trees and shrubs planted in the last 5 years. Provide these plants 1.0 - 1-.5 inches of water per week.. See Fall Watering advice for more information.
- Follow this month's Lawn care checklist: late summer - early fall, (#3 out of the seven fall lawn care practice to consider)
A little clean up now can prevent a lot of weed and disease problems in the future.
- Remove weeds and diseased plant materials from your gardens. Do not compost diseased plant materials in your home compost. For more information on other fall clean up recommendations, see Fall is Clean Up Time.
- Remove overripe fruits from plants or the garden so as not to encourage insects or other stray critters.
- Plant newly purchased perennials, trees, and shrubs. Make sure to provide adequate water through the fall. After the ground starts to freeze, add a 6 - 8 inch layer of mulch around your new plants.
- Plant spring flowering bulbs.
- In the vegetable garden, plant quick-growing greens (arugula, spinach, mizuna, cilantro, leaf lettuce) and garlic.
- Plant grass seed. For overseeding information, see: Lawn care checklist: late summer - early fall, ((#1 out of the seven fall lawn care practice to consider) and/or Seeding and Sodding Home Lawns.
- Now is the time to divide and move peonies.
- Bring in tropical houseplants and tender bulbs such as begonias, montbretias and caladiums as temperatures near or dip below 50 degrees F. For more information, see: Over-Wintering Tender Bulbs and Plants
- Bring in canna and calla lilies, gladiolus,
dahlias and tuberoses after frost damages foliage on these tender bulbs, see: Storing Tender Bulbs and Bulblike Structures
- For advice regarding moving established trees and shrubs, see:Transplanting,Transplanting Trees and Shrubs? Part I: Preparing for the Move and Transplanting Trees and Shrubs-Part 2: Making the Move
Harvesting & Storing
- For information on storing home produce, see: Storing Home Grown Produce.
- Apples are ripe when the starches have converted to sugars. You can feel the starch on your teeth when you bite into an unripe apple. Just because it's red doesn't mean it's ripe. If you want to become more proficient in your apple tasting abilities, see Apple Tasting Training with host University of Minnesota apple breeder David Bedford,
Preparing for next season
- Read Bob Mugaases Lawn care checklist: late summer - early fall
- Save tomatoes, peppers, peas, and beans seeds for next year's crop, see Saving Vegetables Seeds: Tomatoes, Peppers, Peas and Beans
- Take notes and or pictures about what worked and what didn't this year. You will thank yourself next year when your notes help provide you clues about what to plant or not to plant. when to apply certain gardening methods, or pest control methods.