Ah, September! The kids are back to school, the mornings are getting crisper, and there’s a sense of fall in the air. For those living in warmer climates, that sense of fall might just be in your head, but we’ll take what we can get, right?
There’s something about the promise of this change of season that is both relaxing and exciting — but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because there’s still plenty to do if you follow our September Garden Checklist!
With summer’s end in sight, be sure to complete all your notes about your summer garden in your journal. What new plant surprised you? What would you plant more of next year? Any do-overs on your list? How was the weather, and how did it impact your garden?
Prepare and Maintain
No matter your zone, September is a prep month for almost every gardener.
- Harvest your vegetable garden before the danger of frost or freeze, or to make room for your fall plantings. Put spent leaves and plants (veggies, perennial clippings, annual flowers) into your compost pile.
- Gather herbs for drying or freezing, and collect valuable seeds for next year.
- Use winter rye as a cover crop in colder climates.
- Warmer Zones 7-10 will need to continue shading your soil until the temperatures start to drop in earnest.
- Zone 11 can begin gathering seeds for vegetables such as beans, bell peppers, and eggplant in preparation to sow them next month.
Sow and Plant Indoors
- Zone 11 can start seeds for strawberries for transplanting next month.
- Zones 7-10 can still plant outdoors, but it’s also fun to get a head start on anything you’d like to plant for the cooler months.
- Start seeds of cool-season annuals, greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, and radishes.
Sow and Plant Outdoors
- Zones 4-6 can plant garlic and shallots, as well as spinach either under row covers or in cold frames.
- Zones 7-10 can plant greens, beets, turnips, radishes, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and bok choy.
- Zone 10 still has time for the last round of squash, cucumbers, and okra, final plantings of tomatoes and peppers, and cool-season greens.
- Zone 4 can harvest turnips, parsnips, apples, carrots, greens, beets, pears, and persimmons.
- Zones 5-10 can harvest pretty much everything from basil, beans, beets, cucumbers, and eggplant to greens, peppers, squash, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.