04 Sep SEPTEMBER GARDEN HAPPENINGS
September is one of those months that, depending upon what climate you live in, you’re either in the process of shutting your garden down or gearing up for Round Two. In either case, there is no shortage of things to do — so let’s roll up our sleeves and get this party started! And as always, there are many microclimates within each USDA Hardiness Zone, so we always recommend checking with your local county extension office or trusted garden center for more precise information about planting in your area.
What to Do to Your Garden in September
Zones 3-5. September is a real transition month in these cooler climates, so be on the lookout for early frosts and be prepared to cover any tender plants. Plant cool-season annuals like ornamental cabbage and kale, pansies, snapdragons, and violas. Plant container-grown trees and shrubs as soon as the leaves begin to turn, and go ahead and plant your late season crops of peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, turnips, leeks, onions, lettuce, radishes, and Brussels sprouts. Once your veggie garden is finished, plant cover crops of clover, alfalfa, or legumes. Now is a great time to divide and transplant your perennials, as well as dig up and store tender bulbs and tubers like dahlias, begonias, gladiolus, caladium, and cannas. Hold off on fertilizing trees and shrubs; you’ll want to give them time to harden for the upcoming winter months. Also, avoid any heavy tree and shrub pruning at this time, but feel free to remove and dispose of any dead plants. Order fall bulbs but hold off on planting them until after the first frost.
See Also: PREPPING GARDEN BEDS FOR THE COLD
Zones 6-7. Unless your area is experiencing a late-season heat wave, you can plant your cool season annuals like pansies, violas, snapdragons, and ornamental cabbage and kale. Plant garlic and leeks, and set out your cool weather transplants like kale, cabbage, salad greens, and broccoli. This is an ideal time to plant peonies or divide existing ones — and speaking of dividing, plan to dig up and divide your bearded iris or other spring-blooming perennials that need a little extra room. Plant spring-blooming bulbs and perennials, making sure to plan for a succession of bloom time. Harvest herbs, grasses, and flowers for drying, and harvest potatoes, onions and garlic as their tops die back. Prune cane fruits like raspberries and blackberries, and bring in poinsettias and amaryllis if you’ve had them outside in the garden. Fertilize your lawn in late September, and continue mowing at a 3” height either late in the afternoon or early evening.
Zones 8-11. Set out the second crop of tomato and pepper plants, and start cool-weather seeds now or set out transplants later in the month. Prune cane fruits like raspberries and blackberries, and clean up and dead or dying plants in the veggie garden. Hold off on planting cool weather annuals like pansies, violas, snapdragons, and ornamental cabbage and kale, even if you see them at the garden center. It’s too early and the inevitable heat will make them suffer. Order roses for fall planting now. Continue irrigating all plants deeply rather than frequently, especially those in more drought-stricken areas. Be prepared to protect your garden in the event of a late-season storm.
See Also: 5 REASONS TO GROW YOUR OWN ORGANIC FOOD