September is just around the corner and despite my love of long hazy, summer days I do appreciate the fresh feel of autumn. Many gardeners think their work is done come fall, but not so! There are so many things we could and should be doing in September. Here are a few that I always strive to complete before the (dare I say it?) first frost!
Plant Fall Container Gardens
Mums, Ornamental Peppers, Kale & Cabbage are staples in my fall arrangements but let your creativity abound. Adding cattails, corn stalks, mini gourds or grape vine can really take your containers to the next level.
Harvest, Pickle, Preserve and Process
It seems to happen all at once, every tomato is ripe, every pepper and bean perfect to pick. I’ve become very crafty with how to process everything that comes from my veggie patch. I cannot stress enough the importance of finding new and different ways to process your bounty. Sauce is sauce, it has to be made! But there’s salsa and tomato paste, and what about creating your own hot sauces? Chop and freeze peppers for easy additions to omelets and dry and store fresh herbs. Consider making desserts like apple crumble or pie while the apples are fresh for the picking and freezing for the inevitable holiday dinners. It’s not only gratifying to serve family home made delights, but also economical.
Once they’ve lost their lustre (generally mid-late September) it’s time to begin dividing and replanting overgrown perennials. Perhaps they’re not overgrown but next year’s garden plan has them residing elsewhere, fall is a great time to make move as the plant has a full dormant season to establish and this extra time delivers big come next spring/summer.
Fertilize the Lawn
A lot of people erroneously believe that come fall your work on the lawn is done. Remember that your lawn has just undergone major stress during the dog days of summer and late season fertilization will deliver big, ensuring a strong start in the spring. Apply after the grass has stopped growing, approximately 3 weeks before the first frost.
Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs
I’ve finally got my garden looking positively Holland worthy! It took a lot of fall planting but it’s well worth it when after a long cold winter your home is the first to display spring colours. Bulbs are a given with the staple tulips and daffodils but did you know that you can even plant for summer flowers? Plants with large hearty rhizomes (like Coneflower) or bulbs (like Oriental Lilies) can be planted now for next year’s colour.