September Gardening Tips and To-Do List by Planting Zone and Region
Fall is upon us, and you may be wondering what you should be doing in your garden this month? Well, we have you covered.
I’m going to share with you what your garden requires based on your planting zone and region. This way you can cross-reference to see if there are any extra tips to get your home ready for fall.
Fall is a busy time of year no matter where you live. Be sure to stay in the loop to give your lawn and garden the best chance at producing a fall garden, surviving the winter, and producing in the spring.
It is also a time when frost rears its ugly head, so be prepared by knowing your frost dates, and know how to save your plants in case of unexpected frost.
Here’s what you should be doing to prepare your garden for fall in September:
Garden Chores by Planting Zone Zone Three 1. Plant Bulbs
If you want the beauty of spring flowers to burst through the dreariness of the end of winter, then you must plant bulbs now. By planting the bulbs this month, it gives them enough time to develop roots before the cold winter temperatures set in.
September is the month of harvest for this region. You should be harvesting:
If you don’t collect these crops now, the frost will set in and kill your crops. Make sure you stay aware of the frost dates in your area and stay ahead of them.
3. Save the Green Tomatoes
When frost comes to town, it’ll kill your tomatoes too. Therefore, you must pay attention to the weather forecast to know when frost could be coming your way.
Harvest any green tomatoes you have left on your tomato plants before then. You can bring them indoors, wrap them up, store them in a cool location, and still enjoy tomatoes after the frost. Or just enjoy them right away with any of these green tomato recipes.
You can also pull the entire tomato plant up by the roots and hang it upside down in a closet or your basement. The tomatoes will ripen on the vine and keep the homegrown tomato taste.
4. Take Care of the Onions
September is the month to harvest your onions. Before storing them, they must be allowed to cure to keep the skins from being damaged and allowing rot to form.
When harvesting the onions, leave them outdoors right on top of the soil for approximately a week. The outer layer will have time to toughen up and not get damaged as easily.
5. Prep the Garden for Next Year
September is the right time to utilize your compost by spreading it over the garden once it has been harvested and cleaned.
Be sure to remove any leaves, dead plants, or other plant debris from the garden. You don’t want to draw pests to your soil or leave diseased plants to compost in your garden over the winter, potentially damaging your soil.
Zone Four 1. In the Beginning
At the beginning of September, it’s essential to get your spinach crop in the ground. By planting it now, it’ll give you a lovely spring harvest of spinach.
After the cold winter months, you’ll be glad you thought ahead to give yourself some freshly grown greens when your body craves them the most.
2. Dump the Compost
With fall comes lots of leaves. It is also the time to prepare the garden for winter and ultimately, your next growing season.
Use this time to spread any remaining compost on your garden. This compost will get the soil ready for the next season and also give it all winter to have time to break down into the ground. At the same time, it gives you the necessary room in your compost bin for the fall leaves and debris.
3. Store Seeds
September is a month where many annuals will begin to dry up. When this starts to happen, let them. You can collect the seed pods they produce and store them for next year.
Be sure to allow the pods to dry out fully before storing. Also, be sure to store them in a cool, dry location to keep the seeds intact.
4. Get Busy Planting
Fall is a time filled with gorgeous colors. Your home can be one which shows off the beautiful colors of fall.
By planting pansies, mums, and kale, you can have a gorgeous array of colors dressing up your home. Plus, a few tasty bites for your family as well.
5. Midway Through the Month
When you reach the halfway point in September, take the time to plant any fall bulbs you’d like to have grown on your property.
It could include more mums, but don’t forget the garlic either. This is a great time to plant and prepare for a future harvest.
6. Time to Prep for Frost
Frost is inevitable in most parts of the country in September. You must be prepared for it. Pull out your row covers or plant some crops in cold frames.
This protection will be necessary for certain flowers and vegetables which otherwise won’t be able to survive.
1. Plant Bulbs
Do you want a beautiful burst of color when spring approaches? Then the time to prepare for that is now. You do this by planting all of your spring bulbs this month.
2. Prepare Your Winter Salad
We all crave green vegetables when the colder months hit. You can have a winter salad growing in your yard with a little preparation.
Plant kale and spinach this month in a cold-frame greenhouse. Then you will be able to still munch on green veggies at a later date.
3. Take Care of Your Lawn
Your lawn needs care this month. Sow grass seed in any bare spots and also cover with a dense layer of compost. The compost should encourage healthy growth and give your lawn a chance to survive the cold winter too.
4. Great Time for Perennials
September is an excellent month for perennials. Sometimes, perennials become overcrowded. You can divide them out and replant them where they’ll have more room.
Fall is a great time because the cooler temperatures give them a break and there’s also more rainfall during this month as well in most locations.
1. DIY Compost
September is a great month to begin making compost. Take all of the old plants from your garden (as long as they’re healthy), any leaves which have fallen, and your left-over lawn clippings.
You can toss them all together in a DIY compost bin and begin forming your compost for use in your garden the next growing season.
2. Cover Your Garden
You should protect your soil over the winter months. It doesn’t have to be a complicated process, but you must act now.
There are cover crops which grow quickly and easily. They protect your soil from the harsh winter elements and make it ready to go for the next growing season.
3. Plant Bulbs
If you want gorgeous spring flowers, September is the month to plant spring flowering bulbs. You’ll be glad you made the extra effort when they begin to push through the earth after a long, cold, and colorless winter.
4. Garlic and Spinach Crop
Do you enjoy garlic and spinach? Then you need to get busy planting them this month. Plant your spinach at the midway point of September. It will give you a spring crop.
But you should also plant your garlic this month as well. It will take a few months for a harvest, but if you get it in the ground now, you’ll be glad you did later.
5. Thin Out Perennials
Perennials can become big, bulky, and overcrowded after growing in the same location for a certain amount of years.
Don’t let them become stressed. Instead, use the time you have this month to divide out the perennials and plant them in different locations with more room.
1. Plant Your Winter Salad
Having some crisp greens during the winter can be such an enjoyable treat. If you want that green treat later on, you must plant it now.
Any hearty greens you enjoy should be planted outdoors or in a cold frame for later.
2. Harvest August Crop
In August, it was recommended you planted a lettuce crop. September is the month to begin harvesting the crop.
It could be your last shot at enjoying a typical garden salad before the frost hits. Don’t let your lettuce harvest go to waste.
3. Freeze Herbs
September is a great month to harvest your herbs before the frost setting in. Go through your herbs and snip them loose from the stalk using scissors.
Once they’ve been harvested, bring them indoors to wash and store in a freezer bag. Store them in the freezer for later use.
4. Prune Evergreens
September is the perfect time to prune your evergreen trees and shrubs. Make sure the weather has cooled somewhat before pruning.
But once it has, give each evergreen plant a quick haircut to keep them from becoming unshapely. Your landscaping will thank you.
5. Plant Some Color
Did you know pansies can handle the cool weather? They’re great at it, and this is good news for anyone who would like a burst of color in the colder fall months ahead.
Go ahead and plant them now but be sure they’re planted in full sun. The more sun they have, the higher their chances of survival.
6. Handle the Peanut Gallery
Did you plant a peanut crop in earlier months? Well, now is the time to harvest them. Wait until the shells have hardened and remove the peanuts from the ground.
1. Time to Transplant
If you’ve started seeds indoors, it’s time to move them outdoors. The plants which should be transplanted into the garden this month are:
Be sure to surround the transplants with a thick layer of mulch. This will help to keep the ground fresh and moist.
2. Sow More Seed
September is a busy month for planting in this planting zone. You should direct sow seeds for these plants in your garden:
3. Take Care of Your Lawn
Lawns need care before they head into the cooler months. Use this month to spread fertilizer on your lawn and add a thick layer of compost to spots which have turned or are turning brown.
1. Get Busy Planting
September is the month to plant more veggies in your garden. Vegetables you should plant are:
2. Time to Harvest
Though September is a month to plant, it’s also a month to harvest too. You should harvest your winter squash and pumpkins.
Wait until the skins have toughened to the point they aren’t easily damaged. If the skins aren’t hard enough before storage, you could develop an issue with rot.
3. Protect Your Harvest
Grapes will be coming in during September. It’s time to protect them because the birds and insects will want your harvest too.
Make sure you cover the grapes with netting or paper bags to make it harder for birds and other pests to make their way towards your fruit.
1. Last Call for Okra
If you enjoy growing fresh okra, this is your last month to get it into the ground. Okra takes some time to produce. Therefore, it’s either plant it now or wait until next year.
2. Time to Plant Other Veggies Too
During September, you should plant these vegetables in your garden:
They should’ve been started indoors and be ready for transplant as of this month.
3. Get Poinsettias Ready for the Holidays
Poinsettias are one of the most popular flowers over the holidays. If you want yours to be ready, give them an adequate pruning this month.
4. Give Your Soil Some Care
Healthy soil is vital to growing a bountiful garden. Add compost and other nutrients to your garden soil this month to give it adequate time to break down before the next growing season.
Gardening Chores by Region Southwest
- Fertilize your lawn
- Cut back on watering to help your plants prepare to survive throughout the winter months
- Plant wildflowers now if you want blooms in the spring
- Plant cole crops, garlic, peas, and celery
- Plant hearty cool weather annuals like pansies
- Plant perennials
- Harvest all remaining crops to stay ahead of the frost
- Add mulch to your root veggies to help them hold out for a winter harvest
- Pick green tomatoes before the frost
- Reduce watering to prepare plants for dormancy
- Plant new shrubbery and trees; mulch around the base of previously planted trees or shrubs
- Clean up the garden and prepare the soil for the next growing season
- Tend to your compost by turning it and adding more material
- Plant new shrubbery and trees
- Sow lawn seed
- Divide and replant perennials to give them more space
- Sow hearty greens in cold frames for a later harvest
- Prepare your garden soil for the next growing season by adding more nutrients to it and tend to compost
- Test soil and address nutrient deficiencies
- Bring houseplants indoors
- Harvest potatoes and onions
- Harvest all crops before the onset of frost
- Clean up garden, plant cover crops to protect soil, and amend the soil as needed
- Harvest garden before the onset of frost
- Clean up garden; remove any dead plants, debris, and weeds
- Plant beets, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, onions, radishes, spinach, lettuce, and turnips
- Mulch garden beds to deter weeds from growing and protect the soil
- Fertilize your lawn
- Divide crowded perennials and replant where there’s more space
There is a lot that needs to be done around your yard and garden during September. But these chores and your hard work will ensure you have a harvest of the heartier vegetables, and also take care of your garden over the colder months.
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