The angels have arrived! The above picture is of the first bloom of the Angel Trumpet plant, aka Brugmansia candida. I just love these plants even though they have not been hardy for me. I will always garden with them. My dear friend Geri dug this one from her garden last year and delivered it to me. It is an outstanding plant standing over six feet tall and full of blooms. I thought I'd share it here with you. I did post on the one I grew last year, but sadly it did not return. This one will be dug this year only because I have to move it anyhow. But I am going to try to overwinter the other two outside by placing a heavy bag of compost on the roots, and circling the plant with a cage of leaves stuffed really tightly. Wish me luck!
This month sees the returns of rains for us in September and moderation of temperatures. Fall is the ideal time to plant and work in the garden. Fall is also my favorite season of the year. I would much rather rake in the fall garden than plant in the spring garden anyday.
This is a few of the tasks I expect to do this month. If anyone would like to add to it-please do. I have added the previous suggestions made through the comment section to the applicable month and will continue the tradition. My goal is to have a comprehensive, tried and proven list of to do chores for gardeners in my area to complete or expect to complete each month. Now if I could just work on that list of blooming plants. But that is another story.
1) Continue to harvest vegetables. All vegetables should be going strong well into October here in my Zone 6/7 garden. I generally do not harvest gourds until the first light frost or until the vines have died back. I would not expect to remove any vegetables from my garden until October when our first hard freeze is expected. Don't be afraid to pull non-producing plants and replace with some fall crops. I have pulled zucchini, but also cukes might be giving up the fight, and other squashes.
2) Continue to plant your fall crop. Some crops you may wish to plant include: lettuce, radishes, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, arugula, and beets. I plant onions and garlic in October, but it would probably not harm anything to plant them late this month.
3) Plant any potted mums you have growing. Mums and all perennials need a bit of moderate temperatures in order to start growing in the fall prior to winter arriving. They should have some new growth, however, just because the top is killed back by frost does not mean the roots will not continue to grow in the soil. Soil temperatures must be quite cold in order to stop action for the plant. That is why it is okay to plant shrubs in the winter-as long as the ground is not frozen or below 40-45 degrees.
4) Continue to mow your lawn. I mow mine at the summer height until late mid month or until the rains return regularly.
5) Overseed cool season grasses mid month. Fescue often needs overseeding each year to remain thick and healthy. Fescue should never be seeded in the spring, fall is the ideal time to seed. Always aerate before seeding.
6) Begin planting winter annuals like pansies, and hardy kale for fall/winter interest. The pansies will awaken in the spring and put on a great show.
7) I am beginning to prepare to bring in my houseplants. I prefer to do this slowly all through September so that I don't have a big rush all at once. It will not hurt plants to come in early. Be sure you don't bring any unwanted guests in by watering very well and allowing the water to drain out of the pot. Check for frogs and toads.
8) Like PGL, you should order bulbs, seeds and starts early. In other words-plan now for your spring garden and order early.
9) Stop pruning plants. Any pruning done now will stimulate more growth. You do not want this as the new growth might not have a chance to harden off before a freeze comes in. This is what happened last spring when tender new growth was zapped by the late freeze. The late freeze was not the problem! It was the early and warm spring that caused plants to break dormancy early, thus resulting in tender new growth that got hit hard. So don't prune and cause the same thing to happen in the fall.
10) Start removing spent foliage and cleaning beds. Tidy up all beds and add compost. My vegetable garden gets about 1 inch or so of fresh compost on it in the fall each year. I firmly believe this is why the ph and nutrients are ideal in the vegetable bed. I just wish I could make enough to cover all garden beds.
11) Soil test. I cannot stress this enough! It is vitally important! How can you garden without knowing what you have to grow your plants in? It is like cooking with brown sugar instead of white sugar. Both are sugar and could work, but would it be the same and provide the right taste or nutrients as in the case with soil? So soil test. You will not regret it.
12) Collect seeds for use in the garden next year. Some seeds I collect are: dill, cosmos, and cleome.
13) Prune back rampant annuals like sweet potato vine. (Thanks Les!)
14) Divide and replant your perennials. Some favorites I like to move and divide are: hostas, daylillies, irises, brown eyes, coneflowers, and sedum. You should have all cuttings planted that you have been growing since the spring and early summer. Some I have planted are: mums, sedum, and veronica. These will do well if planted now over the winter. My cutting mums should even bloom this year. (Thanks PGL!)
15) Take cuttings of plants you want starts of next year. I do the following: lantana, brugmansia, artemisia, coleus, hydrangeas, pineapple sage, amsonia, and that is all I can think of for now!
16) Collect heirloom vegetable seeds such as tomatoes. (See comments below for the method of collecting these seeds-thanks TC!)
If anyone else has some to do things they do in their garden in September, please let me know and I will add it in. We are in Zone 6/7 here in Middle Tennessee. Thanks!
Happy Labor Day to everyone!
in the garden....