September feels different. The kids are back to school and the change in light seems to signal that autumn is on the horizon. Many plants in the garden have signaled that they, too, are ready to call it quits. September is the month to get caught up in the garden. Here’s what to do!
Posts may contain affiliate links, which allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep costs down so that I can continue providing high quality content to you for free. I appreciate your purchase through the links! (full disclosure)
15 Minutes a Day
Can 15 minutes a day keep the doctor away? Spending a minimum of 15 minutes in the garden each day is an important component of this “in the garden” series. What does that have to do with doctors? It’s a hot topic right now that stress weighs heavily on the state of our health.
Not only do we have the stressors of jobs, family schedules, and finances, but we also have the stressors of keeping up with things that are supposed to be healthy. Like that exercise class you pay for but haven’t been to in a couple of months.
Or the garden you started in the backyard because it seemed like a good idea in the spring, but now is an eyesore.
Success, Not Stress
Keeping up with the garden by spending 15 minutes a day allows you to keep up with something you know is good for you, without actually having the time! Committing to a daily 15 minutes allows you to feel like you succeeded not only at gardening, but at time management, too.
Don’t underestimate the healthy benefits of spending a few minutes disconnected from your phone and computer, outside in the sun and fresh air, connected to dirt. It really can make a difference.
Note: The following advice is based on my experience in USDA hardiness zone 6a. Your experience may be different depending on your climate.
The Fall Garden
Most of the fall garden has already been planted or sown, but don’t despair if you didn’t get much planted. Important for future garden success is decluttering–so to speak–while you’ve got a little breathing room. There’s still plenty to do, focusing on harvesting, cooking, preserving, weeding, and general clean-up.
Harvest in September
Prioritize the harvest, food preparation, and preservation–don’t let that harvest go to waste!
- Herbs: basil, calendula, chamomile, chives, echinacea, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, nasturtium, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, sunflower, thyme
- Here’s how to prune, store, and use fresh basil
- Here’s how to make healing calendula oil and here’s how to use the oil to make a soothing salve with calendula and lemon balm
- Here are my tips for using and preserving chives
- Here’s how I use oregano
- You might think about bringing your potted rosemary inside when the weather gets cool.
- Here are a few suggestions for using thyme
- Wanna make some nice gifts? Try making a tincture, elixir, or herbal vinegar.
- Alliums: garlic + onions (cure for 2 weeks before storing), leek
- Beet family: beets, beet greens, spinach, swiss chard
- Cabbage family: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, radish, turnips
- carrots, celery
- cucumber, melon, summer & winter squash
- Check out my tips for harvesting and using cucumbers
- Consider making cucumber watermelon salad or cucumber chips
- A few more ideas for using and preserving cucumbers and zucchini
- One of my favorites: Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes
- Winter squash ideas: How to cook butternut squash + recipes ideas
- Legume family: beans, peas
- Nightshade family: eggplant, okra, peppers, potatoes (cure for 2 weeks before storing), tomatoes
- Here are some tips for freezing peppers and drying them
- Here’s how to freeze tomatoes in small batches
- Here are more tips for using and preserving tomatoes and peppers
- sweet potatoes
Garden Maintenance in September
- Watch out for beneficial insects such as ladybug/lacewing larvae, and garden spiders.
- Do you have large black and yellow garden spiders? Here’s more about these beneficial insects.
- Collect flower and herb seeds.
- Cut spent herbs and flowers or leave seed heads to feed the birds through the winter. I like to cut back herbs and use them as fertilizer.
- Remove diseased plant matter and dispose in garbage.
- Water & weed.
- Prune black raspberries. (Here’s how I do it.)
- Red radish (I like cherry radish)
- If you have clay soil, consider growing daikon radish as an edible cover crop that will loosen your soil over winter.
Have you given up for the year, or are you preparing to have a great fall garden?