September feels different. The kids are back to school and the change in light seems to signal that autumn is on the horizon. September is for harvesting, preserving, and seed saving as well as tidying up for winter. Here are some ideas for managing your garden this month.
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Last month, we prioritized harvesting and preserving summer garden crops while planting the fall garden. Many gardens start winding down this month so it’s not quite as hectic as August. Following are some ideas for prioritizing what to do in the garden in September.
Remember, these September garden tasks are based on my gardening in USDA hardiness zone 6a. You may need to make adjustments for your climate.
1. September Harvest
Prioritize the harvest, food preparation, and preservation—don’t let your harvest go to waste!
Harvesting Cool Weather Crops in September
- Beets (Don’t forget to harvest and use the greens!)
- Brussels sprouts
- Turnips (Greens are super tasty, too)
- Garlic (Learn when to harvest and how to store garlic)
- Onions (Cure for 2 weeks before storing)
- Potatoes (Also cure for 2 weeks before storing)
- Swiss chard
Harvesting Warm Weather Crops in September
- Cucumbers (Here are my tips for harvesting and using cucumbers)
- Summer & winter squash
- Sweet potatoes (Here’s how to harvest, cure, and store sweet potatoes)
Harvesting Herbs in September
- Calendula (Use dried calendula to make a healing oil)
- Chives (Check out these tips for using and preserving chives)
- Lemon balm (Try making a tincture, elixir, or herbal vinegar)
- Oregano (Here are my tips for using oregano)
- Rosemary (Learn how to keep your potted rosemary alive over the winter)
- Thyme (Here are a few suggestions for using thyme)
Harvesting Perennial Crops in September
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2. September Planting
Here are the planting tasks that I typically focus on this month. Don’t forget I’m gardening in USDA hardiness zone 6a – you may need to make adjustments for your climate.
Sowing Seeds Outside in September
- 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.
Getting Ready for October Planting
- October is the time to plant garlic (Music hardneck variety is one of my favorites), fruit trees, berry bushes, and rhubarb, so order them now!
3. September Garden Maintenance
There’s lots of maintenance to do in the garden over the next few months. Start in September so you’re not overwhelmed this winter!
- Cut spent herbs and flowers or leave seed heads to feed the birds through the winter.
- 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.
- Remove diseased plant matter and dispose in garbage.
- Cut back herbs and use them as fertilizer.
Many varieties of brambles (i.e., red raspberry, blackberry, black raspberry) require a fall pruning. Here’s how I prune my black raspberries.
Be sure to store your seeds properly.
Watering & Weeding
- Proper watering can make all the difference in your garden. If you want to learn more, check out How to Grow More Vegetables—it’s chock-full of useful information, including lots of details about watering.
- Don’t let the weeds drive you crazy! Here are five weeds you want in your garden.
Is your garden season coming to an end, or are you preparing to have a great fall garden?