There’s much to do in the September garden!
by Terri Sonleitner Law
UC Master Gardener
Q. I’m unsure what gardening activities I should be doing now. Any suggestions? Sam S., Atascadero
A. September’s a great month in the garden and there’s plenty to do. Although some days may be summertime hot, days are shortening, shadows lengthen, and fall colors begin to appear in the landscape with the arrival of the Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd.
- Fall is our best planting season! Select healthy trees and other permanent plants, considering your site, drainage, and soil requirements. Consider selecting and planting California natives and be sure they have enough water until rains begin.
- You can plant fall-blooming perennials, such as asters, chrysanthemums, daylilies, and salvia, which add fall color to the garden and will be in good supply in September.
- Divide and replant spring-blooming perennials, such as bearded iris, that produced few flowers or were smaller than usual. Share the extras with friends and neighbors!
- Mulches decompose in the warm months, so it’s a good time to add more to the garden. It’s also a good time to check your watering system to make sure it’s working properly and not wasting water.
- Fertilize trees, shrubs, groundcovers, roses, and warm-season grasses.
- If your lawn is in bad shape due to drought stress, insects, weeds or other reasons, and you want to spruce it up, September is a great time to do so.
- A light pruning of roses will reward you with another round of lovely blooms once daytime temperatures have moderated.
- There is life after basil! Plant some perennial culinary herbs such as parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, or winter savory.
- The kitchen garden is a busy place. Continue harvesting summer crops. Many delicious and nutritious cool season vegetables can be planted now from seed or starts: beets, cabbages, carrots, kale, kolhrabi, lettuce, mesclun mixes, mustards, green onions, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips and rutabaga.
- Lastly, don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the warmth and renewal the changing seasons bring to your September garden.