This week and weekend it’s all about September Gardening. There are so many things to do this month that we’ve decided to make it a three day event. Today, it’s all about planting.
· Fall is a good time to select and plant trees and shrubs. Fall planting encourages good root development, allowing the plants to get established before spring. Plant deciduous trees on the south and west sides of buildings to provide summer shade and to allow the winter sun to warm the buildings.
· Plant spring-flowering bulbs from late-September to late-November. Add bone meal or bulb fertilizer into the planting hole, as you prepare the soil.
· In a well-prepared bed, seed radishes, spinach, mustard, collards, arugula, beets, broccoli, carrots and lettuce in early September for a fall crop.
· Plant new strawberry plants at the end of the month.
· Lightly till soil and plant wildflower seed mixes now for spring displays. The key to success is to make sure plants have enough time to germinate and establish before the first hard frost. That’s usually about eight weeks. They are naturally adapted to and benefit from fall rains and cold winter soils. Mixing wildflower seed with an equal or larger volume of sand will help you sow them more evenly.
· For areas left open until next planting, consider a cover crop to be turned under in the spring to help improve the soil.
· Winter pansies, snapdragons, pinks, flowering kale, flowering cabbage and fall mums may be planted now to give a little color to the garden when the summer’s flowers have faded away.
· Lift and divide crowded perennials. Amend the soil with organic matter before replanting. Set the divided plants back into the soil at their original growing depths, water well and mulch. Give extras to friends.
· Check to see if potted tropicals like hibiscus, allamanda, ixora or mandevilla need repotting before bringing in for the winter. Gently ease the root ball out of the pot. If the roots are visibly matted around the bottom or sides of the root ball, it is time to pot into a larger container.
· Cool-season turfgrasses, like Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue and creeping red fescue can be seeded September 1 until November 1. All established cool-season lawns should be fertilized once this month. Do not fertilize warm-season lawns (Bermuda and zoysia) now. Over-seed old lawns with fresh seed to help fill in the bare spots and crowd out weeds and mosses. If you over-seed your warm-season lawn with a temporary winter lawn grass like annual ryegrass, the optimum dates to do this are September 1 until November 1.
· Plant some spring-flowering bulbs in pots to enjoy over the winter. If you intend to force early blooming for the holidays, put your bulbs in the refrigerator now.