Can you believe it, summer is coming to an end and September is already here again. September is probably the best time of the year here in the San Francisco Bay area, at least for me. With still pleasant and warm temperatures. turning leaves and dissipating heat, attending to your garden chores is a blessing. It is also a time for harvesting for those of us lucky enough to have an apple or pear tree, grapes, or corn. In addition, September is also the perfect time for planting bulbs for the spring and sowing seeds for winter vegetables or hardy annuals for the next year.
So, with that, let’s take a look at garden chores in September.
SOWING WINTER VEGETABLES
Perfect for salads, stir-fries, and a variety of other recipes. I can’t even imagine being without spring onions. Sow winter-hardy varieties such as Entertainer and White Lisbon this month for harvesting next spring. Sow them thinly in rows about 4″ apart and 0.3″ deep. Once the plants appear, thin them out to permit 8 – 10″ in between the plants.
Good salad varieties to sow this month are “late” varieties such as Radicchio, Rocket, Mizuna. Sow plenty of seeds now, as later sowings won’t germinate once temperatures begin to cool off. This would be a great project to get your kids involved with.
Spinach is loaded with nutrients and a wonderful alternative to your veggie plot. Spinach is quite hardy. You can harvest the young leaves for a salad, or pick the larger leaves for other food preparation. In addition to cooking with spinach, you can also use the leaves in smoothies and even freeze them to be used later. If you’re going to sow directly outdoors, do it while the temps are still warm. Once the temps are cooler the seeds might need protection in order to sprout. Spinach will do well in a warm area and with regular watering. Be sure to harvest to avoid going to seed.
What is a green salad without radishes? It can truly add some flavor and crunchiness to a salad, giving it another flavor profile. You can choose quick-maturing seeds like French Breakfast which can be ready to be harvested in under 4 weeks. The speed of growth makes them a fantastic option to grow with your kids. Conversely, you can sow winter-time varieties which will take 2-3 months to mature.
If you are like me, after consuming root vegetables all winter, being able to harvest fresh leafy vegetables such as cabbage is a real treat. If you intend to plant spring cabbage seeds straight into the ground, pick a sunny spot, and compact the dirt firmly as cabbage likes a firm anchor for their roots. Alternatively, you can plant seeds into trays and transplant them later. Cabbage unfortunately is susceptible to slugs and snails so be on the look-out. Great cabbage varieties are Durham early, Duncan, and Greensleeves.
Once you have strawberries you may never need to purchase another a plant because if you already have strawberries in your yard, you may have noticed that your plants have sent out runners. You can recognize them as long shoots, with a few leaves on them. Just secure the off-shoots down into the dirt or a pot of garden compost, where they will settle. As soon as they have rooted, you can cut them away from the parent plant.
HARDY ANNUALS FOR NEXT YEAR
You can make a start on several of next year’s plants this month. Sturdy annuals such as larkspur, poppies, and also cornflowers can be started from seed from late summer onwards. Sow the seed directly into the soil following instructions on the seed packet or sow into a seed tray for transplanting later.
Who doesn’t like wildflowers? They are cheerfully flowering with a wild abundance, just like nature intended. Wildflowers are a great addition for your garden and for the wildlife. Wildflowers offer food for pollinating insects, wild birds, and bats, and providing shelter for other small animals. Wildflowers are fast-growing, low-maintenance, help to regulate weeds, as well as look great. Sow them in a patch of soil or in a container. Just follow the direction on the packet the seeds come in.
SPRING BLOOMING BULBS
This is one of my favorite garden chores in September: Toward the end of September is the perfect time to plant some of the spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, and hyacinths. Planting bulbs now will burst your garden into bloom early spring. You can layer bulbs that will flower at various times for a prolonged display. But hold on a bit longer to plant tulips for they like cooler temperatures. It is recommended that you put the tulips bulbs into your fridge for a few days before you plant them later in October.
Keep raking up those fallen leaves and twigs and misc. other tasks as shown here.
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