September Gardening Checklist

September is a busy time in the garden. The summer garden is still producing strong, the fall garden can still get planted and it is a good time to think about next year's garden. In our video, Tricia takes you through what she is doing in her September garden.

Improve Your soil with a fall cover crop

September is a good time to plant your fall cover crop. Planting in September allows enough time for the plants to get established before cold weather arrives. If you are buying raw cover crop seeds with legumes, make sure to get the right inoculant for the seed. All of our cover crops have the correct inoculant listed on the page description. You can watch our video on planting a cover crop for step by step instructions on seeding your garden.

Time to harvest your winter squash

Pick your ripe winter squash (especially if rain is in the forecast) and store in a cool dark location. If you are not sure how to tell if your squash is ripe, test by pressing your nail against the skin, it should not leave a dent if mature. The skin should be a full rich color and not have any soft spots. If it seems ripe but has soft spots, pick it and eat it right away, cutting away any of the area that may be soft. If harvesting for storage, leave about 3" of stem on the squash when cutting it off the vine. If your pumpkins are not quite ripe, help them out by removing leaves that shadow the fruits and slow down ripening. Place them onto boards to protect from damp soil.

Plant fall bulbs for a springtime blast of flowers

Now is a good time to plant spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, crocus or iris. Unsure how to do this? Watch our video on planting bulbs to see how!

Preserve your surplus fruit and vegetables

Surplus produce can be preserved by canning, fermenting, drying or freezing. We have quite a few videos and articles on food preservation at our Resource page at GrowOrganic.com. Got some large zucchini and not sure what to do with it, shred or grate them, squeeze out the excess liquid and freeze to use later in the year.

Time to think about ordering and planting garlic

Save space in your garden for garlic. If you live in a cold zones, plant just after the first frost or in mild winter zones, plant in October. Hardneck garlic varieties are a great choice for cold regions. In fact they need cold temperatures to produce plump bulbs the following summer. Softneck garlic varieties or elephant garlic are perfect for mild winter zones. Check out our video on growing garlic for more information.

Too many veggies and tired of preserving?

If you have filled up your refrigerator, pantry, freezer or root cellar with preserved veggies, don't let it go to waste. Consider donating excess produce to your local Food Bank, or Senior Gleaners.

Plant some onions or potatoes if you're in a mild winter zone

Onions sets or transplants can be planted in the fall in mild-winter regions. If you live in an area with cold winters, the best time to plant is in the spring. Plant some potatoes in the fall in mild regions as well. If you don't have much room in your garden, potatoes grow very well when planted in Smart Pots or using the Hugelkultur method. We have a great video on how to do this using our Geobin compost bin.

Extend your summer garden by adding some floating rowcover

The summer garden is still producing but the days are getting shorter and the nights, maybe a little cooler, protect your tender veggies with a layer of floating rowcover (Agribon). This is a great way to protect your plants and extend their growing season just a little longer.

Harvest and dry your herbs for winter use

Herbs are like basil, rosemary, oregano or thyme are so easy to dry and save for winter use. Basil is especially tender and it should be harvested before the cold weather hits. Dry it, make pesto, or freeze it (in ice cube trays).

Save some seed from your favorite plants

You can let some of your plants go to seed or allow some fruit to over-ripen and save the seed. Plants like okra, corn, beans, tomatoes, peppers, mustards, or some greens are easy to save seed. Watch our video on seed saving for more information.

Continue monitoring for pests and diseases in the garden

Monitor curcurbits for powdery mildew. Thin leaves to promote airflow and remove heavily damaged leaves. Treat with a fungicide labeled for powdery mildew, as needed. Check plants for spider mite damage. Rinse leaves with a sharp stream of water if present or treat with a miticide for heavily infested plants.

Take care of your cane berries

Prune raspberry canes after harvest and tie up new canes for support. If your blackberries are getting taller than their supports, prune them to the height that you like them to be and tie them to their support (fence or trellis).

Get ready for cold weather

Prep your greenhouse for the cold weather by cleaning it out and making room for any plants that need to be housed during the winter. Order your Agribon early to be ready for winter. Check out the schedule for our Early Buy program for up to 30% off (part numbers have an S at the end).

Plant cool season seeds for a fall/winter harvest

In mild winter areas think about planting cool season veggie seeds like greens, lettuce, peas, fava beans, kale, collards, carrots, beets or turnips. If you can find some transplants of broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower, put those into the garden—it might be too late to plant these by seed.

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