A Gardener’s To-Do List
Gardener’s To-do list: It’s not quite harvesting time, but September is still a great month for those of us with veggie gardens. Potatoes, marrows, and onions all come into their own at this time of year, and it’s also the perfect time to pick apples – particularly if you’re growing McIntosh, Honeycrisp or Empire varieties.
It’s not all about the fruit and veg though: September is also the best possible time to start planting out your borders with hardy, spring-blooming bulbs like snowdrops, tulips or daffodils.
There is lots to be done to the lawn too, and there’s even a little bit of planting for those of us who are feeling adventurous and want to see some fresh color come October/November.
When all’s said and done, September’s a month for preparing; a time to focus on laying the groundwork for future beauty. But it’s also a great time to get out there and get stuck in your garden, and it’s certainly one of the more rewarding months for those of us that like to tackle big projects
1. Harvesting Veggies
As mentioned above, September is the perfect time to pull up any onions that you’ve been growing. It’s also the perfect time to pick tomatoes, runner beans, and rhubarb. All of these vegetables have grown as big as they’re going to get, and harvesting them now means that you’ll be able to enjoy them at their ripest.
September’s also the best time to pull up any potatoes. They should be flowering by now and leaving them in any longer increases the risk of slug damage.
2. Replacing ragged annuals
On the subject of harvesting, you may have noticed that a fair few of your annuals are looking a little ragged now that the best months of summer have passed. This is the perfect time to pluck them out of your borders and neaten up in preparation for the cooler weather.
Don’t worry about things looking bare either; there are plenty of things to plant in their stead. Chrysanthemums, Goldenrod, and Japanese Anemone are all great examples of flowers that thrive in fall weather, and they’re all quite forgiving too.
Plant a few different varieties and you’ll be guaranteed a spectacular show that should last right through to November, even here in Michigan!
3. Planting Spring-blooming bulbs
Many flower bulbs can be planted in September. This includes popular choices like Tulips, and some of our personal favorites, like snowdrops and daffodils.
The bulbs will lie dormant in the winter months and then burst into life come early spring – providing a little bit of color long before most perennials are ready to start flowering.
If you plant a few different types of spring-blooming bulb, you can even create a staggered effect; ensuring a cascade of semi-permanent color that’ll last from March through to June, when your regular favorites are coming into their own.
It’s good to get your bulbs in the ground nice and early too – after all, there’s nothing worse than waiting until the first frosts have set in, and finding that you’ve got to dig through half-frozen soil to get them planted.
4. Feeding your lawn
It might sound counterintuitive, but September’s also the perfect time to apply some lawn feed. Liberal use of a specially-formulated, fall fertilizer will help to repair a lot of the damage done over the summer months and winterize your grass; giving the roots a bit of a boost so that they’re capable of withstanding the vagaries of a real Michigan winter.
If there’s a lot of thatch down, you may also consider scarification, although this is a bit more risky, as it damages the grass and there might not be quite enough good weather left to guarantee a full recovery.
5. Cover your pond
This one’s fairly self-explanatory: Most ponds don’t fare well if they’re left uncovered all winter. They’re a magnet for falling leaves and some species of cold-resistant algae tend to flourish in the gloomy months of mid-winter. As such, we’d always recommend covering your pond in September and leaving it covered until you’re ready to enjoy it again in March/April.
6. Plant the last of your cold-season vegetables
Finally, September’s the last chance that you have to sow any cold-season vegetables – Most of which you’ll be able to harvest in late November/early December.
It might seem counterintuitive to plant vegetables at this time of year, but trust us, spinach, broad beans, carrots and even some strains of asparagus will thrive in the early months of fall, and getting them in the ground now means that you’ll have a steady supply of home-grown produce all year round.
September’s a great time to plant any garlic bulbs too. They’ll lie dormant over winter, and start growing again come spring.
If you have any questions about fall-friendly flowers, or you want to know more about any of the tips listed here, do please get in touch! We’re always happy to offer help to anyone that shares our passion for gardening, and we’d love to hear from you. Just drop us a message via the contact form on our site and one of our team members will get in touch.