Sow, clean up, harvest, preserve, eat! That’s what we do in September.
The Mountain Gardener is a newsletter put out by the Buncombe County Master Gardeners program, part of NC Extension. Each month they include a list of garden chores specific to western NC, as well as a calendar of events, class information, and planting tips.
Here is the slightly adapted list of chores for this month:
• September is the best time to plant cool season grasses (fescues and bluegrass). When using hybrid fescue blends use 5 to 6 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet for new plantings. Use 2 to 3 pounds when overseeding thinned lawns.
• Do NOT fertilize shrubs. Late season nitrogen can reduce cold hardiness of woody plants.
• As soon as the weather cools down you can start removing summer annuals.
• Don’t neglect the roses. Reblooming varieties will rebound in the cooler weather and give you nice blooms in the fall if you have kept them healthy.
• Allow the amaryllis to dye down and put it aside to rest. It should be ready to begin growing again in November for a winter bloom.
• Crowded perennials can be divided. Some to divide now include daylilies, irises, phlox, yarrow and Rudbeckias.
• Move house plants indoors before temperatures drop below 50° F, check for insects first.
• This summer many gardeners had good crops of peaches and grapes, but also a lot of disease problems. To reduce problems next year do a good job of removing all plant debris—get mummified fruit out of the plant and pick up everything on the ground.
• Strawberries are forming next spring’s flower buds now. Fertilize, weed and water as needed.
• Plant the fall vegetables by mid-month. This includes broccoli, collards, and other leafy greens.
• Plant spinach and lettuce seeds every couple of weeks for a continual harvest.
• Dig sweet potatoes before frost.
• Start cleaning up the garden. As soon as plants are spent—squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans—remove from the garden
• By this time it is easy to let down your guard on pest control.
• Insects can be a problem with all of the cabbage family crops. A weekly application of B.t. bacteria spray will prevent cabbageworms [Bt is a natural , non-pathogenic bacterium that is found naturally in the soil]. Use insecticidal soap for aphids if needed.
• Keep filling the hummingbird feeder. Migrating birds will make use of the food supply even into October.