I sometimes think that if months were siblings, September would be my favorite — especially when it comes to the garden. The high heat of mid summer is past and I can take my time puttering, cleaning up beds, planting for winter and harvesting the best summer has to offer.
Tomatoes are at their peak, basil and other herbs are free for the taking, and green beans are overflowing. No matter how small the garden, there is fresh eating every day.
September is a time to balance garden chores with harvesting, eating and preserving. It’s also a time to thoroughly enjoy flowers. In fact, I was just reminded that, while I love Echinacea in mid-summer I love it even more as summer turns to fall. I leave some to frame the garden and keep pollinators coming and bring what I can inside along with other flowers to brighten rooms. Ultimately, I love to find any way possible to bring the outside in and to strengthen the nature/nurture connection — flowers and fresh food are some of the most gratifying.
September Garden Chores:
- Tidying up strawberries, clipping runners and separating daughter plants from mother plants. I’ll move as many mother plants as possible out to the yard or pass them along to friends and leave the daughter plants to flower and fruit in beds the following season.
- Fertilize crops such as zucchini and potted fruit trees with a liquid fertilizer. I generally make my own compost tea with aged manure, worm castings and sometimes fish emulsion. Use it as a foliar spray on tomatoes in the morning hours and add the rest to the plants that need it.
- Begin to plan and organize spring flowering bulbs.
- Harvest basil and other herbs in greater abundance. September is prime pesto month in our household and thyme is lovely with fresh garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper on nearly anything.
- Ferment, can and preserve the things you need a break from eating, like green beans. I love this recipe: Crunchy, Quick Pickled Spicy Green Beans.
- Try new recipes. In my mind, every day is a perfect day to try new recipes but it’s hard to go wrong with home grown veggies. Everything tastes amazing and you’ll feel like a chef extraordinaire. See Kitchen Garden Obsessed for ideas.
For a full list of my September garden chores see the article I wrote for Better Homes & Gardens: Gardening Must-Do’s: How to Make the Most of Your September Garden. It is the first in a series of garden life articles under the heading, “Gardening Must-Do’s”.
Related post: What is N-P-K?
Related post: Pickled Beets 3 Ways
Related post: Summer Harvesting Tips