Monthly Gardening Guide – September
Welcome to your Monthly Gardening Guide for September! Below you will find information on what I will be doing, (or trying to do) for the month of September. These are goals, not standards and some months I am on top of it and other months I blow it. But somehow, and thankfully, the garden is forgiving. Your garden to-do list may look different than mine, and that is okay. Perhaps you will glean something from my list and please, if you have any suggestions, opinions or tips & tricks feel free to contact me! I would love to hear from you. Now, let’s get our hands dirty and get growing!
September in Texas is our tipping point. After Labor day we can begin to see night time temps drop a little, maybe even into the upper 60’s. We start having more upper 80-low 90’s during the day and we end up getting some more rain. September is a good month, a good beginning to the Fall Garden.
Our Main goals this month is planting our fall/winter crops. It’s still warm enough to get a quick crop of Okra, Cowpeas, Squash, maybe Tomatoes and maybe Cucumbers. But our focus will be on Brassicas, Collards and Greens of all kinds. Next month we will start planting our Lettuces in full force and also our beets and turnips.
Keep mulching and check your irrigation this month. Don’t forget to fertilize your plants.
Keep amending your soil and mulching so you have a good foundation. Start thinking and planning where to locate your bulbs this year and improve those areas with a good dose of bone meal. Bulbs go into the ground next month or the latest the first couple of weeks of November before frost. Yes, it’s getting to be that time of year again. Bye, bye 100’s!
Make sure you have placed your garlic order. Here in North Texas we like to plant in the fall for harvest next year. Chill them a little in the bottom drawer of your refrigerator and plant mid November. Same with your onions.
Here are some great links to Dixondale Farms for superior onions and garlic:
We have lots to cover this month – it’s a busy one.
Trees & Shrubs: Fall is the best time to plant new trees and shrubs. This includes fruit trees too. Shrubs are great this time of year, you can see the color of the leaves!
It’s Perennial time. Here is some great information all about Perennials in Texas from Texas A&M University – Outstanding Perennials in Texas.
Spring flowering Perennials: Dig and divide your spring bloomers. But wait till later in the month. Give extras to friends, they will love you.
Fall flowering Perennials: Fall-flowering perennials as they are sold in nurseries, including Mexican bush sage, Mexican mint marigold, mums and Gregg’s mistflower.
Spring Bulbs: Plant them now and don’t forget to add bone meal, and make a graph of where you planted what. Trust me on this one. Jonquils, Tulips, Daffodils etc.
Fall Bulbs: Fall-flowering bulbs as you find them in nurseries. List includes spider lilies, fall crocus, oxblood lilies and naked lady lilies.
Wildflowers (for the bees and butterflies) including acid-scarified bluebonnets for best germination. Plant into dedicated wildflower spaces where you do not have lawn.
Cool Season Color – yay! Mums are NOW, Pinks, snapdragons, ornamental cabbage and kale later in the month. Wait till October for pansies, it’s too hot in Texas.
Here is some great information from Texas A&M University on Seasonal Color…Care and Management
Veggies Galore: What you can plant is anything that will grow in 60-90 days which also includes some heat loving veggies too. We will still be hot enough until the middle of October.
Here’s a general list:
- Plant Veggies: Plant kale, spinach, lettuce, radishes, beets, bok choy, cabbage, greens, carrots, turnips, and parsnips. Transplant seedlings of broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. These cole crops prefer to be transplanted instead of started by seed.
- Protect fall veggie transplants with shade cloth if a heatwave is expected. September temperatures can fluctuate wildly. Keep transplants and seed beds well-watered. Always water in the morning. Waiting until evening puts plants through unnecessary stress.
What will I be planting? All the brassicas including Kale, Brocolli, Cabbage and Cauliflower. I also snuck in some cucumbers and green beans. My cowpeas and okra are coming along. I should get some harvest out of them. We will end up having an “Indian Summer” so it will be ok. I also have some squash that think they want to grow.
Here are a couple of good articles from Burpee on these amazing veggies you just have to include in your garden:
Videos on growing Broccoli and Cabbage:
- Prune your lawn. Keep mowing even when it looks like its dead y’all. It needs it. Remember when we prune it sends signals to the plant to grow more roots (foundation) and then top growth – new grass. Also, feed and WEED those lawns THIS MONTH or you will have weeds in the spring. More below.
- Perennials. Dead head, dead head and dead head. Cut large overgrown perennials back by at least 1/3. You will probably get another small flush of growth for the fall.
- Native trees and shrubs that have gotten overgrown and wild need to be pruned now. Also root prune prior to planting these plants in-ground prior to winter.
One of our LOCAL and amazing nurseries is Shades of Green.
Check out their Pruning Chart below:
- Lawns, trees and shrubs: All nitrogen for clay soils and a high nitrogen (4-1-2) for sandy soils.
- All your FALL flowering plants, use high nitrogen.
- Iron deficient plants (yellowing of leaves) last call to give them some love with iron/sulfur combo.
- CRITICAL TIMING FOR PRE-EMERGENTS:
- For cool season weeds, apply your pre-emergent the first week of September, right at or after Labor day. Do not miss this or you will have weeds spring up in the spring!
- Because Texas has a long growing season you will need to “booster shot” your pre-emergent 90 days after this first application for it to be truly effective for you.
- For your warm season weeds (those that pop up in the summer) you need to apply 1-2 weeks before the LAST KILLING FROST which in our area of North Texas is Mid to late March.
- Apply pre-emergent granules of Halts, Dimension or Balan to prevent germination of winter grasses including annual bluegrass (Poa annua), rescuegrass or ryegrass. You only get this one chance to deal with these grassy weeds. Once they germinate there is no product that will eliminate them without doing harm to your permanent turfgrass. This application must be made within the next several days. See related story last week.
• Gallery pre-emergent granules in separate application to prevent broad leafed weeds such as henbit, chickweed, dandelions and clover. If you miss this treatment you can apply a broad leafed weed killer spray containing 2,4-D to kill existing non-grassy weeds in November or early December.
The Look Out For’s & To-do’s
- Winter weeds: See above for your schedule for pre-emergent weed duty
- Fire ants: Apply one of the long term baits for long term control. Also use individual mound treatments or granules.
- Webworms in pecans, walnuts, mulberries, persimmons and others. Remove webs as soon as you see them.
- Pests on patio plants: You may start seeing scale, mealybugs, spider mites or others. Control them with natural sprays such as this one from Gary Pilarchik at The Rusted Garden. He has a great book out: The Modern Homestead Garden Here is his recipe for aphids and spider mites. He recommends shooting them forcefully with water all over the plant first. Then using the spray. It has peppermint essential oil in it.
- Under 80 degrees: 1-2 tsp Peppermint essential oil to 1 gallon of water. Spray 1-2 times a week.
- Over 80 degrees: 1 teaspoon of Peppermint essential oil to 1 gallon of water. Spray 1-2 times a week.
Monthly Gardening Guide Check-list for September
- Plant your veggies by seed.
- Plant your veggies by transplant.
- Succession sow for greater possible yield.
- Refurbish your soils.
- Mulch, mulch, mulch.
- Check your water and timing, things change.
- Use shade cloth for baby transplants you set out, it’s still hot in Texas.
- Plant flowers, bulbs and wildflowers.
- Plant fruit trees, shade trees berries and perennials
- Use natural solutions for what little pests we have now. The beauty of a fall garden.
There are flowers enough in the summertime,
More flowers than I can remember—
But none with the purple, gold, and red
That dye the flowers of September!
–Mary Howitt (1799–1888)
May you find joy & wonder in your garden and may your hands always be dirty,
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