A list of easy September garden chores and tasks you can do for fruits and vegetables, flowers, and general yard tasks to get ready for the fall season. Includes a printable checklist to download and customize!
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Ah, September! The days turn golden and the harvest is plentiful. This is a month we really get to enjoy the bounty of our gardens.
Fall arrives this month so if you live in an area where you can plant things like lettuce, cabbage and kale for fall harvests, then it's time to clean up and make sure there's room for those transplants - and soon, since that should be done in the first half of the month (at this point, it's too late for seeds, so you'll need transplants).
Want all my best vegetable gardening tips and techniques to keep it simple and manageable? (Yes, it CAN be done!)
September for us in the Pacific Northwest and similar areas is also a big preserving month - and putting up the garden produce is one of our biggest garden chores.
It's also a time we can glean wild fruit from trees or neighbor's gardens - think blackberries growing along the roads and wild apple trees perfect for juice and sauce.
Because of this I concentrate on getting the produce harvested and preserved this month, leaving any major garden clean up for next month.
Of course, it's also time to plant a few mums to see us through the fall and to decorate with cute pumpkins!
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Garden Chores for September
Vegetable & Fruit Garden
- Harvest every other day and preserve by freezing, canning, and drying.
- Mulch around strawberries to protect from cool weather.
- Clean up the veggie patch, pulling spent crops. Be sure to gather all plant debris—stem, leaf and fruit bits. Don’t compost diseased or buggy plants, discard or burn them instead.
- In areas with mild seasons, plant a short row of lettuce every two weeks until October.
- Add organic matter to the garden bed before planting winter transplant crops like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, garlic, carrots and beets.
- Plant garlic now through October that will grow through the winter and be ready to harvest next spring. Plant individual cloves 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart in full sun and well-drained soil.
- Cure winter squash so they will store well into winter: place squash on elevated screens in a sunny spot for 10 days. If nights threaten frost, carry squash indoors for the night.
- Take a last picking of any herbs to dry.
- Plant cover crops (peas, oats, annual rye grass and crimson clover) on any empty winter garden beds.
- As the season closes, the tomatoes that won’t ripen on the vine can be harvested to ripen indoors or used in recipes (this is the best way I've found to ripen tomatoes indoors).
- Start saving seeds for next year's garden. The key to successful seed-saving is to make sure the seeds are completely dry before you store them.
- Plant fall annuals like pansies and violas and replant garden containers with mums and cabbages.
- Buy bulbs for spring blooms now to get the best selection - daffodils, tulips, etc., - but wait for cool weather to plant if it's still hot in your area.
- September is a good time to divide and replant perennials like irises and daylilies.
- Mulch can help your perennial beds go through fall in good shape - if previous mulch has gotten thin, add more to keep weeds from sprouting and to protect plants' roots during the coming winter.
- You can take cuttings of coleus, begonias, geraniums and other annuals to overwinter: pot them up after roots develop and place them in a sunny window before planting outdoors again next spring (= free plants next year!).
- Continue to deadhead flowers of perennials and annuals as they bloom and fade to keep them blooming through the fall.
- Fall is a good time to buy and plant trees, shrubs and perennials. It's almost better than spring - planting now encourages good root development and gives the plants a chance to get established before the spring growing season and hot summer next year.
- Start raking leaves or mow over them by attaching a grass catcher bag to the mower you can collect a ready supply of chopped leaves that to layer into a compost pile or use as mulch on your vegetable garden.
- Shorter days and cooler daytime temperatures reduces the amount of water your lawn needs - cut back your sprinkler time by 25%.
- September is one of the best months of the entire year for seeding or sodding new lawns. It is also a good time to over seed an old lawn with new lawn seed to help fill-in the bare spots and crowd out weeds and mosses.
Make This Year's Garden A Success!