Wednesday, August 26, 2015

September Garden & Yard Chores


Kale, Cauliflower, Celery, and Broccoli

In most zones September is the grand finale for the garden.  Whether you are seeking to extend the season or accelerate the final days of your garden, there are some important garden chores for early fall that will help ensure a better season next year.




Garden Chores & Harvesting:
  • Cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and squash are going strong.  Continue to harvest.
  • Watermelon, muskmelons, pumpkins, and winter squash  will continue maturing don't neglect the watering.
  • Harvests of corn and green beans are coming to a close

  • Beans grown for dried beans are still maturing
  • Dig potatoes
  • When onion tops fall over, harvest the bulb.  Let it cure in a dry, warm, well ventilated place in the shade.  Under a porch on a table works well
  • Continue harvesting root crops of beets and carrots
  • Order garlic bulbs to plant in mid October 

The Year Round Garden:
  • Prepare low tunnels or cold frames
  • Plant spinach, kale, and lettuce in the cold frame.  I prefer to start lettuce indoors and transplant out side
  • Put out transplants of broccoli
Keep landscape beds and garden beds free of weeds.

Clean Up:
  • After harvesting is complete, clean out bed and spread a layer of compost over the bed or row.
  • Or plant a cover crop or green manure.  A green manure is a crop grown early spring or late summer which is incorporated into the soil to add organic matter and fertility.  Good fall cover crops are buckwheat, which matures fast and will winter kill before it goes to seed, or Austrian peas which is a winter legume for warm climates.  Both crops would be incorporated into the soil 4 weeks before you plan on planting in early spring.
  • Clean up all plant debris especially diseased plants 
  • If any areas of your garden or landscape continually struggle and do poorly gather a soil sample and have it tested.  Contact the extension office to do this.
Continue to enjoy the beauty of the season.

Wage War on Weeds!

While your garden beds and flowers may be looking a bit tired, weeds seem to come on strong this time of year.  Like flowers, weeds can be annuals, biennials, or perennials.  Annual weeds are the easiest to control.  They have a one year life cycle.  Summer annuals sprout in the spring and go to seed in the fall.  Crabgrass, foxtail, pigweed,spurge, and lambsquarter are summer annuals that plague the vegatable gardener the most.  Hand pulling weeds in garden beds before they go to seed is extremely important. 


"One years seeds equals seven years of weeds"

If you struggle with a specific weed problem here is a link to look up cultural practices that may with help control the weed.  Nothing beats hand pulling and hoeing.




Dill seed

Saving Seeds:
  • Pick the seedpods and heads of any open pollinated flowers
  • Learn to save tomato seeds
  • Seeds from lettuce, beans, and peas that are open pollinated can be saved with little cross pollination
 
Seed pods from a collard that I overwintered.

In the flower garden:

  • Set out pansies, mums, and ornamental kale for fall color
  • Plant spring blooming bulbs in flower beds
  • Sow seed of next year's biennial flowers that need a cold winter to break dormancy such as forget-me-nots, sweet William, and foxglove.
  •  You still can plant perennials in early fall.  



Fall Orchard Care:
  • Keep all fallen fruit picked up.  Pigs or chickens enjoy this fruit
  • Maintain spray for codling moth until harvest
  • Mow understory
  • Apply compost
  • When 50-60% of leaves have fallen spray with fish with and neem.  Target the ground, trunk, and branches.  This is important for leaf decomposition. 
  • Remove any limb spreaders
  • Install tree guards on young trees
  • White wash trunk to prevent winter sun scald injury.  Use interior cheap latex paint mixed with water you can a  little neem.  Paint trunks and bottom of lower scaffolds 
  • Pick apples and pears as they are ripe
 
Gala apples.  The white film is kaolin clay which is an insect deterrent.


Sungold apples
 

Enjoy the early fall season and the harvests you have been blessed with. 

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