Let’s Talk About September

by Pat Cordray

It may be September for y’all, but the whole month of August I kept thinking it was September. So I am really disappointed that it is not October, humph.  Oh well, September it is.  September is a great gardening month, I will get over it.  Lots to do out in the garden with just a teensy-weensy bit less heat.

September is a time for change, the days are getting shorter and the seasons will follow with that brief respite we call “fall”, I am so looking forward to that.  This is the time of year, if you want spring flowers to grow in your garden, to plant the seed.  The fall bulbs will start to arrive in the nursery along with fall color plants, and more fall vegetables.  This is also prime time for hummingbirds to be in our area.  See, lots of fun gardening to do.

Planting seed is an easy way to add color to your garden.  If you are thinking of beautiful poppies, nasturtiums, hollyhocks, bluebonnets, sweet peas, or larkspur, now is the time to plant the seed.

Seeds are living, they respire just like us.  Place seeds in a cool dry place until you are ready to plant.   Before you are ready to plant, check the information on the seed packet for any special instructions for that particular plant.  Follow those instructions for best germination.  Inspect your seeds, broken seeds will not germinate, so don’t waste your time planting them.  I like to use a thin layer of worm castings to plant my seeds in.  The seed has all the energy it needs to germinate but it will need help when the first two leafs unfold (cotyledons) and worm castings will gently fertilize your new plants.  Keep your seeds moist by gently watering them, too much water pressure will cause your seeds to wash away.

Bulbs will start arriving in the nursery about the middle of this month.  We are expecting Ice Follies, Red Devon, Salome, Sempre Avanti, Lemon Beauty, Apricot Whirl, Erlicheer, Tahiti, and Pitpit narcissus.  Blue Ribbon and Mauve Queen Dutch Iris, Mixed Ranunculus, White Calla Lilies, Blue Delft Hyacinths and Leucojum aestivum.  Oh no, I almost forgot the Tulips.  We will be getting Golden Apeldoorn Tulips in the first shipment.  A little later in the month we are expecting to get more bulbs.   At this time we should receive World’s Favorite Tulips plus red and yellow Lycoris, Flower Carpet Daffodils, Ziva paperwhites and Monal Narcissus.

Bulbs are easy to grow here, all you need is a raised bed under a deciduous tree, or plant them in containers and they will be happy.  You can plant them in groupings to get the biggest show, or you can mix them together and toss them, then plant them where they fall.  You can even force the narcissus and the hyacinths inside for fragrant flowers all season.  The Tulips and the hyacinths will need to be refrigerated for 4-6 weeks at about 45 degrees before planting.  For more information on growing bulbs we have a class to help you decide which bulbs will work for your garden and how and when to plant them.  On Saturday, November 19, we have The Bulb Class with Margaret Cherry. Margaret Cherry is an expert on bulbs in for our area.   She even trials them in her own garden. You will also get to plant a pot of bulbs to take home.  How fun is that?

It is time to get that vegetable garden rockin’.  In real-estate, there are 3 important terms to remember before purchasing property, location, location, location.  In vegetable gardening, there are also 3 essentials to remember, Soil, Sun & Water.  When these 3 essentials are right, plants will thrive, have fewer pests and diseases, and will produce more for you.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  Good soil in a raised bed or container is the first essential, plants need good drainage.  The second essential is the right amount of sun for the vegetables you are growing, most plants need full sun to produce well.  Finally, there is regular water, think of your vegetable plants as pets, you wouldn’t skip watering them for a couple of days.

What vegetables to plant now?  Here is a list to help you with that:

Beans Beets Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Carrots
Cauliflower Collards Cucumber
Mustard Greens Peas Potatoes
Radish Spinach Onion

Grow what you like to eat.  Also, check out the When to plant Vegetable planting guide.

If you haven’t noticed there is a Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening class on September 3rd.  So, if you want more information on vegetable gardening this is the class for you.

Fall color is already arriving in the Nursery.  Dianthus, marigolds, and petunias are here with lobelia and snapdragons following close behind.  Towards the middle and end of September violas, ornamental kale & cabbages, bluebonnets, celosia, phlox, and bellis should be in.  When the weather cools a little more pansies, sweet peas, nasturtiums, and cyclamen will be ready.  These are just a few of the fantastic colors plants that will be available for you to make your garden vibrant.

Remember to watch for hummingbirds this month.  August through October are prime time for these beautiful birds to be in our area.  If you want them in your garden, then plant for them.  Check out my article in last month’s Newsletter for a list of plants to include in your garden that will attract them.

September is a great gardening month!