Garden to-dos for mid September

It’s coming! In just a few days we mark the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Are you ready? More importantly, is your garden ready?

After the warm months of summer and a productive growing season, gardeners are winding down by the time that September rolls in. While warm weather is still hovering around, days are getting shorter and brisker mornings and cooler nights are becoming more prominent.

September gardening tends to shift as annual plants are slowing down, summer veggies give their last push to finish off production, and the temperatures are dipping.

It’s time to jot down the successes and shortcomings of this garden season and start developing goals for next year.

Reflecting and planning ahead

I’ve always been a huge advocate for keeping a garden journal. Why? It can save you time and money as you plan for what your garden grows next season.

I recently misplaced my journal and it was like misplacing my keys or cellphone. I generally update my journal at least once a week and I missed it terribly. It was like those socks that are missing a mate or the Tupperware-type storage containers that are missing the bottom or the lid.

Thankfully, I finally found it and was able to update the state of everything in my garden.

Grab your garden journal and make a note of high-performing and underwhelming plant varieties. Add your favorites to your list to buy seeds or plants for next year.

Make some notes in your garden journal about the weather and how it impacted your garden this year. As we look back on August and the first couple of weeks of September with a little help from our Now Habersham weather expert, Tyler Penland, Cornelia records show temperatures slightly below average and rainfall almost double the average amount. If you are keeping track in your journal, August average rainfall is 5.40″ and we ended up with a whopping 9.20″ in the gauge. So far this month, temperatures and rainfall are continuing that trend.

Great fall selections

  • Decide which spring flower bulbs to plant this fall and buy them from garden centers when the selection is at its best.
  • It’s not too early to buy your seeds for spring if they are available.
  • Sketch and/or photograph your vegetable garden layouts and keep them in your garden journal. This way, you will know how to rotate your crops for next year.
  • Mums and ornamental kale provide a beautiful contrast of colors in the fall.

    Think about ways to add color and attract beneficial pollinators to your fall garden. Consider planting nasturtiums, marigolds, asters, cosmos, mums, and anemones.

  • Check back to your gardening wish list in your garden journal for any items that may be on clearance racks at the end of the summer season. Now is a great time to pick them up at a discount.
  • Consider what new perennials and shrubs you’d like to add to your landscape. Early fall is an excellent time for planting.

Start looking in garden centers and nurseries for replacements of annuals that are past their prime. Impatiens, caladiums, verbena, and geraniums may be fading but fall is prime time for pansies, mums, ornamental kale, and crotons will add a splash of fresh beauty from now until the first heavy frost.

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