September Gardening Calendar
The hot weather usually breaks in September but there are still hot days.
September is the month when we plant the seeds for vegetables that will mature a crop before cold weather arrives. Green beans, summer squash, beets, carrots, radishes and greens can be planted by seed this month. If you plant leaf lettuce remember that the seed must not be covered with soil. Just place it on the surface of a prepared area.
Prepare your soil for fall vegetables by adding one to two inches of compost, one cup of slow release lawn fertilizer per 50 square feet, till or hoe it together, rake it smooth and moisten the soil before planting.
It is late for tomato transplants but it may be worth the gamble. Seek out large transplants of fast maturing varieties like Surefire, Sun Pride, Tycoon, Heatwave, Solar Fire or Sweet Cherry (BHN 968).
The Tycoon variety is the only selection with resistance to tomato yellow wilt virus that was spread by whiteflies which flew off of the cotton fields last fall.
In the flower garden zinnias, vinca, moss roses, and purslane should perform well for another two months. Pentunias, snapdragons, stocks, dianthus, ornamental kale, and other cool weather annual transplants can be planted beginning late in the month. Wait, of course, on pansies and cyclamen for November.
It is time to do some minimal pruning on the hybrid tea roses to prepare them for the fall flush of growth and blooms. Remove dead or injured stems. You can also remove or reduce stems that have grown out of proportion to the rest of the plant, or that have grown across a path or your work area. Continue your weekly irrigation regimen, apply fertilizer (slow release lawn fertilizer works well), and resume your spray program. Acephate for insects and triforine for fungus works well. Organic gardeners can try sulfur products, neem oil and spinosad.
The tough modern roses like Knockout, Belinda’s Dream, and Katy Road (Carefree Beauty) benefit by the attention as well but can produce without pesticide sprays.
Lawn grass has taken a beating again this year. When the temperatures cool and the rains start, it will want to produce some roots and fill in. An application of “winterizer” fertilizer at the end of the month may help.
Be careful about irrigation in the fall. Brown patch is not likely to show up on a dry, thinned lawn but it can be a problem if the grass blades are wet going into cool evenings. Irrigate in the morning and do not overdo it.
It is not too late to apply a pre-emergent herbicide in early September to prevent the winter weeds like rescue grass, dandelions, thistle, annual bluegrass, rye, and bedstraw. Check the label for listing of the weeds you experience. Amaze or XL work well.
Keep your hummingbird feeders clean and full. The fall is the best time to observe them. Waves of ruby-throated and some rufous hummingbirds will join the black-chinned hummingbirds as they maneuver for an eventual migration south. Add a few containers of firebush and pentas to your patio to complement the sugar water feeders. The birds seem to like a mix of one part sugar to four parts water by volume.