September in the garden


The hot, dry weather has slowed down the harvest of my tomatoes. The cucumber vines are ready to be pulled up. The birds have stripped my sunflowers of all their seeds. It is hard to believe that we are in the first days of September. Where did the summer go? The weeds continue to grow by leaps and bounds in the garden and flower beds.

It’s time to check September’s list of gardening tasks that includes:

· Continue watering your garden as needed during dry weather

· Continue collecting seeds for next year’s garden

· Continue checking regularly for signs of pests and diseases

· Continue weeding your beds

· Cover water gardens with netting to catch any falling leaves

· Water newly planted trees and shrubs once a week

· Cut back ragged-looking perennials

· Divide perennials

· Divide peonies

· Plant tulips

· Continue direct-seeding lettuce, endive and spinach

· Continue harvesting herbs

· Clean up areas of the vegetable garden that have finished producing

· Refresh containers with fall annuals such as asters, mums, flowering kale, cabbage, dried cornstalks, and gourds

· Continue composting

· Take a walk around your gardens and start making a “to do” list for next season – make notes about your successes as well as your failures

· If you have a cold frame, be sure to get it cleaned out and ready for direct-seeding of lettuce and spinach that you can enjoy in the colder months

· Gather fallen branches, tall grasses, berries – whatever you can find-then assemble them in a tall vase.

The herbs on my deck have certainly baked in the sun this season and will enjoy a few cool rainy days. Harvesting herbs is one of my favorite garden chores. After deciding to move all my herbs closer to the house, I find it less of a hassle to add fresh herbs to meals. This week the garlic chives have burst into bloom for a second time. My whiskey barrel is full of lemon thyme, onion chives (A. schoenoprasum), and garlic chives (A. tuberosum). The leaves of Garlic Chives taste more like a combination of chives and garlic and are more flat than round. The flowers begin to bloom begin to bloom in summer, in white, star-like clusters at the top of long, round stems which are strong and tough and not suitable eating. I enjoy blending the leaves of the Onion Chives and Garlic Chives, chopping them finely and adding them to omelets, steamed vegetables, salads, etc.

Some of my favorite herb books include Herb Gardening for the Midwest, Herbs, Their Cultivation and Usage, and A Grower’s Guide to Herbs. Also don’t forget to check the OSUE website,, for information on growing, selecting, storing, and using fresh herbs.

It’s almost time to pull out the Fall decorations and pot up some Catnip to bring in for Miss Kitty to enjoy this winter. Start making that “to do” list of things to accomplish before the first Frost – it will be here before we know it!

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