Like last year, the summer has been a shift between periods of hot and cool weather. This year the extremes seem even more marked. The garden plants remain confused, some happy, some not. Only time will tell what the weather has in store for us as we move into autumn. For now, however, you can follow these September tips to keep your garden as healthy as possible. A well-tended, strong-growing garden is likely to resist damage in extreme weather.
September a good month for planting. Drought-tolerant plants and California natives will get a chance to settle in before nights chill down if you plant them now. If you are growing annuals, you can start replacing spent warm-season flowers with tougher pansies, stocks and impatiens.
If weather keeps swinging widely in temperatures, adjust your sprinkler systems accordingly. Replacing your sprinkler timer with a smart irrigation controller will save you much of the work. It will also adapt if we get any early rains. Keep an eye out for broken sprinkler heads. They can waste water and turn a lawn brown in a day or two of hot sunshine.
It’s time to collect remaining fruits and vegetables. Spend September storing roots in a cool, dark, dry location, harvest the last of the summer squash, and all the winter squash as it ripens. Make sure you’ve pulled onions and crop any remaining cucumbers and tomatoes as soon as they are ready. This is a good season to dry or can excess food from your garden. You will appreciate the gifts from your summer garden later in the year.
Keep inspecting your home for brush build-up and clogged drains. Make sure gutters are clean too. These may take some effort but will make sure you are protected as well as possible from both wildfire embers and rain flooding.
Pop in cool-season vegetables for the winter garden. You can grow them from seed or from started plants.
Mix and spread any compost that has broken down during the heat of summer. Organic mulch will protect the roots of your plants from physical damage and extreme temperature changes as well as adding nourishment to the soil. It will also help soil remain moist below, saving you water.
Spend some time enjoying your garden as the weather cools. Create crafts from seed pods, stick, pine cones and other garden gifts. And enjoy some peaceful time before the holiday rush starts with the up-coming Halloween season.