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September garden tips

Japanese anenomeVegetable gardening isn’t over yet!
Plant:
We still have time to get in short season crops from seed like radishes and beets. And you can plant all sorts of cold hardy greens like kale, mache, arugula, sorrel, asian greens, endive, and lettuces to harvest later in the fall. This is also the time to get garlic and shallot bulbs in the ground for harvest next year. For more winter hardy options for Spring harvest try kale, cabbage, or fava beans.

Protect:
Spread straw or mulch for added protection of overwintering crops or fallow beds.
Protect young fruit trees from insects and winter cracking by painting a strip on the lower truck with interior white latex paint mixed with a .5 ratio of water.
The downside to dry soil, cool nights, warm days and added moisture on foliage is that it is the perfect conditions for powdery mildew. Keep an eye out and destroy leaves as it appears.

Harvest:
As vegetables ripen pick them, remove the spent plants to your compost and replace with winter plantings, mulch or a cover crop to enrich the soil for next year.
If you want to collect seeds from your vegetables and flowering perennials see our previous blog post with tips.

Perennial beds and landscape maintenance:
Fall is one of the best planting seasons. The soil is still warm and easy to work and since the air temp has cooled a bit it’s much more pleasant for us too. Morning dew and (hopefully) the occasional shower is giving our gardens a bit of drink after the dry season and makes the soil easier to work too.

When you plant perennials and trees now you give your plants a jump on root development so they are better prepared for a beautiful show next season. Plants that have the fall and winter to develop will be better prepared for drought tolerance and to fight off disease and pests next season. Plus they will be more likely to set blooms and gorgeous foliage. The exception is borderline tender plants – which do better if planted in the spring so they have the summer to develop and prepare for their first winter out.

Bulbs are here too – if you want Spring bulbs to bloom now is the time to plant them. And if you want to force bulbs for the winter start looking now while the selection is best.

Dig plants that will not winter over such as dahlias and tender canna. Bring houseplants indoors. Divide iris, grasses and lilies. If you want to divide peonies now is really the only time of year it should be done. Remember to keep the peony roots close to the surface when replanting so they will be sure to re-bloom in the following year.

September can still be dry so watch the moisture level of transplants until the Fall rains come but hold back on watering after the night temperatures drop consistently below 50 degrees.

Saving seeds

photo

Has your garden gone to seed? Don’t despair – collect those seeds for next year or just bring them inside to enjoy.

If you have decided not to replant another round of Fall/Winter veggies and the old ones are bolting, consider letting them mature to seed and collecting for next years sowing.

While it is very easy and fun to save seeds there are a few challenges. Hybrid plants have great qualities like disease resilience and productivity but their seed is often sterile or won’t produce offspring true to the parent plant so it is better to not save seeds from hybrids, choose heirlooms instead.

Another issue that can arise in saving seeds is that some plant flowers are open pollinated which means they can cross with other plants in their family and their offspring are a bit of a wildcard. These plants include broccoli, basil, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, chard, celery, kale, melon, mustard, onion, parsley, squash and spinach. The good news is that some of our favorite plants will not automatically cross pollinate and so are very easy to save seeds – peas, beans, tomatoes and peppers are ideal.

Most seed heads will develop a pithy outer covering, look for that substance to begin disappearing, as the seeds start to emerge it it time to harvest. Remember that most of the drying process should be done on the plant to be sure the seeds have fully developed.

Peas and beans:
Allow the pods to remain on the vines until they brown and dry. Pick and take indoors to continue drying in an open mason jar for two more weeks.

Peppers:
Pick a robust very ripe pepper, bring inside and allow the fruit to whither and begin to dry (about a week). Scoop out the pith, remove seed, spread over paper in a cool dry place for 1 to 2 weeks.

Tomatoes:
Choose a beautiful tomato (you want the healthiest one you can find), scoop out the seeds and surrounding goo, place in a grass jar with a little water. You will allow this mixture to ferment for about 5 days after which the good seeds will sink to the bottom of the jar. Dry them off and spread over paper to dry for 1 to 2 weeks.

And don’t forget your flowers too – there are so many blooms that produce lots of seeds that you can simply let fall to produce drifts of flowers in seasons to come or you can collect them and help them along. Poppies, columbine and daisies, hellebore, sunflowers, feverfew, zinnias, cosmos, coreopsis, and so many more!

Once you have dry seeds to store place them in small paper bags and be sure to label them. Put dried seeds in the freezer for two days to kill any pests that may piggyback. They can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place or in the refrigerator. If you choose the fridge it is wise to include a packet of dry milk or silica in order to keep them moisture free.

August garden tips

photo 3
Summer is in full swing! And what better way to enjoy the fruits of your labor? Invite friends over for a BBQ and dish up some of those veggies fresh from the garden or simply enjoy the view of your personal oasis. Now is the time to relax and be in your garden.
Of course there are always a few improvements and projects to work on so here are a few suggestions:

 

 

 

 

 

 
- Consider landscaping with xerascaping (low water) or native plantings and creating a lower water usage and lower maintenance garden.
- Install an irrigation system – remember when we suggested you install one in march -It would be pretty awesome right now!
- Cut old raspberry canes that fruited to produce new wood for next year, thin excessive growth or suckers and tie chosen branches in place.
- Move containers to a shady spot if they are stressed by the heat.
- If you are pruning any shrubs in order to produce wood for next years bloom finish by mid month so they have enough time to harden off before winter.
- Harvest vegetables regularly to encourage new blooms and prevent the seeds from setting.
- It’s to late to plant sun loving veggies but you can still do more cole crops or plant greens and brassicas for a winter harvest.
- Take a break and visit some show gardens.
- Explore some new recipes or can up some of the bounty.

September garden tips

Japanese anenomeVegetable gardening isn’t over yet!
Plant:
We still have time to get in short season crops from seed like radishes and beets. And you can plant all sorts of cold hardy greens like kale, mache, arugula, sorrel, asian greens, endive, and lettuces to harvest later in the fall. This is also the time to get garlic and shallot bulbs in the ground for harvest next year. For more winter hardy options for Spring harvest try kale, cabbage, or fava beans.

Protect:
Spread straw or mulch for added protection of overwintering crops or fallow beds.
Protect young fruit trees from insects and winter cracking by painting a strip on the lower truck with interior white latex paint mixed with a .5 ratio of water.
The downside to dry soil, cool nights, warm days and added moisture on foliage is that it is the perfect conditions for powdery mildew. Keep an eye out and destroy leaves as it appears.

Harvest:
As vegetables ripen pick them, remove the spent plants to your compost and replace with winter plantings, mulch or a cover crop to enrich the soil for next year.
If you want to collect seeds from your vegetables and flowering perennials see our previous blog post with tips.

Perennial beds and landscape maintenance:
Fall is one of the best planting seasons. The soil is still warm and easy to work and since the air temp has cooled a bit it’s much more pleasant for us too. Morning dew and (hopefully) the occasional shower is giving our gardens a bit of drink after the dry season and makes the soil easier to work too.

When you plant perennials and trees now you give your plants a jump on root development so they are better prepared for a beautiful show next season. Plants that have the fall and winter to develop will be better prepared for drought tolerance and to fight off disease and pests next season. Plus they will be more likely to set blooms and gorgeous foliage. The exception is borderline tender plants – which do better if planted in the spring so they have the summer to develop and prepare for their first winter out.

Bulbs are here too – if you want Spring bulbs to bloom now is the time to plant them. And if you want to force bulbs for the winter start looking now while the selection is best.

Dig plants that will not winter over such as dahlias and tender canna. Bring houseplants indoors. Divide iris, grasses and lilies. If you want to divide peonies now is really the only time of year it should be done. Remember to keep the peony roots close to the surface when replanting so they will be sure to re-bloom in the following year.

September can still be dry so watch the moisture level of transplants until the Fall rains come but hold back on watering after the night temperatures drop consistently below 50 degrees.

 
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