Long List of Garden Chores for September
The weather may be dreary, but there is still plenty to do in the garden over the month of September.
September is bulb month. There are bulbs to be planted and tender bulbs/tubers/corms that need to be dug up so they can be stored and replanted again for next season. You want to plant hardy fall bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, crocus, alliums, snowdrops, fritillaria, etc, early enough to they are able to establish a good root system before the frost sets into the ground. This is also true for garlic, which benefits from a longer seasons by being planted in the fall. (Garlic can also be successfully planted in the spring) Tender summer flowering bulbs such as tuberous begonias, gladioli, dahlias, canna and calla lilies, false pineapple plant etc., need to be dug up after the foliage has been affected by frost and stored over the winter months if you want to re-plant them again next spring. These bulbs are not hardy enough to stay outside over the winter, and if they are left in the ground, will not return next year.
Bring inside any houseplants that were outdoors over the summer months. Geraniums, fuchsias, spikes, cypress, ginger, bird of paradise and any other, non-hardy plants that you want to keep for next year, should also be brought inside to an area that is above freezing before the first hard frost. To prevent any unwanted pests from coming indoors, spray plants with insecticidal soap before bringing them inside.
This is a good time of the year to divide and move perennials such as peonies, iris and lilies. Perennials are divided to create new plants or for rejuvenation. When dividing, only replant the vigorous healthy parts of the plant and throw out the older less productive parts. To help form a good root system sprinkle a handful of bone meal in the bottom of the hole before placing the plant in and then water it in well.
Clean up perennials that have already finished blooming by removing finished blooms and cutting back the foliage to 15 cm above the ground
The evening temperatures have certainly cooled down and frost is in the air. Some areas around Prince George have already experienced their first fall frost. To lengthen the growing season for those frost tender crops such as corn, squash, beans, cucumbers tomatoes, peppers etc., cover them overnight with a frost blanket such as “Reemay”. Reemay is a breathable fabric that allows air, moisture and light through while protecting plants from a few degrees of frost. You can also use Reemay on ever bearing strawberries that are still producing as it will protect the fruit and blossoms from frost.
Some vegetables, such as parsnips, leeks, kale, brussels sprouts, turnips and rutabagas benefit from a frost as the frost enhances the flavours. If your garden has been hit by frost, then harvest and enjoy those fall vegetables.
In the vegetable garden, there are some vegetables which may still have flowers and small undeveloped fruit on the that will not have enough time to ripen. These should be removed so that the energy of the plan can be directed to the more developed fruit, helping it to ripen.
September is a good time to put in a new lawn or top dress an existing lawn, It is also a good time to get rid of weeds such as dandelions and clover as these weeds are actively growing. Removing weeds can be done by either manually removing them, or by using a selective herbicide, such as “Killex” or “Clover and Thistle Killer”.
This is a great time of year to take advantage of the nursery stock sales. Planting trees, shrubs and perennials now will not only save you money, but will be less work as you don’t have to water them as much because of the cooler temperatures.
Continue to keep weeds down as all those weeds that are removed now won’t be able to produce sees or come back again next year.
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
- Highway 16 west at Kimball Road
- Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road ( closed for the season)