Your To-Do List for September

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A gardener’s work is never done – or at least not until the snow flies! September can be as busy as April and May in the garden. Here’s a to-do list for September gardeners.

Not ready for gardening season to be over yet? Don’t worry – it’s not! No matter which climate zone you’re in, there are things you can be doing in the garden right now.

For us, it’s cleaning out beds and planting fall crops, weeding, watering, and of course, continuing to harvest!

Check out this handy guide to find out what to get done this month in the garden, by zone:

If you don’t know what USDA Plant Hardiness Zone you live in, check the map here to find out. We’ve left off zones 1–2 (far-north Alaska) and zones 11–13 since zones 3–10 cover 99 percent or more of the gardeners in the U.S.

Zone 3

  • Plant new fall bulbs so they develop roots before the ground freezes.
  • Harvest corn, potatoes, apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, and strawberries before a killing frost.
  • If tomato vines are covered with green fruit, pull up whole plants and hang them in a basement or garage until fruits ripen.
  • After onion tops have fallen over, dig the bulbs and let them cure on the soil surface for about a week before you store them.
  • After harvesting, spread compost over the soil surface.
  • Rake leaves and clean up plant debris, then add them to the compost pile.

Zone 4

  • On the first of the month, plant spinach for overwintering.
  • Use up any remaining compost in your bins to make room for the leaves you’ll soon add.
  • Dig up and store tender bulbs and tubers, such as cannas and dahlias.
  • Pick the seedpods and heads of any open-pollinated flowers you want to grow again next year; store the seeds in a cool, dry spot.
  • Set out pansies, mums, and kale for later fall color.
  • Plant bulbs and garlic in midmonth.
  • Get ready to protect tender plants from early frost with row covers and blankets.
  • ……………………………….

Zone 5

  • Sow seed of next year’s biennial flowers, such as forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica), sweet William (Dianthus barbatus), and foxglove.
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs.
  • Dig up tender dahlias, cannas, caladium, and gladiolus before frost hits; store tubers and bulbs in a cool, dry spot.
  • Start spinach and kale under row covers or in a coldframe for tasty winter salads.
  • …………………………………………..
  • Plant perennials to take advantage of cool weather and rainfall.

Zone 6

  • Get fall compost cooking with the last of your grass clippings, spent plants, and leaves.
  • As garden beds empty, sow quick-growing cover crops like winter rye.
  • Sow spinach midmonth for spring harvest.
  • Work spring-flowering bulbs into perennial beds.
  • Plant garlic by month’s end for harvest next June.
  • Dig up, divide, and replant clumps of overgrown perennials.

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For more zones, see the full article at RodalesOrganicLife.com.

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