September 1 to September 30-- Discover what you should be doing right now. Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.
Here’s what’s happening in your gardening region:
Summer will be over soon, and that gives you plenty to celebrate. Gardeners up North are squeezing in another season of planting before the cold arrives, but here in the subtropics we have nine whole months of glorious gardening up ahead.
Your Regional reporter
Steve Asbell is an illustrator, the author of Plant by Numbers and blogger of The Rainforest Garden.
1.) Learn to Garden in Tricky Places.
1. Not everyone has the space or soil to plant entire rows of veggies, but don’t let that discourage you. If you have a sliver of space that receives several hours of direct sunlight, even the humblest of patios or balconies is all you need to grow more than enough of your own produce. It all comes down to growing up! To get the most of a sunny spot, combine ordinary containers with supports, cages and trellises to help tall or vining plants grow upwards and get the sunlight they need. For shorter plants such as salad greens, herbs or strawberries, use a dedicated vertical gardening system like Burpee’s Garden Tower or Pyramid Raised Planter. These are built to hold not only lots of plants, but all the soil, moisture and nutrients they need for a bountiful harvest.
2.) Plant the Perfect Herb Garden.
2. Refresh and replant your herb garden now to get an endless supply of gourmet flavor until next summer. Most herbs will thrive through winter in zone 10, but growers in zone 9 should focus on planting cold tolerant herbs like thyme, rosemary, dill, chamomile and lavender so that there’s still plenty to harvest when cold-sensitive herbs like oregano, basil and sweet marigold get knocked back by frost. For the ultimate chef’s garden, order authentic and unique herb seeds and plant them in a raised planter or vertical garden. That way you can conveniently pick herbs on the fly whenever you think of a last-minute addition to your meal. For convenient watering, place your herb garden close to a spigot or install a micro-irrigation system and set it on a timer.
3.) Transition to a Cool Season Flowerbed.
3. You can now replace your warm-season plantings with cool season annuals such as pansies, alyssum, snapdragons, petunias and sweet peas. Since cool-season seedlings are sensitive to excess sunlight and late-summer downpours, however, you might even choose to leave some of your existing annuals in place. The shade from the existing flowers will protect the seedlings and prevent weeds from sprouting while the new flowers fill in. To do this, thin out your warm-season annuals by removing every other plant. In the spaces left behind, add a layer of fresh compost or topsoil and plant your new seeds according to the instructions on the package. As the seedlings mature and harden off, cut the remaining warm-season annuals to the ground and add mulch in their place.
4.) Make Gardening Easy Peasy.
4. If gardening seems like a chore lately, then maybe it’s time to approach things differently. Regardless of age, disability or attention level, anyone can grow a gorgeous and bountiful garden with the right tools and techniques. If you have a hard time crouching down to pull weeds, use a kneeling pad or kneeling seat to garden in comfort and cleanliness. Everyone gardens differently, so don’t be discouraged if your generic tools don’t get the job done. Burpee has a wide variety of garden tools to suit your unique style, and the right one can cut your work in half. To prevent weeds from sprouting in the first place, spread wood chips between your plantings and surround your sensitive seedlings with paper mulch. If it seems that your garage or patio are littered with flowerpots and potting mix, get a potting bench to create a dedicated space for all your gardening needs.
5.) Plant Onions, Leeks and Garlic.
5. Lovers of flavor can rejoice, because it’s finally time to plant onion sets in your garden. Onions may take a long time to mature, but they’re also relatively problem-free compared to other vegetables – especially if planted in loose, well-prepared soil with plenty of drainage. Large red, yellow, white and sweet onions are the most versatile in the kitchen, but if you’re short on time or space, grow bunching onions. They can be clipped at any time and are narrow enough to grow in containers. Leeks, elephant garlic and Egyptian walking onions are all onion relatives that are easy to grow in our growing zone. Whichever onion you grow, pull weeds carefully so that you don’t damage the fragile bulbs.
LeeksLeeks are closely related to onions but have a sweeter, creamier, more delicate flavor. Prized by cooks as a flavoring for dishes of all types. Many cultivars are extremely hardy and will tolerate bel