Ohio Valley Gardening: What To Do In September Gardens

Ohio Valley Gardening: What To Do In September Gardens

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By: Laura Miller

The Ohio Valley gardening season begins to wind down this month as cooler nights and the threat of early frost descends upon the region. This can leave Ohio Valley gardeners wondering what to do in September. The answer is plenty.

What to Do in September?

Harvesting veggies, collecting flower seeds, and preparing the yard and garden for the upcoming dormant season are just a few of the September gardening tasks which need addressed this month. Here’s a few more chores to add to your September regional to-do list:

Lawn Care

Cooler weather and fall rains can rejuvenate the lawn turning it a healthy green. This makes lawn care an excellent September gardening task to add to the regional to-do list for the Ohio Valley.

  • Continue cutting the grass at the recommended height.
  • Fall is an excellent time to reseed the lawn with perennial grass seed.
  • Apply broadleaf weed killer to the lawn.
  • Rake pine and arborvitae needles to prevent them from smothering the grass.
  • Aerate and feed lawns with natural organic fertilizer, such as compost.


September gardening tasks this month includes prepping the flowerbeds for the next year’s growing season. Be sure to take the time to enjoy the last few weeks of annual flowers before cold weather ends the Ohio Valley gardening season though.

  • Divide perennial flowers such as daylilies, irises, and peony.
  • Begin planting spring blooming bulbs, like daffodil, at the end of the month.
  • Take cuttings of annual flowers to root and overwinter indoors. Begonia, coleus, geranium, impatiens, and lantana can be propagated for growing outdoors next spring.
  • Pick and preserve flowers, seed heads, and pods for dried arrangements.
  • Collect annual and perennial seeds for sowing next year .

Vegetable Garden

There’s no question of what to do in September in the vegetable garden. Harvest season is peaking, it’s time to plant quick-maturing fall crops and prep the garden for the next year.

  • Continue harvesting summer crops of cucumbers, eggplant, melons, peppers, squash, and tomatoes.
  • Dig sweet potatoes before the first frost is expected.
  • Dig and cure onions and garlic. Begin harvesting horseradish in September .
  • Start fall crops of beets, bok choy, carrots, lettuce, radishes, and spinach early in the month.
  • Clean off spent garden plants and spread compost if the area isn’t used for fall crops.

Miscellaneous Garden Tasks

Ohio Valley gardening begins the transition from outdoor cultivation to gardening inside the house this month. Add these tasks to your regional to-do list to make that transition go smoothly:

  • Make indoor space for overwintering tender perennials, bulbs, and garden vegetables.
  • At month’s end, begin forcing poinsettia and Christmas cactus for December blooming.
  • Root herb cuttings from basil, mint, oregano, rosemary, and sage for growing indoors over the winter.
  • Bring houseplants back inside when overnight temperatures reach 55 degrees F. (13 C.).
  • Pick ripe fruit and store for winter. Clean up rotten fallen fruit and discard to prevent the spread of disease.

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September Gardening Tasks – Regional To-Do List For Ohio Valley Region - garden

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      The club will have their own club fee which will go towards uniforms, tournament entries fees, coaches stipends, renting practice facilities, etc.

      What to plant now for a fall vegetable garden

      I ’M WATERING THEN SHADING the garden beds where peas grew fat and sweet until early July, when their time was done. The heat and calendar told them to stop, but I’m carrying on—making the now-empty spot hospitable for something else by cooling the soil a bit so something delicious for fall harvest will be happy to germinate, and get growing.

      But what will it be? Perhaps kale or more amazing ‘Piracicaba,’ broccoli (above, for which I have seedlings started) or carrots, beets, and more green beans? Or fall peas (a short variety like ‘Sugar Ann’)! Those are only a few of many possibilities for a sustained harvest, even here in the North.

      W HEN TO SOW OR TRANSPLANT what is always the question, and so I am including some links by state or region at the bottom to factsheets that might help you with cool-season choices. The possibilities here would work in much of the Northeast and similar zones to my 5B, in a spot where frost is expected no sooner than late September or early October. You can push it a bit in slightly warmer zones than mine, and in the warmest ones all this happens in fall for winter harvest–plus you get a wider palette of crops (again, those factsheets linked below will help).

      My possible july-august plantings, northeast zone 5b

      • Arugula, from 21 to 40 days (baby or mature leaf size)
      • Bush beans, about 60 days (have insulating fabric ready if early cold threatens)
      • Beets and beet greens
      • Braising greens mix (mustard, kale, collards, Asian greens…)
      • Broccoli raab, about 40 days
      • Broccoli (60 days from transplants started about 15 weeks before first frost do try ‘Piracicaba,’ whose florets are looser, delicious, and which easily produces lots of side shoots)
      • Cabbage (60 days from transplants started about 15 weeks before first frost) or Napa cabbage (about 10 days faster)
      • Carrots (a storage kind like ‘Rolanka’ plus some smaller types for fall eating)
      • Cauliflower (60 days from transplants started about 14 weeks before frost needs covering if frost threatens)
      • Chard
      • Chicory, endive, radicchio
      • Cilantro
      • Collards, about 60 days but nice as a baby green
      • Cucumbers (bush type rated 60 days I sowed these June 15)
      • Daikon (60 days) and other faster radishes
      • Dill
      • Kale, about 60 days but nice in half that time as a baby green
      • Lettuce, leaf and head type and mesclun mix, about 30 days to first cutting
      • Mustard greens, about 45 days (faster as baby greens to spice a salad)
      • Peas, shelling, sugar snap, and snowpea type
      • Radishes
      • Scallions and other hardy bunching onions, for fall use and to overwinter for spring
      • Spinach
      • Squash, summer variety, bush type (I sowed a 48-day variety July 1)
      • Turnips, 40-50 days, faster for greens, or rutabaga (90 days) if sown in earliest July or late June here rutabaga

      And don’t forget: Leave room for your garlic! It goes in around October locally, and stays till the next July or August. How to grow garlic, my favorite crop of all.

      Hints for making late-season sowings

      • Don’t skip the prep: Do cool down soil by shading for a few days and moistening so seeds have a chance, in particular.
      • Select a variety that’s a shorter number of days to maturity than its peers, or rated for late-season growing.
      • Count back from frost date but add extra time to the calculation, an extra two weeks perhaps that’s often called “the fall factor,” since days are getting gradually shorter and cooler as fall plants mature. Don’t expect them to produce as fast as in warming, lengthening springtime days.
      • As cold arrives, have insulating fabric (and hoops in some cases) at the ready.
      • The later timing may slow things and require a little extra help, perhaps, but it’s also a benefit: Often you outsmart pests, who might be done multiplying, and some crops (greens, peas, crucifers) may taste sweeter when ripening in cool weather.

      Sample fall planting calendars and guides

      I SEARCHED FOR REGIONAL calendars for fall vegetable sowings–or in the case of the warmest zones, that would be a fall-sown, winter-harvested garden. Note that MANY of these links will pop up as pdf’s, not web pages, as they are formatted that way by their expert creators. Also note that in some cases, the late-season information is far down the page, below the timing and how-to for spring, so keep scrolling/paging through.

      • Alabama
      • Arizona (Maricopa County)
      • Arizona (Arizona Cooperative Extension, multiple regions by elevation)
      • California, statewide planting chart by region
      • California, San Diego County
      • California, Los Angeles County
      • California, statewide by region (UC-Davis Extension)
      • Florida
      • Georgia
      • Illinois
      • Indiana
      • Iowa (and chart on timing only is here for Iowa)
      • Kansas (scroll toward end of pdf for sowing chart)
      • Kentucky
      • Louisiana
      • Maryland or for central Maryland as a colorful “gant” chart here.
      • Michigan (and all vegetable topics here)
      • Minnesota
      • New Jersey
      • New York (Ithaca/Tompkins County, last planting dates)
      • New York, Hudson Valley
      • New York, Suffolk County and Nassau County
      • North Carolina
      • Oklahoma
      • South Carolina
      • Pacific Northwest fall/winter guide
      • Maine
      • Tennessee
      • Texas (Austin)
      • Texas (Central)
      • Utah
      • Vermont and New England, from High Mowing Seed: Follow the links at the end of this fall brassicas article.
      • Virginia and adjacent states (from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)

      Tomato Varieties and Types

      It was easy to tally up scores for well-known varieties such as ‘Amish Paste’ or ‘Early Girl,’ but several variety groups presented identification problems. As I combed through the lists, “beefsteak” and “roma” formed large generic categories, so they are treated that way for ranking purposes. ‘Brandywine’ should be considered a generic category as well, because it was impossible to identify strains that vary in color from pink to yellow to black.

      For organizational purposes, the survey sorted tomatoes into the following types:

      • Slicers: main-crop tomatoes for eating fresh and making sauce
      • Cherries: marble-sized fruits in a rainbow of colors, for eating fresh or drying
      • Paste/Canning: thick-fleshed varieties for canning or drying
      • Really Big Ones: huge fruits that often weigh more than a pound
      • Saladette/Pear: small fruits, great eaten fresh and increasingly popular for drying
      • Non-reds: varieties that ripen to yellow, orange, green, purple, black or striped

      Note that a tomato can fall into more than one category — for example, a great slicing tomato might also be a non-red.

      Avoid Over-Fertilizing

      It's possible to over-fertilize your yard and garden. Too much nitrogen can be as damaging to plants as too little, and using natural sources of nutrients, such as compost on the garden or mulching lawn clippings rather than bagging them, can replace some of the traditional chemical fertilizer applications. One late- to mid-summer feeding of a lawn, followed by a light fall feeding, produces a better lawn than the old recommendation for three or four major feedings for each growing season, as championed by fertilizer manufacturers.

      Flower or vegetable gardens similarly can thrive with fewer fertilizer applications than once believed, especially if they are properly amended with compost and other natural organic materials. Most gardens do well with one feeding shortly after planting and one as the growing season concludes. However, plants that produce large quantities of vegetables or large, plentiful flowers may need more.

      Watch the video: The Rooster Valley G Scale Railroad Garden Railroad