Hooray. August is finally gone and it’s now time to start thinking about September gardening chores. Not that the hot and dry days are gone – we’ll probably be experiencing more of them during this month. But the good news is that we can start planting some vegetables.
You can put in both bush and pole snap beans and limas right now. We’ve got at least two, maybe two and a half months to produce delicious beans until it becomes too cold for them.
Brassicas: September gardening chores means putting in cool weather plants. Wait until next week to put in broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens, collards, and cauliflower. But don’t worry too much about getting them into the ground if you’re not ready. Between next week and the second week in October is the optimal time to put these cole crops in. If you do miss that window, you still have until mid-November. Another window opens up in late January and through most of February for a spring crop.
Kohlrabi: The best time to plant this German-originated vegetable is the last week in September, a little later than its sister plants. Also called a “German turnip” because the root looks similar to a turnip, it is actually a member of the Brassica family and close cousin to cabbage and the other cole crops.
Plant your first radish seeds now. Since there are hundreds of radish seeds in a packet, you don’t need to plant them all now. After all, how many radishes can you eat at one time? Instead, plant for your first crop of radishes now, and then do successive plantings every two weeks. There are plenty of great varieties to choose from.
Beets and Swiss Chard
Beets: Beets and Swiss chard are not only in the same family, they are in the same genus and species (Beta vulgaris) Horticulturalists believe that beets came first. Then early peoples (some say early Sicilians) bred beet plants to have larger leaves and more succulent stems – thus, Swiss chard. However, it hasn’t been explained why they are called “Swiss” chard if they were initially bred in Sicily. Whatever the answer, planting these both around the last part of the month is an important September gardening chore. You can plant them next week, of course, but you’ll have better luck if you wait.
Swiss Chard: Although you can plant Swiss chard now, you[‘ll have better success if you wait until the later part of this month. You can pick the leaves and stalks when they’re young and tender, or wait until they’ve grown a little bigger – depending on your taste.
English Peas and Snap Peas
English peas and snap peas: While you can plant these now, you will probably experience a better crop if you wait until the last part of the month before you put seeds in. There seems to be some confusion between the two. To tell the difference, English peas have a waxier and more fibrous pod. The pod is not edible, so you have to shell the peas. A snap pea however, has an edible, less fibrous pod which you can eat without shelling.
Now that the blistering summer heat is almost over and fall gardening is beginning to gain in importance, take a look at your yard. There may be patches that could do better if converted to a groundcover of some kind. You may also want to resod some areas of dead grass. If you’re seeing a large patch in your St. Augustine lawn right now, it’s probably due to either overwatering or overfertilizing. You might also look at both aerating and adding compost to your lawn. Now through October is the time to do both. As for aeration, there are many ways to accomplish the task. Renting an aerator from a rental house of big box store, hiring a professional lawn aeration company, or purchasing hand tools to do the work. Check with retail garden stores in your area for these,
For more information about growing vegetables in the fall, you might want to check out Neil Sperry’s Gardens.