Make it grow: September in the garden

Summer is starting to give way to the shorter days of fall. September brings cooler weather and eventually monsoon rains. Don’t be fooled by a light mist; Continue watering until sufficient rain returns.

Autumn also brings leaves which are an incredibly valuable and free resource; It’s a huge waste to put them in bags and put them in the trash. Collect fallen leaves as they fall on the lawn and use them to cover flower beds for the winter or add them to compost. Leaves can also be mulched in place by cutting.

Yearbook — Continue to enjoy your containers by replacing tired annuals with annual pansies, violas and chrysanthemums. In the Sequim area, ornamental cabbages, collards and other fall favorites often persist until going to seed in the spring.

Bulbs, corms, roots and tubers – Taste your last dahlia blooms; The plants will continue to bloom until the first hard frost. Now is a good time to buy spring flowering bulbs, while the selection is best for planting next month. Store in a cool, dry place until planting.

Perennial plants — September is a good month to start transplanting, dividing and adding plants to your landscape, but wait for a cool, overcast day to soften the blow. It is best to plant at least a month before the first hard frost is expected. The general rule is to divide or transplant herbaceous perennials that bloom in spring/early summer into fall. Wait until spring to divide fall bloomers.

Shrubs and trees – Shrubs and trees can be a great investment. Make sure to do a little research and choose one that fits your space and meets your needs. A good reminder is to consider utility cords, rooflines, views and size when choosing a tree. Once planted, protect the investment and water them deeply until winter rains return. Plan to water all new plantings for at least a year regardless of any claim of drought resistance.

Hardwood plantings can be moved but are not as tolerant as perennials. If necessary, transplant deciduous shrubs after the leaves fall. Do not use fertilizers or do any pruning on new or old plants; It is undesirable to stimulate new growth just before winter.

berries — With berry season over, it’s time to clean all berry stains thoroughly. Prune raspberry and blackberry canes in the second year when they have finished fruiting. Thin out the strawberry patch and remove old or crowded plants. Apply compost/manure in the fall, allow it to break down before spring, and later add a layer of mulch for winter protection.

Fruit trees – There are many apple varieties, each with different harvest times; Some early and many later. If the apple variety is known, look to the suggested harvest time as a guide. To harvest apples, you must first determine the desired maturity. Starting on the sunny side of the tree where the fruit ripens first, lift the fruit and gently twist it; He should be easily demotivated. Cut the apple and when the seeds are brown, the apple is ready.

Pears should be harvested when they are full-sized and of the appropriate color, but before they become soft. Lift and roll in a similar manner to apples, and leave them to fully ripen after harvesting. Like apples, knowing the variety is helpful; Different varieties have unique signs of maturity.

vegetables – Although difficult, now is the time to transplant tomato plants to encourage fruit that has already begun to ripen. Take heart, it’s not time to put everything in the vegetable garden to bed. It’s not too late to plant some cool-weather crops like arugula and winter lettuce. It is the perfect time to prepare a new bed for planting garlic next month. Harvest squash and winter squash (before the first hard frost) when their stems begin to wilt and dry out, and when the skin cannot be pierced with your fingernails. In empty beds, plant a cover crop to improve the soil. Cover beds that do not contain winter or cover crops.

Houseplants — If your houseplants were moved outside for the summer, it’s time to bring them back inside. Inspect pots for pests and quarantine them to treat problems as needed.

Susan Kalmar is a Master Gardener in Clallam County.

Control volunteer flowers

Deadening flowers before setting seed will keep them looking good and blooming longer. If not deadheaded, many flowers, especially annuals such as poppies, cosmos and calendula, will aggressively seed themselves in an unwelcome location. To keep self-sowing flowers under control, remove all but a few of their seeds before they have a chance to mature and disperse.

When cutting or removing plants, be careful not to inadvertently spread seeds to other parts of the garden. If desired, collect the seeds on a dry day and store them in paper bags. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant them in the location of your choice.

Educational opportunities for September

Clallam County Master Gardeners have several interesting tutorials scheduled for September.

Two presentations from the Green Thumb Education Series will be given in the Port Angeles Library’s Carver Room, 2210 S. Peabody St., or via Zoom; Both start at noon.

And on Thursday, September 14, “Goodbye Summer: Autumn Leaves” will be presented by Master Gardener Janet Stehr Green. On Thursday, September 28, master gardener and professional landscaper Gordon Clark presents Pruning Beyond the Basics.

Deeper Demonstrations are workshops held from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Woodcock Demonstration Garden, 2711 Woodcock Road. Saturday, September 16: Master Gardener Margery White will present “Gardening for Newcomers to the North Olympic Peninsula.”

Dates and topics may change. For more detailed information, visit

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