September Hobby Garden Checklist: Get Ready for Fall

Okay, you did it! You are through the busy summer, and the cozy comfort of fall is just around the corner. I can smell the pumpkin spice...or the pumpkin patch! However, gardening is never over. September is a great month to get ready for some cool weather crops, as well as begin planning for next year. The more work you put in to your plants in fall, the great return in the spring.

Take a look at the list we put together, and keep yourself busy outside this fall.

  1. Clean up and maintenance:

    • Remove any spent annuals or vegetables that have finished producing.
    • Clear away weeds and debris from the garden beds.
    • Trim back overgrown plants or shrubs as needed.
    • Clean and sharpen garden tools.
  2. Soil preparation:

    • Test the soil pH and adjust if necessary.
    • Add compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility.
    • Consider mulching garden beds to conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.
  3. Fall vegetable planting:

    • Plant cool-season crops such as lettuce, spinach, kale, radishes, carrots, beets, and peas.
    • Start transplants of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts indoors for later transplanting.
    • Sow seeds of cool-season herbs like parsley, cilantro, and dill.
  4. Harvesting:

    • Continue harvesting summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, beans, and cucumbers.
    • Harvest any remaining herbs before they start to decline.
  5. Harvesting Pumpkins: Know if your pumpkins are ready to harvest in September by check the list below:
    1. Maturity Days: Check the seed packet or information provided by the seed supplier for the number of days to maturity for the specific pumpkin variety you are growing. This will give you an approximate idea of when the pumpkins should be ready for harvest.

    2. Color and Skin Hardness: Mature pumpkins will have developed their characteristic color, whether it's orange, white, green, or other hues, depending on the variety. Additionally, the pumpkin's skin should be hard and resistant to scratching with your fingernail.

    3. Stem Drying: The stem attached to the pumpkin should start to dry and become woody. A fully mature pumpkin will have a dry, sturdy stem.

    4. Vine and Leaves: As the pumpkins mature, the vines and leaves may start to die back naturally. This is another sign that the pumpkins are approaching maturity.

    5. Tendril Behavior: Some gardeners observe the behavior of the tendrils near the pumpkin stem. If the tendrils are drying up or turning brown, it may indicate that the pumpkin is ready for harvest.

    6. Thump Test: Gently tap the pumpkin with your knuckles. A mature pumpkin will have a hollow sound, while an immature one will produce a more solid sound.

  6. Lawn care:

    • Continue regular mowing, but gradually reduce the height of the grass for the last few cuts before winter.
    • Aerate the lawn to improve soil drainage and reduce compaction.
  7. Bulb planting:

    • Plan and purchase bulbs for spring-flowering flowers such as tulips, daffodils, and crocuses.
    • Plant bulbs in well-prepared soil according to their specific planting depth and spacing requirements.
  8. Planting perennials:

    • September is a great time to plant new perennials in the garden.
    • Choose from a wide variety of plants suitable for your region and soil conditions.
    • Some examples of perennials to plant in September include Chrysanthemums, Hellebores, Coral Bells, Geraniums and Siberian Iris!
  9. Watering and irrigation:

    • Adjust watering schedules to account for decreasing temperatures and rainfall.
    • Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deeper root growth.
  10. Pest and disease control:

    • Monitor plants for any signs of pest or disease issues and take appropriate action.
    • Remove any diseased or infested plant material to prevent the spread of pests.
  11. Fall garden cleanup:

    • As the season progresses, gradually remove any remaining annuals and spent vegetable plants.
    • Cut back perennials as they die back, leaving some foliage for winter interest or wildlife habitat.
    • Consider leaving some seed heads and plant stalks for overwintering insects and birds.
  12. Planning for spring:

    • Start planning for next year's garden by researching new plants, varieties, and garden design ideas.
    • Take notes on what worked well and what didn't during the current gardening season.

Remember to adjust the tasks based on your specific climate, region, and individual garden needs. Happy gardening!