September Northern Garden Checklist
- Extend the beauty and bounty of the season by covering plants in late afternoon when frost is forecast.
- Evaluate your landscape for fall interest. Consider adding some ornamental grasses, fall blooming perennials and trees and shrubs with colorful fall foliage or fruit.
- Keep falling leaves off ground-covers and perennial plants with this simple technique. Cover plantings with netting to catch the falling leaves. Drag it off or roll it up to keep the leaves in the netting as you clear the planting. Then add the leaves to the compost pile.
- Keep watering as needed. Make new plantings, evergreens and moisture loving plants a priority.
- Fill voids and replace weather-worn annuals in gardens and containers with pansies, ornamental kale and other fall annuals. These plants tolerate the cool fall temperatures and extend your garden enjoyment even after frost.
- Start purchasing spring flowering bulbs. Select full size healthy bulbs free from damage and disease with a strong growing tip. Shop early for a greater selection of varieties and healthier bulbs. Buy some extra bulbs for forcing.
- Begin planting spring flowering bulbs when night temperatures are consistently in the 40’s. Prepare the soil adding a low nitrogen fertilizer like Milorganite. Plant bulbs 2 to 3 times their height deep.
- Dig and divide spring blooming perennials that have outgrown their location, failed to flower, flop open or died out in the center.
- Create beautiful and edible fall garden containers. Bright Lights, Ruby Red and many other Swiss chard cultivars have colorful stems to brighten any fall combination.
- Add short-season and frost-tolerant plants to the vegetable garden. You can still plant lettuce, greens, spinach and onion sets. Try growing them in containers that can be moved in and out according to the weather. Or have some frost protection handy for covering plants on frosty nights to extend the harvest season.
- Black and orange bugs congregated on the sunny side of your house in fall are likely boxelder bugs. They are not harmful to plants and people, but certainly are annoying.