With September's arrival, we enjoy the remaining weeks of summer and await the onset of autumn. During this time, there are a number of seasonal activities to address, some of which will add to your gardening enjoyment this year, and some of which will lend themselves to next year’s beauty and gardening success.
Revive your summer container gardens with fresh, vibrant fall favorites. Dwarf ornamental grasses or dwarf evergreens placed in the center of your container are excellent choices for focal points. Surround them with unique seasonal ornamentals such as peppers, cabbages, and kales to give your porch, patio, or deck a great new look. Mums and pansies add dazzling color whether they are planted alone or incorporated in with other selections. If you have a lot of space to work with, add hues of pink to bronze by incorporating sedum into your containers. Dwarf varieties of golden rod or false sunflowers are great choices for splashes of yellow with a little more height.
Plant cool season vegetables now for a delightful fall harvest. Ideal selections are lettuce, spinach, radish, carrots, beets, green onions, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli.
These plants can easily tolerate light frosts, and the cooler temperatures actually tend to help produce root crops with added sweetness.
Even though spring bulbs are generally planted in early October, now is the time to make your selections. The first weeks following Labor Day offer the best variety. After making your purchase, store your bulbs in either a paper or mesh bag. The bulbs should be stored in a cool, dry location. Two good storage choices include basements or the crisper drawers of your refrigerator.
September is a great time to have your soil tested. This will give you a chance to amend your soil and let it settle before next season. Testing kits are available for do-it-yourselfers or you can purchase a soil sample packet for analysis by the Penn State Cooperative Extension.