Gardening is a round the year job, hobby or passion (depending upon how you look at it). Even though things appear to be winding down after Labor Day, there are many tasks that need to be done to care for fall blooming plants, tidy up from summer and prepare for next year. Here is a list of what our Master Gardener friend thinks are the ten most important things to do.
1.Harvest herbs now to either freeze, or dry, for winter use. Alternatively, herbs such as parsley, rosemary, chives, thyme and marjoram can be dug from the garden and placed in pots now for growing indoors this winter. (September)
2.Start planting your spring bulbs- they should be planted as soon as they are available. The exception to this is tulips. They should be placed in a cool, dark place and planted in late October.
3.Pinch out the top of Brussels sprout plants to plump out the developing sprouts. (September)
4.Pinch off any young tomatoes that are too small to ripen. This will channel energy into the remaining full-size fruits so they achieve optimal ripeness. (September)
5.Bury or discard of any spoiled fallen fruits. (September)
6.Divide your peonies and perennials in late October. For the perennials, enrich the soil with peat moss or compost before replanting. Replant your peonies in a sunny site and avoid planting deeply.(September)
7.Harvest winter squash and pumpkins before frost. For best storage quality, leave an inch or two of stem on each fruit. (October)
8.Dig up sweet potatoes before a bad freeze. (October)
9.After the first frost, dig up cannas and dahlias. Allow them plants to dry under cover in an airy, frost-free place before storage. (October)
10.Pot spring bulbs for forcing and store in a cool, frost-free place until it is time to bring indoors-usually 12 to 15 weeks. (late October)
11.Time to start planning for Christmas! You can force poinsettas now so that they bloom for Christmas. Place them indoors on a sunny windowsill. Each night, your must keep them in a cool, dark place where there is no light for 14 hours. Do this for 6-10 weeks, until they achieve the proper color.
Good luck! We hope you find this useful and your fall gardening is relaxing and productive.