September Gardening

Perennials like ligularia 'Britt Marie Crawford' come back year after year, increasing in size through the seasons.

September continues the planting of cool-weather crops in the vegetable garden. Things like spinach, lettuce, corn mache, tatsoi, pak choi, arugula, radishes, turnips, beets and others can be started now.

Greens planted in the fall like endive will produce well into winter with the protection of a floating row cover.

Look locally for plants, as gardeners have learned about extending the season, and garden centers have started carrying fresh plants for fall planting.

Plant perennials by digging a hole and filling it with compost. Perennials come back year after year and in many cases increase in size over the years. I like to plant them in drifts of three, five or seven. There really aren’t any rules; it’s just the way I like to arrange them.

Save some seeds for next year’s planting.

Clean up any garden refuse. Fallen tomato foliage and the like all can harbor diseases and pests.

Dry some herbs like oregano, sage, thyme and others by just hanging them upside down.

Bring plants inside for the winter. Houseplants and other shade lovers can live on the window sill for the season. Put them in a halfway house like a sun porch for a week to see whether any insects hatch out. Insecticidal soap and horticultural oil are great organic products to have on hand just in case there are any pest problems.

Fertilize the lawn with an organic granular fertilizer. The last cutting should be a little shorter than the summer length.

Doug Oster is editor of Everybody Gardens, a website operated by 535Media, LLC. Reach him at (412) 965-3278 or See other stories, videos, blogs, tips and more at