After a nice, hot summer and hopefully productive growing season, gardens are starting to wind down by September. Although warm weather is still hanging around the North Carolina coast, the days are getting shorter, while brisker mornings and cooler nights are becoming more common.
As the season begins to shift, so does our gardening focus, with a little bit of upkeep, planting, and planning, you’ll ease right into fall.
Planning. Houseplants that have been “vacationing” in the yard this summer should be brought in by mid-month. You want to give them a good blast of water all over before bringing them in to help remove any insects. Insects in the soil are probably not detrimental but more of a nuisance when brought indoors. For the first month after the move inspect your plants daily for any emergent insects and treat as needed.
Now is the time to decide which spring bulbs to plant, so you can get the best selection at your garden center. This is a great time to plan out your fall flower planters. Check out some of these fall showstoppers – heuchera, mums, asters, ornamental cabbage, and variegated ivy.
NOTE: As perennial flowers start to go dormant, mark their location or sketch out a map of your beds as a helpful way not to forget where things are come springtime.
Pruning. Allow plants to finish the summer growth cycle in a normal manner, now is not the time to encourage growth with heavy applications of fertilizer or excessive pruning. Plants will delay their dormancy process that has already begun in anticipation of the winter months ahead, and the new growth could be injured by an early freeze.
Mulching. Mulching is beneficial to gardens by enriching the soil, choking out fall weeds, insulating bulbs for winter and making your yard look fresh.
NOTE: Bagged mulch is always available, but getting a truckload delivered is more economical. If you don’t think you can use a whole truckload, ask your neighbors if they would like to split a load.
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