North Coast Gardening | Keeping Gardens Fresh and Healthy – Times-Standard

September always seems to be the hottest and driest month here on the North Coast. Our gardens are parched, especially if we have been good at conserving water during those dry spells. Still, there’s plenty to do this month to keep things fresh and healthy. Consider the following:

Feeding: Many shrubs, perennials and others benefit from late summer feeding. Roses, container shrubs, color pots of annuals will continue to bloom if fed this month.

Clean Up: As the summer vegetable harvest begins to wind down, cleaning up the spent debris becomes a bit of a chore. Chop corn stalks, zucchini vines, woody broccoli stalks and start a compost pile.

Planting: Late summer is the perfect time to sow beets, carrots, turnips and peas. Nurseries stock up on cool-season vegetables like lettuce, Asian greens, spinach, broccoli, cabbage and kale. Also check out the nurseries for a fine selection of herbs, as well as colorful cool-season annuals and perennials.

Water: The next six weeks are essential to ensure the garden is watered thoroughly. In mid-October, the days are noticeably shorter, the nights and the early mornings cooler. But until then, keep that hose and sprinkler moving, especially if you have newly planted shrubs and trees.

Warning: the hungry garden pests to watch out for these days are collard green worms. Use Bacillus thuringiensis spray to remedy this. Powdery mildew is a late summer disease that attacks many types of vegetable and ornamental plants. Use a commercial sulfur spray once a week.

Terry Kramer is the site manager of the Humboldt Botanical Garden and a trained horticulturist and journalist. She has written a garden column for the Times-Standard since 1982. Contact her at

Comments are closed.