Gardening Notes by Tomese Buthod, Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener
Vegetable and Ornamental Gardening
September Gardening Activities Calendar and To-Do list
- Map your garden so that know what you've got and want to keep for next year.
- You can still plant leaf lettuce, spinach and radishes.
- You can also plant any greens that you would enjoy eating raw as micro greens. Consider starting them in a window box liner that can be a "cut and come again" garden. Move it indoors when the weather gets too cold.
- Start a new compost pile.
- Harvest onions when the tops wither.
- Seed bare spots in the lawn.
- Freeze, dry or can tomatoes which cannot be eaten within 3 days.
- Make pesto.
- Make herb butters.
- Collect seeds for larkspur and poppies and save them in the fridge as they need a chilling period. Plant them in Febuary.
- Dust greens and cole crops with Bt at the first sign of cabbage worm. There is not much recovery time.
- Trim thyme by a third to encourage new growth.
- If perennials have outgrown their space, transplant early in Sept. You will be more successful if they have time to settle in before the first freeze.
- Last chance to control broadleaf weeds for this year.
- Make a supply of bouquet garni combining sprigs of thyme, marjoram, parsley and bay in small cheesecloth squares tied with cotton twines. Keep then in a tin near your other herbs for all those soups you'll soon be making.
- If you want to use a pre-emergent especially to control winter annuals, do it now!
- Keep weeding so many weeds are going to seed now.
- Do not prune now. It will delay winter dormancy.
- Order spring bulbs now.
- Galicia chive buds are part of many Thai recipes. Harvest before the Flores open.
- Plant pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale by the middle of the month.
- Renovate your lawn.
- Start filling your feeders for the birds that are starting to migrate.
- Prep your poinsettias and holiday cactus for bloom.
- Pot up plants and bulbs for forcing.
- Controls insects on house plants before bring them inside.
- Fall is a good time to plant trees and shrubs - learn what not to plant in the fall.
I am so sorry I don’t have a picture of all the hummingbirds in my yard these days. For years, in my various yards, I’ve hung up feeders and planted red flowers for the little cuties, but never had a good angle from any of my windows to see if they were coming for the goodies I put out. Finally – my current house provides several places for me to see the feeders, and I am being highly rewarded! I’ve never been a huge bird watcher, but these tiny birds are so mesmerizing. Now, if only I’d have my camera conveniently at the ready when they swoop in.
Put your feeders in a shady spot if possible – it helps keep the sugar water from fermenting quite so quickly. And as it does ferment, if they birds haven’t emptied it in a few days, refresh it a few times a week. Don’t put red dyes in the sugar water, as we don’t know what effect the dyes have on the birds. If you don’t think your feeder will attract them without it, tie a red ribbon on it – that is what I do and the birds have certainly found it.
The sugar water mixture should be about 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. I just hot water from my kitchen tap and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Mexican Sour Gherkins, or Mouse Melons
Every year I plant something unusual in my vegetable garden, mostly just to see if I can get it grow. This year the unusual veggie was the Mexican Sour Gherkins – tiny cucumbers I was introduced to last year at a Farm-to-Table dinner at Harvest Restaurant. I found the seeds in a few heirloom vegetable seed catalogs, bought a package and planted them this spring. What a treat! They look like tiny, tiny watermelons (I just learned another name for them is Mouse Melon) and taste like perfect cucumbers.
I now know why they aren’t easily found – the vines are the most delicate things in the garden – almost like spider webs in their delicacy. The cucumbers are very small – about jelly bean size, and compared to regular cucumbers, they are kind of slow-growing and you have to have adequate trellis arrangements for them to grow on. Even with lots of trellises, I find I constantly have to pick up the vines and drape them on the trellis.
But – the flavor and texture are worth the effort. I entered the in the State Fair and won 2nd place with them – I was pretty pleased with that. Also every year I calculate the retail value of my garden production and made a startling discovery! Not surprisingly, I couldn’t find anyone locally who sells the mouse melons, so I searched online and found one retailer who sells and ships them. $57 for 4 ounces, which is about a handful!!!! If anyone wants to go into a labor intensive method of making some money growing food, this might be the one to choose!
As always, If you’ve got gardening questions, call the Jefferson Co. Cooperative Extension at 502-569-2344. Download or print the latest version of the Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky booklet at http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id128/id128.pdf This tool is invaluable as you plan your garden – no matter if you are a seasoned gardener or a first-timer. You can send questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org about your vegetables and I’ll do my best to answer, but I can’t swear that I’ll be super timely with a response – if the weather is decent I’m in the garden and nowhere near my computer!