Alicia DeVore

September means many different things depending on where you live in the world. For those who are looking at fall, cool season weather, you are needing to get your garden planted soon if it is September to enjoy greens, lettuces, and produce throughout the winter months.

Here is a list of September gardening: 5 easygoing tasks for a beautiful kitchen garden. Use this list to keep gardening simple and successful this fall season. Make sure to follow so that you can continue enjoying growing your own food throughout the year.

5 tasks to do in sept garden with someone cutting with cutters

Gardening in September

Gardening in the winter survival early fall differs from other times next year’s buds of the year in several ways:

  1. Transitioning and Planting: In early fall, you can start transitioning your garden from summer crops to cool-season crops. Remove any spent or dying plants and prepare the soil for new plantings. Cool-season crops like lettuce, spinach, kale, radishes, and carrots can be planted in early fall for a late-season harvest.

  2. Maintenance and Care: As temperatures start to cool down in early fall, you may need to adjust your watering schedule. Monitor the moisture levels in the soil and water accordingly. Additionally, keep an eye out for pests and diseases that may thrive in the changing weather conditions.

  3. Soil Management: Fall is an excellent time to enrich your soil for the next growing season. Consider adding compost or organic matter to improve the soil structure and fertility. You can also consider planting cover crops, such as clover or rye, to protect the soil from erosion and add nutrients when turned under in the spring.

    To check out how to grow in a permaculture-style garden, check out this blog post.
  4. Planning for Spring: Early fall is a good time to plan ahead for the next growing season especially with a garden planner like this article talks about. Take note of what worked well in your garden and what didn’t. Consider making adjustments to your layout, crop selection, or planting schedule based on your observations and experiences. You will be planting the same types of crops in spring as you did in fall.

  5. Weather Considerations: Early fall weather can vary depending on your location. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared for temperature fluctuations, frosts, or even early snowfall in some regions. Consider using protective measures like row covers or cold frames to extend the growing season for certain crops.

hello september with spots

By understanding these differences and taking appropriate actions, you can make the most of gardening in early fall and continue to enjoy a productive and thriving garden. And for more gardening in 10 minutes check out this post HERE.

5 Easy Going TASKS for Kitchen Garden in September

There are tasks within each of the larger 5 tasks that will take about 10 minutes in two raised beds or one smaller area in your growing area. Add more minutes if your space is larger for your garden in September.

yellow flowers with pumpkins and purple flowers

ONE: Prepping Garden Beds

To prepare your raised beds for a September fall garden, there are a few important steps to follow.

First, start by clearing out any remaining summer crops that have finished producing. Remove weeds, spent plants, and debris from the bed to create a clean slate. Set a timer and do in 10 minutes.

Next, assess the soil condition and amend it as needed as a different day task for 10 minutes. Incorporate organic matter such as a compost pile to improve fertility and structure. This will provide essential nutrients for your fall vegetables. Consider conducting a soil test to determine if any specific nutrient deficiencies need to be addressed.

Finally, before planting, add a layer of mulch to help regulate soil temperature, retain moisture, and suppress weed growth. By prepping your raised beds in September, you’ll create an optimal environment for your fall veggies to thrive in just 10 minutes a day. Check out this article on using permaculture practices to make gardening even easier.

mulch with greenery and a person in soil with gloves

TWO: What to Plant in Vegetable Garden

When planning your vegetable growing space for fall, there are several options to consider. Always plant things you actually like to eat. Don’t waste your time, space, or resources.

Here are some popular vegetables to plant for a fall harvest: arugula, mustard greens, spinach, turnips, radishes, baby carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, peas, Brussels sprouts, beans, cabbage, leeks, and more.

These vegetables thrive in cooler temperatures and can be sown in late summer or early fall, depending on your location and when your first frost happens if you get a frost at all. Plant your seeds and transplants 6-8 weeks before the first frost. This will give the veggies a time to grow and establish the roots.

carrot growing in soil

THREE: Water Efficiently

Maintaining the right amount of water for your fall growing space is crucial, especially with the changing temperatures. As the weather cools down, plants tend to require less water compared to the hot summer months.

However, it’s important not to neglect watering altogether. Fall vegetables still need consistent moisture to establish strong root systems and promote healthy growth.

With the arrival of fall, there may be more rainfall, but it’s essential to monitor the amount of precipitation and supplement it as needed. Using mulch around your plants can help retain moisture and reduce evaporation.

Regularly check the soil moisture levels by sticking your finger into the ground near the plant roots. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. Striking a balance between overwatering and underwatering is key. These tasks can be done in 10 minutes increments.

FOUR: Trim Trees and Shrubs

Trimming trees and shrubs in the fall is an important part of maintaining a healthy growing space with your perennials.

There are several reasons why trimming during this season is beneficial. First, trimming in the fall helps remove dead or diseased branches before winter sets in. This prevents the spread of diseases and pests, ensuring the overall well-being of the plants.

Additionally, trimming in the fall allows for better air circulation and sunlight penetration, as deciduous trees lose their leaves. This promotes healthier growth and reduces the risk of fungal infections.

To trim trees and shrubs in the fall, start by removing any dead or damaged branches. Use clean, sharp pruning shears or loppers to make clean cuts just outside the branch collar, without leaving stubs. Avoid excessive pruning, as it can stress the plants. It’s also important to research specific pruning techniques for different tree and shrub species, as each may have unique requirements. Take 10 minutes every few days to trim a few more shrubs or trees.

person clipping stems with gloves

FIVE: Reflection Time of Summer Garden

Reflecting on your summer growing space at the end of the season before planting for fall is important for several reasons:

  1. Evaluation and Learning: Taking the time to reflect allows you to evaluate the success and challenges of your summer growing space. By identifying what worked well and what didn’t, you can learn from your experiences and make improvements for the next growing season.

    Check out this article on how to use a garden journal for success.
  2. Planning and Adjustments: Reflecting on your summer helps you make informed decisions for your fall planting. You can assess which plants thrived in your specific conditions and consider including them in your fall garden. Additionally, you can determine if any adjustments need to be made, such as improving quality or addressing pest or disease issues.

  3. Soil Preparation: Reflecting on your summer provides an opportunity to assess the condition. You can amend it with organic material to improve its fertility and structure before planting for fall. This ensures that the soil is nutrient-rich and ready to support the growth of fall crops.

    Soil test to use HERE.
  4. Weed and Pest Control: Reflecting on your summer helps you identify any weed or pest issues that may have arisen. Taking measures to control weeds and pests before planting for fall can help prevent their recurrence and protect your new crops.

    Using permaculture style gardening is effective with weed and pest control. Learn more about permaculture HERE.
  5. Maximizing Harvest: Reflecting on your summer allows you to determine the timing and success of your vegetable harvest. This knowledge can help you plan your fall garden to ensure a continuous supply of fresh produce.

Check out this blog post on using a garden journal to more effectively garden all year.

Specific September Garden Chores

wagon with leaves and garden tools

Here is a list of specific chores to be done for the vegetable and flower garden only:

  1. Weed control: Regularly remove perennial weeds to ensure they don’t compete with your plants for nutrients and water. Use a garden fork to rake leaves and debris and add to the compost pile all the fallen leaves. Do not add the grass. Put all weeds, including grass into the greens bin.

  2. Watering: Monitor the moisture levels and give adequate water your vegetables as needed. Be mindful of weather conditions and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

  3. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch or compost around your vegetable plants to help retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate temperature.

  4. Pest management: Keep an eye out for common garden pests like caterpillars, aphids, and slugs. Use organic pest control methods, such as handpicking, companion planting, or introducing beneficial insects, to manage them. Once the cool season comes, you will have less garden pests.

  5. Disease prevention: Regularly inspect your vegetable plants for signs of diseases like powdery mildew or blight. Remove diseased foliage and add to your yard waste, don’t put in your compost.

  6. Pruning and training: Trim back any overgrown or damaged branches to promote better airflow and prevent the spread of diseases.

  7. Harvesting: Regularly harvest ripe vegetables to encourage continuous production and prevent over-maturity or spoilage for as long as possible before the cold.

  8. Fertilizing: Provide necessary nutrients to your vegetable plants by applying organic fertilizers or compost.

  9. Crop rotation: Plan your crop rotations to avoid planting the same family of vegetables in the same spot year after year. This helps prevent the buildup of pests and diseases and maintains health. If you plant many different crops in one area, than do a soil test to see what you need to add and you won’t need to rotate the crops. This will help when you plant next spring.

    This type of care for your garden can be explored more with permaculture style gardening. Check out more info. about this type of gardening in this post HERE.
  10. Clean up: At the end of the season, remove spent plants and debris that spread disease. Compost healthy plant material and discard any diseased plants to prevent overwintering pathogens and unwanted pests in your September garden.


mulching with hay

What are good things to plant in September?

Here is a list of good plants to consider planting in September:

  1. Cool-season vegetables: Crops like lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and radishes thrive in cooler temperatures and can be planted in September for a fall harvest.

  2. Bulbs: September is an ideal time to plant spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths. These bulbs need a period of cold dormancy to bloom beautifully in the spring.

  3. Perennial Plants: Many perennial flowers can be successfully planted in September. Examples include asters, mums, sedums, and cool season grasses with ornamental grasses or plant shrubs. These plants establish their root systems during the fall and will reward you with colorful blooms next year. Add perennials at this time.

  4. Herbs: Cool-season herbs like parsley, cilantro, chives, and dill can be sown in September. Harvest herbs during the milder temperatures of fall.

  5. Cover crops: Consider planting cover crops like clover, rye, or vetch to enrich the soil, suppress weeds, and prevent erosion during the winter months. This is particularly beneficial if you’re not planning on growing anything specific in that area during the colder season.

Is September too late to start a garden?

fence with fall leaves on the ground

September can still be a perfect time to start a garden, depending on your location and the specific plants you want to grow. In September, you will have cool nights and moderate temperatures. While it may be too late for certain warm season crops like tomatoes in colder regions, there are still plenty of options.

In milder climates or zones with longer growing seasons and warmer winter, there is still time to plant cool season crops such as carrots, greens, and root vegetables.

It’s important to consider the average first frost date in your area and choose plants that have enough time to mature before the onset of cold winter weather. Additionally, starting with transplants or seedlings rather than seeds can give your plants a head start active growing season. You can start as the autumn leaves are falling before the first hard frost or the ground freezes.

Overall, September can offer opportunities for gardening, but it’s crucial to research specific plants and take your local climate into account. And if you want to see what to do in August for your garden, check out this post HERE. And to know what to do in the winter months for your garden, check out this post.

pumpkins on porch with flowers

What should I do in my garden at the end of summer?

As summer draws to a close, there are a few important tasks you can undertake in your space to ensure a smooth transition into the next season.

First, take stock of your plants and remove any spent flowers or withering foliage. This will help promote new growth and prevent diseases from spreading to indoor plants growing indoors.

Next, consider pruning any overgrown branches annual flowers or plants to maintain their shape and encourage healthy growth.

Additionally, it’s a good time to assess moisture levels and adjust your watering routine accordingly.

Finally, start planning for the upcoming fall season by researching and preparing for cool season crops and any necessary soil amendments. By taking these steps, you can wrap up summer and set the stage for a successful fall garden and winter.

When can I plant spring flowering bulbs?

The ideal time to plant many plants generally falls between late summer and early fall, depending on your climate zone.

In colder zones (1-4), aim to plant bulbs in late August to early September for future flower beds, while for zones 5-7, planting can be done from September to early November. Warmer zones (8-10) should plant spring bulbs in late November to early December. It’s important to research specific bulb types and consider your local conditions for more precise guidelines. For more help with gardening in winter, check out this blog post.

Having these beautiful flowers next spring will bring wonderful pollinating insects. For more information on growing a successful garden, check out this blog post.

5 tasks for september gardening for kitchen gardens with little boy in red hat watering

When should I plant fruit trees and berries?

Late September is also considered an excellent time for planting fruit trees. The cool weather and moist soil create favorable conditions for root development grass growth and establishment for newly planted trees.

When it comes to berries, they are typically planted in early spring or late fall, so that they will have time to root before the cold. 

It’s important to select the correct site for planting fruit trees and berries, considering factors like sunlight exposure, dirt quality, and drainage.

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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