Gardening in September?
While most home growers loose steam after their tomatoes ripen and zucchini plant peters out, we at Valley Verde highly recommend everyone to utilize our beautiful San Jose weather to continue producing cool season crops like Asian greens, peas, winter flowers or any leafy green vegetable. Due to various climate issues, Californians are looking at a hotter than usual September. Meaning the best time to get your Kale, Broccoli and Garlic in the ground will be in October when the night temperature drops. In the meantime, use the rest of this month to clean up and prepare for an active Fall or Winter garden.
At the Valley Verde garden, we will be using this month to remove dead or spent plants from our beds and weed as well as adding compost or amendments to the soil. Meanwhile, our greenhouse team will also be starting all our fall and winter seedlings like cauliflowers, and cabbages and prepping the beds for direct sown seeds like radish and winter flowers.
However, there are several important tasks that we undertake to ensure a well maintained, productive garden year-round. Below are some of the tips from Valley Verde's gardeners.
Start your seedlings. Plant brassicas like broccolis or brussel sprouts and other leafy greens indoors to avoid high temps of September days. Gather your direct sow seeds and roots crops like garlic cloves or onion sets in preparation.
Visit the Master Gardener website in your location to see exactly when you can start your fall crops. Begin planning!
Jot down notes on the summer garden. Compile a list of high-yielding producers vs low quality vegetable plants that was not compatible. Take note of which plants will be returning next year. Journaling is an important step for any gardener to ensure a smooth transition year to year. Here, we find that it helps us pass down what worked for our garden and what didn't to next batch of gardeners to join our team.
Save seeds from your favorite plants. End of season is a good opportunity for home growers to save seeds for next year. Valley Verde periodically publishes these tips on our social media account so follow us for more information.
Sketch the garden layout if you haven't. This will help next summer season, when gardeners recommend crops be rotated to ensure nutritional quality of the soil. Plan and sketch a layout for fall as well.
Think about pollinators. While spring and summer is known for its abundance, wildlife will need sustenance during the cold season as well. Plan on adding several flowers to your garden to invite pollinators year-round. Some zone 9b winter examples are: Sweet Peas, Violas and Pansies, Hellebore, Snapdragons and Cockscombs, Primrose, Chrysanthemums and a large variety of California native flowers to boot!
If you are a container gardener, adjust locations to ensure planned crops are in the best place to receive sunlight.
Spring Bulbs: Now is a great time to decide what interests you and hunt down your favorite variety. Check and determine when they go into the ground.
Overgrown perennials can be trimmed and cloned. Share your cuttings with neighbors and friends.
While Fall and winter gardening is still not as popular, we at Valley Verde believe in year-round food production for our communities. From August 25th through November 4th, Valley Verde's Homeland nursery will be selling diverse seedlings at our La Finca site on West San Carlos. Join us Thursdays-Saturdays and learn more about Fall gardens from our team.