Planting Mums and other Good Ideas for September
Fall is a time for taking stock, and battening down the hatches for winter. But it is also a great time to plant perennials, shrubs, and trees. In this issue, we’ll let you know what chores need to be done to prepare for the next growing season, and we’ll also fill you in on planting mums, the world’s most popular perennials, which we have on sale until September 25. Order before then and get a 15% discount by entering the code FM09 at checkout.
Your Farmer’s Almanac
First to the chores….one interesting one that is often neglected is to write down what worked and what didn’t work in your garden this year. If you can figure out why and write it down, that’s even better. By taking these kinds of gardening notes, you’ll be able to learn from your mistakes and won’t have to rely on memory to reproduce your successes. Get yourself a notebook and start your own “farmer’s almanac.”
Out With the Old
Now is the time to pull up what’s left of crops you’ve harvested. Pests and disease spores can overwinter in the residue, so it’s best to get rid of it now. Likewise in flower gardens, you’ll want to remove any dead plants or plants infected with powdery mildew. Otherwise, the infections will recur in the spring. Likewise for potted plants, plus you’ll also want to remove any used (and thus depleted) potting soil. If you were using any ceramic pots, prevent them from breaking by putting them away in a place where they won’t freeze.
Grass grows quickly in the brisk fall weather, so you’ll want to keep mowing your lawn until that first freeze. Position you blade to be at least 2 inches high, and if you have partially decomposed roots and stems matting up your lawn from previously cuttings, you’ll want to get rid of them also. Naturally, you’ll want to rake your lawn regularly to prevent the autumn leaves from suffocating your grass. By the way, we have a new product called a Lawn Sweeper that really makes raking a pleasure. (More about this next month.) If your lawn has any bare spots, there is no better time to reseed. Many people also fertilize their lawn in September.
Compost What You Can
This is also a fine time to start a new compost pile with your grass clippings and the leaves that have started—or will soon start—to fall. If you shred those leaves with your lawnmower, they’ll break down faster, and be more absorbent. This will increase their nutritive value by making their carbon more available. It also gives them the capacity to soak up excess water. Some people with low levels of carbon in their soil keep a garbage pail full of shredded leaves in their garage, and use it as garden mulch. You can also compost any dead but otherwise healthy plants, as well as weeds as long as they don’t have seed heads.
Add Fall Color
Now we come to the fun part: planting perennials! The perennials you want to plant are the kind which bloom in the fall, so you won’t have to wait until spring to add some much-needed color to your garden. The most overwhelming popular of these are mums, which, as we said at the start, are on sale until September 25th.
Both our Belgian Mums and Yoder Mums will do well in the fall and winter, with the Belgian being the most hardy. If you live in the southern part of the country (hardiness zones 7,8, 9) you could opt for Yoder, which are the most popular of all the mums we sell, while people in the northern regions (hardiness zones 4,5,6) will do best with Belgian, which are also wonderful.
The Belgian Mid Mums and Yoder Mid Mums should burst into bloom next week and continue blooming through the beginning of October, while the Belgian Late Mums and Yoder Late Mums bloom in early October and stay in bloom throughout the month. Lighter colors bloom a little bit earlier, while the darker reds and purples bloom are the last to bloom, so you might want to pick a variety of colors so that there’s always something opening up. We ship all of our mums in 8 inch pots, so they’re all ready to go, and are guaranteed to arrive healthy and ready to plant. Use the code FM09 at checkout to receive your 15% discount.
If your mums arrive in full bloom, know that, unlike certain other flowers, it’s fine to transplant them. Just be sure to give them plenty of water at the beginning. At the same time, you might want to order some to keep in pots, as they make attractive additions to decks, porches, and patios. In this case, water them sparingly to avoid root rot. The only place mums won’t flourish is indoors—they need full sun to keep from becoming yellow and droopy.
Finally a word about asters—these are also a great choice right now if you can find a variety that has yet to bloom. We’re happy to report that we have one: the gorgeous blue Aster Peter III which blooms in late September. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up and see these lovely flowers? So, remember, if you don’t want to limit yourself to mums, there’s always a morning aster! (snare drum roll, cymbal crash).
In our upcoming newsletters, we’ll give you more tips on dealing with fall leaves, and we’ll go into detail about tree planting and tree care in general. Until then, be well, and enjoy the change of seasons. As summertime slips away, we can all look forward to the delightful sights, sounds, and smells of autumn.