September in the Southern California Garden
Each month has its special joys and tasks in the garden. Below is a suggested calendar for September. Remember that gardening depends on the weather, so tasks, bloom season and activities may vary from year to year.
You can download this calendar at: http://www.slideshare.net/cvadheim/september-in-the-southern-california-garden
Best of Show:
§ Flowers: Brickellia californica (sweet fragrance),*Chrysothamnus nauseosus, Ericameria ericoides, Eriogonum cinerium, Hazardia squarrosa, Helianthus annuus, Heterotheca spp., Isocoma menziesii, Solidago spp., Symphyotrichum/Aster spp.,
§ Fruits/berries/seeds: Comarostaphylis diversifolia, Eriogonum spp., *Forestiera pubescens, * Rhamnus spp., Rosa californica, Sambucus nigra cerulea (coastal), Vitis spp.
§ Foliage: evergreen trees & shrubs
§ Sort/clean/store seeds collected in spring/summer
§ Make a list of plants you want to purchase at the fall native plant sales (check local chapters of CA Native Plant Society and native plant nurseries for dates, times, plant lists)
§ Repair/install hardscape (paths, fences, walls, patio, pond, etc.)
§ Install/repair/clean irrigation: gutters, sprinklers, rain barrels, french drain, rain garden hardscape, etc.
§ Continue lawn/ivy removal – you’ll soon be done!
§ Prepare veg. garden for winter veggies; remove spent plants, fertilize, mulch
§ Start a compost bin/pile for your cuttings
§ From seed: cool-season grass plugs; winter veggie crops (see next bullet)
§ Start chilling seeds w/ long (2-3+ month) pre-plant stratification;
§ Plant out cool-season vegetables from starts/pony packs: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, other greens; keep well-watered – likely daily water in early morning or evening.
Watering: major watering month for Zone 2 & 3
§ Taper off watering all but Zone 2-3 & 3 plants. Keep vegetable gardens, containers & other Zone 3 plants watered – particularly if Santa Anna winds are predicted
§ Sharpen/repair planting & pruning tools after summer (light) pruning tasks; consider buying new/better tools if appropriate (they might even be on sale now)
§ Rake out cool-season grasses; mow or cut back if needed;
§ Prune to thin:
o Adenostoma spp.
§ Divide native bulbs/corms; store or replant
§ Grasshoppers can eat a lot at this time of year
§ Gophers may be getting desperate
§ Buy a birdbath, fountain, even just a flat container to provide a welcome drink for the birds; keep it filled
§ This is a great time to observe the fall pollinators on Buckwheats and Sunflowers – get out your camera
§ Consider adding a bird feeder to supply extra bird food this time of year (at least until your Sunflowers go to seed)
§ Pick ripe winter squash, tomatoes, peppers; enjoy a new recipe using the fresh summer vegetables
§ Pick fresh sweet corn near coast
Enjoying the garden:
§ Treat yourself to a good set of pruners
§ Enjoy fall blooming bush sunflowers; notice all the insect visitors to these wonderful plants
§ Upload your photos of birds and insects to iNaturalist (https://www.inaturalist.org/)
§ Enjoy scent of Bricklebush in late afternoon
§ Sip iced tea made from native mints; they’re cool and refreshing on hot September days