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Let’s do a little re-capping of August. August started with a nice rainfall and the first week of August was cool and almost fall-like with cool temperatures. Then the typical hot weather came back. We had some hot and very humid days in August. BUT, we got rain every week which I find to be incredible because we can be so typically dry and some years in a water restriction situation. But, not this year. I am writing this on the last week of August and our ground is saturated. I don’t think I have ever used the word saturated to describe August. We will take it! This final week of August stayed hot and dry as we go into the first days of September.
Fall is not here officially until Wednesday, September 22. However, just like our weather people on TV, the plant industry also looks at the entire month of September as the beginning of fall.
Lawn care is at the top of my list for September. September is the beginning month for the SOD (September, October, & December) lawn care program. Now is the time to find a good quality grass seed that is good for your lawn and apply the first fall application of a lawn starter fertilizer. Once the seed and fertilizer have been applied, now is when you want to water the lawn in the morning on a daily basis. The warmth of the soil and the added moisture will have this new grass seed germinating in 7 to 10 days.
Vegetable gardening almost made it up to #1 because it is such a popular trend with homeowners recently. Now is the time to be planting your fall vegetable garden. You can plant lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, swiss chard, carrots, beets, and so many other edibles right now. All these vegetables can take the cooler temperatures and cooler soil temperatures and should produce late into the fall or early winter.
Don’t forget that vegetables can be grown in containers on a sunny balcony, deck, or porch.
September is a great month to move and divide peonies. Moving established peonies is a simple operation. Cut the stems near the ground level, and then carefully dig around and under the plant. Try to retain as much of the root system as possible. Replant the peony in a sunny, well-draining location. If you decide to divide your peonies, make sure that each division has 3 or 4 “eyes” (buds) and a good portion of the root system. Keep in mind that transplanted or divided peonies may not bloom well the first year, but should be back in full flower production by the second or third year.
Now is the time to plant flower bulbs for color next spring. Bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, and so many more can be planted now. At the time of planting, we recommend you add some ESPOMA BULB-TONE in the hole when planting. As a precaution, you can buy tulip bulbs now while the selection is excellent but you want to hold off on planting these tulip bulbs until later in November when our soil temperature is cooler. The Great Big Greenhouse prides itself on carrying one of the largest selections of bulbs in the area.
Fall container gardening deserves a blog of its own, which I am sure I will do soon. But, for now, let’s start thinking about container gardening. Container gardening has become a year-round trend. Now is the time to be thinking about the transition from summer to winter by re-doing your container gardens with plants and flowers for the fall and winter. Pansies certainly can play a major role in adding color to a fall container as does ornamental cabbage and kale. As beautiful and colorful as these plants are, we are blessed in Virginia with many more plant options for fall color and winter interest.
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