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Falling Into Autumn: Your September To-Do List for Gardening in Houston

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Summer is waning and the days are getting shorter. Although it is still hot here in Houston as we soon welcome the official start of Autumn on September 23rd, we can be thankful that up to this point we haven’t had a blistering hot summer as we have seen in years past. The Heavens have also been good to us gardener’s this season and given us the best gift of all, pure rain.Crotons at Buchanan's

Although the heat is still lingering, we know it’s time to shift gears and start thinking about our fall garden when we begin to see pumpkins, chrysanthemums and crotons appear at the nursery. I love this transition between summer and fall. Although it overwhelms me to think Christmas will be here before we know it, there’s a lot of celebration and festivity between now and then!

This time of year in the garden I’m dead heading my Black-eyed Susan’s and other cut flowers grown from seed. They all end up tossed back into the garden to reseed for next year. I’m cutting back gangly looking arms from my climbing roses and pulling out crispy annuals that have seen better days. The vegetable patch is also getting a major ‘cleanse.’ While the eggplants are taking off and the peppers are in their full glory hanging like ornaments from their bushes, the nasturtiums and parsley are all but dried herbs. These too get churned into the dirt to provide added nutrients to the soil.

It’s time to think ahead to what is one of the best times to grow vegetables in Houston: fall. The transition in the veggie patch means it’s time to renew the soil and refresh our minds as to what grows best here in the coming season. What better way to get rejuvenated about all the possibilities than by attending one of Buchanan’s free workshops offered throughout the month? Come and get inspired!

We’ve outlined some basic suggestions for the month of September as we shift into these cooler months.

Refresh Container Gardens: Revitalize your containers with fresh color and vibrant textures. Refresh container gardens with snapdragons, dianthus, mums, marigolds, petunias, lobelia, crotons & more.

Watering: Maintain watering on newly planted seeds and transplants. Use a rain wand to avoid disturbing plants with small root systems. On St. Augustine and other lawns, water well but less often. With shorter days and cooler nights, begin to reduce the amount of water applied as needed. Avoid watering in the evenings if possible to prevent fungal diseases.

Hummingbirds are migrating! : You’ll start to see these little beauties at your feeders and natural nectar sources. Keep feeders clean, filled, and in a shady area to encourage visitors. Natural nectar sources for hummingbirds include Turk’s cap, hamelia, shrimp plant, firespike, salvia, lobelia (cardinal flower), Mexican oregano, Pride of Barbados, anisacanthus and cigar plants. You can also make your own nectar!

Recipe for Hummingbird Nectar

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup of granulated sugar, stir until it dissolves.

Allow to cool and fill feeders. Keep excess sealed in refrigerator. No need to add red food coloring.

tomatoes at buchanansVegetable Transplants: Get your transplants in your fall vegetable garden. Early September is your last chance to get tomatoes and peppers in the ground. We have an incredible selection right now, click here to see what varieties we have. Cool-season vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage, kale, mustard, lettuce, and kohlrabi can be planted September through January. Look for seeds or transplants to add to your garden and as always, try something you’ve never tried before!

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch: Mulching keeps plant roots cooler, keeps weed seeds at bay and conserves water. Apply 3” deep around trees and shrubs. Add compost around annuals, herbs, and vegetables. Do not mound mulch against the base of a plant, this only invites insect and fungus to come in contact with the crown of plants

Pests: Blast off sucking insects (aphids, mealybugs, etc.) with water and/or spray with insecticidal soap. Leaf miners are active on citrus, they will not kill your citrus, leave alone or alternate treatments of spinosad and neem to keep them at bay.  BT will get rid of cabbage loopers. Insects such as chinch bugs and fungal diseases on lawns (grey leaf spot) are two things to watch out for. Organic treatment products can be found in our plant care shed.

Questions about gardening in September? Contact us at (713) 861-5702, we’re happy to help! And stop by the nursery to see what we currently have available.