Your annuals might be getting ready to call it a day, but you aren’t allowed to rest: Weeds need to be pulled now, lest they come back in spring. There’s planting and transplanting to do, plus clearing and cleaning vegetable beds and minding these 30 tips and chores.
1. It’s time to renovate the lawn (or at least seed bare patches).
2. Last call to plant starts of lettuce, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, mustard greens, collards, kale, Asian greens, radishes, beets and spinach for fall harvests.
3. Happy Labor Day! Fertilize established lawns one last time (but not a newly planted one) with a slow-release product.
4. Divide and transplant peonies, but only if overgrown or if it seems otherwise necessary.
5. Pull weeds up by their roots before they disperse seeds.
6. Before they fade completely, take cuttings of coleus and begonias, and nurture indoors until spring.
7. Inspect evergreens (especially dwarf Alberta spruce) for spider mites. If found, blast them with hose water and repeat every week this month.
8. No need to worry if you notice the innermost needles of evergreens turning brown and dropping; that’s normal.
9. Shanah Tovah! For a special Rosh Hashanah treat, dip homegrown apple slices in local honey.
10. Plant separated, unpeeled garlic cloves, pointy ends up, 2 inches deep, 3 to 6 inches apart in a sunny spot for next summer’s crop.
11. If you haven’t already, place orders for spring bulbs to be planted next month.
12. Keep watering trees and shrubs, especially those planted this year, until hard frost.
13. Plant ferns in shady garden spots.
14. It’s time to divide spring-bloomers, like lily of the valley, perennial phlox and Dutch iris.
15. Harvest grapes!
16. Bring in tender pond plants and place by a sunny window. Keep them moist until spring.
17. Avoid pruning spring-flowering shrubs. Doing so now would remove buds and result in fewer blooms next year.
18. If tomato plants are still producing blossoms, remove them so the plant can focus energy on ripening existing fruit before frost.
19. Before bringing plants indoors, rinse them well to remove hitchhiking insects.
20. Dig up onions when their tops flop over, then cure in the sun for three to five days; store indoors in a cool, dry spot as you use them.
21. Summer is officially over. Make a fall soup with the remaining vegetables from the garden.
22. When outdoor insects like crickets seek warmth inside, vacuum them and discard the bag. Resort to chemicals only for true infestations.
23. Plant deciduous holly, witch hazel, red-twig dogwood and beautyberry for winter interest.
24. Plant or relocate shrubs and water deeply.
25. Cut down the last of the basil, parsley and mint, and freeze or dry.
26. Rake beds where mildew, fungus or black spot surfaced this year, and dispose of leaves and debris in the trash.
27. Dig up elephant ears, gladiolus corms and cannas, and store for winter. Visit newsday.com/gardening101 for details.
28. Bring in the last of the tomatoes when the first overnight frost is predicted. If they’re green, slice, dredge in beaten egg, then seasoned flour and cornmeal, and fry.
29. Harvest pumpkins when they are a rich orange color. Leave several inches of stem attached to prevent premature rotting.
30. Start planting new trees when leaves in your neighborhood begin to change color.