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LifestyleColumnistsJessica Damiano

Your September calendar of gardening chores

It's time to harvest the last of summer's

It's time to harvest the last of summer's produce. Credit: Getty Images

The tomatoes are slowing down, and the annuals are putting on a final show, but we gardeners can’t wrap it up just yet. We need to harvest and transplant to allow roots sufficient time to settle in before frost, and weed, water and clear. It’s time to plant, too, for the fall as well as next spring. Here’s a tip or chore for every day of the month to keep you on track during September.

1. If you need to reseed or renovate the lawn, this is prime time.

2. Sow lettuce, arugula, mustard greens, collards, kale, spinach and Asian greens for a cool-weather harvest.

3. Plant unpeeled individual garlic cloves, pointy ends up, 2 inches deep, 3 to 6 inches apart in full sun for next year’s crop.

4. Labor Day means it’s time for a final lawn feeding for established turf. Use a slow-release fertilizer for best results.

5. Can tomatoes, but only those that are pristine; eat the blemished ones right away.

6. Inspect evergreens for spider mites. If found, blast them off with a hose. Repeat weekly through month’s end.

7. Pull weeds out by their roots before they spread seeds.

8. Divide spring-blooming perennials, like Dutch iris and lily of the valley, now.

9. Test soil and add lime, if necessary, to raise the pH. It will work in the soil over winter.

10. Harvest grapes.

11. Most peonies should be just fine if left alone, but if yours need dividing or relocating, now is the time.

12. Remove any remaining flowers from tomato plants so they can focus energy on ripening existing fruits, and remove lower leaves to allow sunlight to reach them.

13. Get new perennials into the ground now so their roots can settle in before frost.

14. Don’t prune spring-blooming shrubs or you’ll remove buds that would become next year’s flowers.

15. If the innermost needles of evergreens are turning brown and dropping, don’t panic. It’s normal for this time of year.

16. Hurry up and get your bulb orders in; suppliers may already be running out.

17. Keep watering trees and shrubs, especially new ones, until hard frost (evergreens should continue to get drinks even during winter, in the absence of rain or snow).

18. Want winter interest? Plant witch hazel, red-twig dogwood, deciduous holly and beautyberry for now.

19. Move vacationing houseplants into the shade for a few days before rinsing off insects and bringing indoors.

20. Dig up small rosemary plants and place indoors near a sunny window for fresh herbs throughout winter.

21. Happy Rosh Hashana! Enjoy your homegrown apples dipped in local honey.

22. It’s the first day of autumn: Celebrate by making vegetable soup with the last of summer’s bounty.

23. Harvest the last of the basil, parsley, cilantro and mint, and freeze or dry.

24. When their tops flop over, dig up onions, cure in the sun three to five days, then store indoors in a cool, dry spot.

25. Wait to harvest pumpkins until they are a rich orange color. Leave several inches of stem attached to prevent premature rotting.

26. Bring in the last of the tomatoes when the first overnight frost is predicted. Fry up sliced, green ones after dredging in beaten egg, seasoned flour and corn meal.

27. Rake beds where fungal diseases occurred this year, and dispose of leaves and debris in the trash.

28. It's about time to dig up elephant ears, gladiolus corms and cannas, and store for winter. Go to for detailed instructions.

29. It’s time to plant new shrubs. Be sure to water well.

30. If crickets or other insects find their way indoors, vacuum them up and discard the bag. Avoid chemicals except in cases of real infestation.

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