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Master Gardener: September gardening notes

One thing I noticed this year was that plant inventories were tight in stores and plants that one might like to put in for a fall garden were not available. Fewer commercial growers dictate what’s out there for sale and how much. It’s expensive for them to grow and market their inventory so they concentrate on the plant types most in demand. Starting plants from seed assures you have what you want to plant going into the fall garden season. In my case the compost heap with its scraps yielded me volunteer tomato plants that went into the late garden.

Sow seeds or set out transplants of lettuce, kale, mustard, spinach, turnips, cabbage and collards this month.

Remember when harvesting out of edible landscapes to especially do a through cleaning of vegetables, because you’re more likely to use chemicals for control of disease and pests in such beds.

This is the month for harvesting pine straw as it drops from the trees. Collect this natural mulch and set aside for later use.

You can avert many disease problems next growing season by clean up of rotten fruit and other detritus under peach, plum, apple and pear trees. Rose beds and ornamentals like camellias benefit from having their mulch replaced with fresh material.

Mums and marigolds are good plants to add to the landscape as we go into fall. Not to late to cut back perennials such as verbena, salvia, artemisia, veronica, etc., for a second flush of blooms. Feed with a 20-20-20 fertilizer to spur growth.

What’s in bloom in the landscape: sedums, sunflowers, ironweed, ageratum, autumn clematis, goldenrod and cardinal flower. Yet to bloom: asters, tickseed sunflower and joe-pye weed.

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