I saw my first hummingbird yesterday which lets me know it officially September and summer is coming to a close. As summer wanes into fall here are a few things to look for and how to wind down your summer garden.
In September through October look for migrating hummingbirds. These are a treat to watch as they flit from flower to flower in search of nectar. There’s no need to buy hummingbird feeders when a few nectar plants added to the landscape will add beauty and a buffet for our feathered friends. Fall is a great time for planting, so consider adding these hummingbird attractors to your landscape: milkweed, pentas, salvias, lantana, vitex, hamelia (hummingbird bush), buddleia, bottle brush, and cape honeysuckle to name a few.
Make use of the harvest Moon to harvest, harvest, harvest! The last heat waves should have a few things producing prolifically, so keep check on vegetable plants daily to look for produce. Okra should particularly be producing like mad, so check for pods every day. If pods get too large, they get woody and are too tough to eat. However, you can let these dry and save the seeds to plant next year. Pods grow quickly, so a small one on one day often yields one ready to pick the next day. Pods around three to four inches that yield slightly when squeezed are ready for the table. Pods are the same color as stems, making it easy for okra to hide. Look closely so that you don’t miss any of these southern favorites. If you are not a fan of okra, try it fresh out of the garden and I dare say you may change your mind! Consider pickling or canning extra goods for later use. For more ideas, see What To Do With All Those Veggies posted earlier this summer.
You may notice squash plants that suffered in mid-summer coming back to life in September. If this is the case, feed and groom the plants and prepare for more rounds of squash until the first frost hits. The same is true for cucumbers and zucchini.
Take advantage of the first cool fronts to do end-of-summer observation. Start by checking the health of your plants to begin making plans for fall. What will need pruning? Are there any plants that will need replacing? Note what is blooming now and decide if you want to get more late summer bloomers next year. Are there any trees you’d like to plant? Make a list of these so that you can begin shopping for them. Clean out old dying, and high-maintenance plants to make way for new-easy care varieties. Texas native are always great choices because they thrive well with little care.
Most of all, enjoy the last few days of summer in your garden.
On the Grow is a garden coaching service launched by Janice Brown to teach people how to be successful gardeners in the sometimes difficult, Gulf Coast climate. On the Grow provides garden education for the home gardener, children in outdoor classrooms, neighbors in community gardens, and employees in workplace gardens. Whether you want a new idea for a girls’ night out, a new way to engage children in nature, or want to implement a fresh wellness program in your company, On the Grow is here for you. Your coach will take you step by step teaching you the basics, while presenting you with a fresh perspective by helping you experience the healing benefits of gardening. Our mission at On the Grow is to help everyone experience the joy of a garden and build a greater connection to Mother Earth. Connect with One The Grow on Facebook and Twitter!