Monday, September 1, 2008

September Newsletter

Dear Gardeners,

Ah, those are words I haven’t written in a while! It’s good to be back. Like the end of a great vacation, it is good to get into the swing of things again! So it is with September.

Yes, we desert gardeners take summer hiatus while the rest of North America gets their hands dirty and their fresh, juicy veggies. As the growing season for others winds down, ours begins! So, throw your garden gloves through the washing machine, rinse off your trowels, unpack your saved seeds from last year, and let’s get gardening!

The fall garden is the most productive time of the year for us desert dwellers. So, you have some work cut out for you. Here is your September checklist:

1. REMOVE THE RIFRAFF. If your yard and garden have been hit with the same summer monsoons that mine has, then you probably have an abundance of vegetation… but not necessarily the kind you want. It’s time to de-weed. When weeding, try to get the root removed completely. If you let them lie, you will be repopulating your lawn and your neighbors’ when they go to seed, send up new runners, or layer themselves to propagate descendants. I don’t put my weeds in my compost, because I don’t want them to come back to haunt me. Bag ‘em and green can ‘em.

2. MOWING AND SOWING. It’s time to decide what you are going to do about a winter lawn. Are you going to plant winter grass? Are you going to let the Bermuda go yellow for the cool months? What ya gonna do? I know there are a few who receive this newsletter who are new to the desert. For you, I will mention that there are two lawn seasons here. Summer and Winter. Two types of grass, two planting times, one full year of greenness. Many choose to take a cool-season vacation from mowing. Personally, I would rather do the opposite and let the grass die in summer and mow when it is nice outside! But at our house, we opt to plant a winter lawn. I love the option of opening Christmas presents on the grass in 70 degrees!! So, decide now if you are going to overseed your lawn for winter, and if so, make arrangements to get started! *more on this under grasses in the Suggestions section*

3. SEEDS AND SWEDES. Okay, so not really Swedes. A lot of bulbs come from Holland… but it rhymed! Do I get credit for that? Either way, it is time to start planting seeds for the veggie, flower, and herb garden as well as thinking ahead for your winter bulbs. Make sure you have fresh seeds packed for this year (it usually says on the back of the packet), and when you buy new seeds, be mindful not to get them hot. This means if you stop at the grocery store on the way home from the garden center, take those babies in with you! And, it doesn’t hurt to store them in the fridge when you get home until you are ready to plant them.

4. GO WILD! It’s time to spread your spring wildflower seeds!

5. MAKE A PLAN & BUDGET WISELY. If you are a plant geek like me, this is the time of year when you have to really have some self-control to prevent yourself from buying every interesting-looking item in the garden center and ordering hundreds of dollars worth of seeds. Not to mention at the end of the month we will be seeing many bulbs available that are too breathtaking for words!! The solution? Don’t decide in the garden center what you are going to buy. Create a garden plan, account how many/what size you need, compose a shopping list, and stick to it. Additionally formulate a budget like you would for anything else. This way if you do find an irresistible plumeria at Home Depot, you can decide what items from your list will have to be scratched in order to remain within budget. Afterall, the kids won’t be as thrilled with Wandering Jew at Christmas as I would be. A true Garden Plan is not a list of things you want to grow, but a map of their placement in your space. Sometimes what we want to grow, is not the same as what we have time, space, and budget to grow.

6. THE WRITER’S MIND NEVER WHITHERS. Journal your experiences this year in the garden to remind you next year what worked and what didn’t so much. It is also great to write down, blog, or otherwise document your garden plantings to remind you later what those little green sprigs are coming out of the ground. It is surprising to me what can be forgotten in just a few short weeks!

7. MORE FUN TO COME. September is busy in the desert. Especially for vegetable and herb growers! But October is even busier because it is time to plant and prune everything else. So, get ready! You have your work cut out for you!

I am excited for the fall garden, and I hope you are, too! Please, if you have any suggestions, tips, or recommendations, send them to me at or leave me a comment on the blog. I’d also love to share pictures of your gardens’ success, so send those along, as well!

Hands dirty,

(Below you will find my monthly itemized suggestions.)

3 Garden Reflections: said...

Awww, I love all your gardening comments. Just wanted to pop by and thank you for the sweet comments about my artwork on this & that & other stuff. Actually, the Cheese Whiz painting is one that initially got me signed with a big agent-she's near and dear to my heart. Hope to see you around again. I've got at least 3 Garden themed paintings. Weed it and Weep is one :)
p.s. I did one huge tomato in an antique wash tub. That was it for my gardening. But they were delish and an old variety Beef Master. Mmmmm. But, it's hard for me to let them get red because I will do just about anything for a fried green tomato. YUMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Hicks family said...

Can I buy red wigglers locally (I live in Gilbert)or do I need to order them?

WishTrish said...

There is a red wiggler farm on the west side of town, but I buy mine on eBay. It's cheaper than the gas, unless you are already going there. I can't remember the name of the farm off of the top of my head, but I could find out for you if you really are interested in driving out past Tolleson...