September To-Do List

In the fall we spend most of our time getting plants ready for winter and ordering seeds, bare root plants, and plugs for next spring. We move any trees or shrubs left in the nursery to this spot by the old barn foundation, where they are protected from the north and west winds. They won’t be covered at all during the winter, but the protection from wind allows them to do very well here. Before we’re done, we’ll put pallets in front of them to protect them from deer. Deer like to nibble on woody plants in the winter, and so do rodents. We set traps to protect from voles and packrats. We refuse to use poison because we don’t want to affect the animals and birds that might eat the dying rodent.

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This weekend the temperature is supposed to drop into the thirties. If you haven’t already moved any tender plants inside, now is the time to do so. I always bring my pelargoniums (bedding plant geraniums) inside, because they will bloom all winter if they have bright enough light. For the first time in years I’m going to try to get a tuberose begonia to live inside during the winter. They like long days and warm temperatures, so this cold old house might not suit them. In the past I had them in the coldest room in the house, along with the geraniums and tender succulents, but this year this one is going to be in a “warm” spot in a south window. We’ll see how it does.


If you have tomato plants you might want to cover them the next few nights. If you can protect them this weekend, the temperatures warm up again and you can probably continue harvesting for a while. If you’re at a higher elevation, you could pick most of the tomatoes and let them continue to ripen inside.

Don’t forget to water your plants this fall. You want them to go into the winter well-hydrated. Plants can’t absorb water from the soil if the ground is frozen, so this time of year is crucial for success with newly planted trees and shrubs.

I’m always happy to have a cool rainy day and an excuse to stay inside by the computer to work on orders. I’ve been going through customer requests to help me decide what to order. We’re going to grow Juniper thyme again next year for one of our longtime customers and friend in Colorado Springs. There are lots of other requests on the list to sift through as I compile the orders. Here’s the table where I work.


Oh, one more thing on my to-do list…keep the humingbird feeder filled. Even though most of the hummers have left, we’ve seen strays as late as October 8. Having a place to fill up on their way south helps them have strength to make the long migration to Mexico. We saw two young hummers yesterday. This is an immature male calliope.


Hope you are having a lovely September!





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