Transitioning your Summer Garden into Fall – September Tips

Potomac Garden Center of Maryland is fully prepared for your cool weather gardening. We’ve got gorgeous, healthy Fall stock ready for your picking. Here’s a few September gardening ideas and reminders for you to ease your gardening endeavors into Fall:

Outdoor Plants
• Replace your faded summer annuals and you’ll extend your gardening enjoyment.
Fall annuals like pansies and mums come in a riot of bright colors to match the changing Autumn foliage and can take the cooler weather. You may also like to add some ornamental cabbage or flowering kale, with a lovely ruffled, foliage, accent planted in containers or as edging. (wait until the hot weather is definitely gone and plant in full sun or they’ll get leggy).They come in greens, whites, pinks, roses and purples – but the color doesn’t develop until after frost or prolonged cold weather
•Plant for winter interest with sedum, grasses, Lenten Rose (blooms January to March). To attract birds leave dormant perennials such as ornamental grasses, black-eyed Susan, coneflower, and others as is over the winter. Not only do their seed heads provide structural interest, but birds love to peck for their seeds all winter. Potomac Garden Center also has a wide range of statuary that looks especially artistic in a frosted landscape.
Indoor Plants
• If you’ve been giving your indoor plants a summer vacation outside – now is the time to bring them in. Make sure you put your sun-loving plants in the shade for a couple of weeks first so they don’t go into shock when moving them to the lower light levels indoors. Always wash them off thoroughly with a good spraying of water and add a systemic insecticide to the soil to avoid bringing pests into the home and spreading to your other indoor plants.
Trees and Shrubs
• Now is the perfect time to take advantage of Potomac Garden Center’s end-of-season sales on trees and shrubs if you haven’t already. Keep them watered if conditions are dry. PGC has shredded hardwood mulch by the bag or by bulk. 2″-3″ is a good amount for most landscaping beds. Apply 3″-6″ away from the trunks to prevent disease. It will also protect those tender roots over the winter by keeping them warmer.

Vegetable Plants
• Now’s the time to plant cool season vegetable crops – and save lots of money at the grocery store. You’ll have the luxury of picking when they’re ripe and full of flavor and vitamins. If you don’t have a backyard – try growing in containers with lots of sun. Always add a generous amount of organic material to your soil for good results -try Bumper Crop soil builder. For containers we suggest Gardener’s Gold organic potting soil or Miracle Gro Potting Soil. The Maryland Home and Garden Information Center lists beets, bush and lima beans, black-eyed peas, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, collards, corn, cucumbers, peas, garlic, kale, lettuces, mustard, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips as good vegetable to plant in the Fall. Keep seedlings and transplants well watered and mulched.
• If you’re growing potatoes, you can dig them up when you start seeing signs that the plants are dying back. Don’t wash potatoes before storing because this encourages rotting. Store potatoes in a dark, cool location (35° – 40°F.)
• Tomatoes and peppers will slow down the cooler the weather gets. Keep an eye on the first predicted frost and pick the green tomatoes before then. You can ripen over the winter in a brown paper bag or enjoy some fried green tomatoes now.

• If you haven’t already – Harvest the individual leaves of tarragon, rosemary, basil, sage and other culinary herbs and dry them indoors. Herb leaves are most intensely flavored right before the plant blooms. Snip foliage in the morning after the dew has dried. To dry down herbs for storage, tie the cut stems together and hang them upside down in a dry location. Cover with a paper bag to avoid losing the shattered leaves. Store dried herbs in glass jars away from light and heat. Fresh basil can also be frozen in plastic containers. Finely chop basil and cover with olive oil. Freeze in ice cube tray, pop out and freeze in freezer bags.
• Now is a good time to propagate herbs by stem cuttings. Cut six-inch stem pieces and remove all but the top leaves. Dip the lower ends in rooting hormone and insert the stems into a moist and loose, soil-less media.  Cover the pot with a perforated plastic bag and keep outside in a protected location. Pull gently on the stems in two weeks to test for root growth. Pot the cuttings up individually after they start growing and bring them indoors for use during the winter. Basil roots so easily you can just sit it in a glass of water.

If your outdoor herbs are a little fried after this hot summer PGC has tables of fresh herb plants for you to choose from. Fragrant herbs make for pleasant picking at a sunny kitchen window or sunroom.

Hardwood firewood is piled high at Potomac Garden Center both in Urbana and North Potomac Maryland! Get your order in now for the cool weather ahead and you can mark another thing off your home and garden to-do list this Fall! May your Autumn Garden be the most beautiful ever – we’re always here to help at Potomac Garden Center.


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