September is exciting because it is the first month to plant fall veggies! Do your final summer harvesting, preserving, clean up, chop and compost, and plant on Labor Day weekend! Start planting gift plants or bowls or baskets for the holidays! Think about next year’s garden! Let some plants continue to grow for seed saving!
October is considered by many to be the best planting month of the year – transplants of all fall crops, but specially of cabbages and artichokes!! Time to take up strawberry daughters (runners) to chill for November planting, clean up to break pest and disease cycles, plant your winter veggies, plant more veggies if you started in September!
November is bare root artichoke and strawberries, globe onions from seed, and garlic time! Strawberries in no later than Nov 5! Transplants of plants you didn’t get in during Oct, and another round of what you love the most! Some seeds will make it if it doesn’t turn too cold. Wildflowers from seed (don’t let the bed dry out).
…Specially in September, Labor Day Weekend!
Gopher barriers NOW! Before you start your fall planting, get that gopher barrier in! A perimeter 18” deep, 6” above the soil line, each section well joined to prevent access. Gophers love lettuces, chard, peas. Or plant in baskets, purchased or home made. Baskets can be in small areas, for example, just the lettuce patch in the corner, or the single basket for your celery plant. Just be sure they are deep enough for that plant.
Soil Prep is Key for fat growth! Clean away debris, spent or unhealthy plants. Lay in that compost you have been making, and a generous portion of worm castings! Add some manure to your lettuce, parsley and garlic beds, Brassica areas. Peas are a legume and make their own Nitrogen, but sometimes they can do with a tad more if that soil is depleted. Some spots may need a bit of peat moss. Or, ‘lasagna garden,’ starting with cardboard/newspaper, layer on dry/wet, that’s straw/alfalfa (high in Nitrogen) and green waste like grass, kitchen scraps, until you have a pile 18” high. At various points throw on a bit of manure, scatter some soil to inoculate it with soil organisms. If you have some Vermicomposting worms, toss some of them in too. Nature will do its work, your pile will sink down. To plant immediately, scoop open a spot, put in compost, plant your plant. The heat from the decomposing pile will get your plant off to a great start! You want humusy soil that is nutritious with great water holding capacity.
Yummy fall veggies include all your Brassicas – cabbage, brocs, Brussels sprouts, collards cauliflower, kales. Plant celery, mustard greens, spinach, chard and lettuces in shadier spots behind plants that will protect them during the September heat, but who will soon be done allowing your lettuces and friends full sun when it is cooler later on. Remember, September can be HOT. Put in some lettuce from seed, and some from transplants for an earlier harvest – two rounds at once! Parsley seeds need to be kept moist for 20 DAYS! Perfect time for cool weather lovers arugula, cilantro, curly cress. Plant peas at the base of your finishing beans. Plant Sweet Peas for Christmas bloom! Plant the all-years beets, carrots, chard, radishes, rutabagas, turnips. Decide where you will put your tomatoes next year and plant a patch of favas there!
Why favas? They are a legume and put Nitrogen in your soil. The delicious beans are, loCal, high in protein, iron and fiber. The tender tops are a wonderful steamed green. They become green manure when you chop them while young and till them into your soil. They are a great winter cover crop, producing one of the highest rates of compostable organic material per square foot! But most of all, they are said to counteract the wilts fungi!
The only weird thing is when you let your best plants’ pods dry for seed saving, you don’t harvest the pods until they dry and turn black!!! I didn’t know that early on, thought my pods were diseased, carefully cut them off and threw them away…groan. Here in Santa Barbara I got my first fava seeds at a Seed Saver event from Shepherd Farms, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. Every one of them germinated to a beautiful monster plant!
Reminder! You can buy bulk organic fava seeds at your natural foods stores! At Lazy Acres in Santa Barbara, ask for Adrianna to measure out some for you (they aren’t out on the floor) for only $1.99/lb.! Pre-sprout some to test for germination rate to be sure you have enough seeds. Here is a great short John Kohler vid on saving MONEY buying bulk seeds at natural food stores, and presprouting to plant your fall favas. Presprouting equals 100% germination and mucho time saved since favas have a notoriously low germination rate! It’s a no-brainer since it is so easy to do!
For Pests and Diseases? Drench young plants with Aspirin solution to get them off to a great start!