The harvest is slowing and the annuals are fading, but we gardeners can’t rest quite yet (when do we ever?). It’s time to prepare for the change in seasons: Relocate shrubs and perennials so their roots have time to settle in before frost; give trees extra TLC to help make it through winter; weed so fewer pests sprout in spring; and gather up the last of the fruit, vegetable and herbs. And that’s just a start — it’s also time to plant! Here are 30 chores to keep you on track
1. Now is the best time to rejuvenate or reseed the lawn.
2. Fertilize established lawns (not new ones) one last time for the year. Use a slow-release product for best results.
3. Continue to water trees and shrubs, especially newly planted ones, until hard frost.
4. Inspect evergreens (especially dwarf Alberta spruce) for spider mites. If found, blast them with hose water and repeat every week this month.
5. Don’t prune spring-flowering shrubs now or you’ll remove buds — and they will be flowerless next year.
6. If the innermost needles of evergreens are turning brown and dropping, relax. It’s normal for this time of year.
7. Evergreens should continue to get watered, especially during winter dry spells.
8. Plant witch hazel, red-twig dogwood, deciduous holly and beautyberry now, and you’ll have something nice to look at over winter.
9. Test soil and add lime, if necessary. It will work to raise pH by spring.
10. Divide and transplant overgrown peonies.
11. Take 2- to 6-inch cuttings of coleus and begonias (just below a node), place indoors in a glass of water (change daily) until roots sprout, then plant in soil in a pot and grow by a window until spring.
12. Pick late-summer blooms from the cutting garden for a thoughtful Grandparents’ Day — it’s Sunday — token.
13. Remove faded annuals and perennials. Not only does a tidy garden look better, it discourages pests and diseases from settling in.
14. Place final orders for spring bulbs for planting next month.
15. Divide and transplant spring bloomers, such as lily of the valley, perennial phlox and Dutch iris.
16. Plant perennials now to allow time for them to become established before frost hits.
17. Dig up gladiolus, elephant ears and cannas.
18. Divide day lilies and transplant into garden gaps.
19. Cut down basil and parsley, remove leaves, rinse and dry in a single layer on paper towels overnight, then freeze in zippered bags.
20. Plant (unpeeled) garlic cloves, pointy ends up, 2 inches deep and 3 to 6 inches apart in full sun. They’ll come up in spring.
21. Harvest grapes.
22. Sow lettuce, arugula, mustard green, collard, kale, spinach and Asian green seeds directly into the garden for a fall harvest.
23. If tomato plants are still producing flowers, remove them so the plant can divert energy to ripening fruit before/ frost.
24. Sept. 23 is the first day of autumn. Make a summer soup with the last of the garden’s produce. Don’t forget the herbs!
25. Pot up small rosemary plants and keep indoors near a sunny window for offseason supply.
26. Enjoy homegrown apple slices dipped in local honey.
27. When their tops flop over, dig up onions, cure in the sun three to five days, then store indoors in a cool, dry spot.
28. Bring in tender pond plants and keep them moist near a sunny window until spring.
29. Don’t let weeds go to seed! Pull them now — by their roots — and dispose in the trash.
30. Move vacationing houseplants into shade for a few days, then rinse off insects and bring indoors until next summer.