September garden tasks for Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa are varied during this seasonal transition. From getting the most out of the vegetable garden to taking care of the lawn and preparing for colder months, there is much to do in September in the upper Midwest.
Vegetable Gardening To-Do List for September
This is one of the best months of the year in the upper Midwest for vegetable gardeners. You’ve been harvesting all summer, but now is the big payoff. Here’s what to do now to harvest, extend, and prepare for winter:
- Thin any seedlings you started last month for a fall harvest.
- Early in the month you can still get away with starting some cool weather veggies like chard, kale, spinach, and radishes.
- Harvest garlic and onions once the tops have turned yellow and fallen.
- Potatoes and winter squashes may also be ready depending on exactly where you are in the region. Dry and cure before storing for the winter.
- Harvest and preserve the last of your herbs before the first frost destroys them.
- Keep an eye on the weather and cover up warm-season veggies that remain if an early frost is on its way.
- Collect and store seeds for next year.
September Lawn Care
This is a great time in the region to take care of your lawn and prepare for lusher, greener turn in the spring:
- Keep watering through the end of the month if rain is scarce.
- Dethatch or aerate the lawn if it’s been a few years.
- Seed bare spots or a thin lawn as needed.
- Water new grass daily to get it started.
- Use a broadleaf weed control if necessary.
Tree, Shrub, and Perennial Care
Upper Midwest gardening in September is the right time for maintenance of your perennials, trees, and shrubs:
- With cooler weather and more rain, now is the best time to put in new trees or shrubs. Water regularly to get roots established.
- Certain trees take well to fall pruning including birch, black walnut, honey locust, maple, and oak.
- Divide perennials that need it.
- If you have tender perennials or bulbs, dig them up and bring them in for storage until warmer weather arrives again.
Other September Garden Chores
Once the big jobs are done, consider some additional chores before the month is out:
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.