To Do In The Northwest Edible Garden: September 2011

Plan & Purchase:
You’ve ordered your garlic, already, right? If you want to expand your fruit or perennial selection, you can order now and plan on late fall to get trees, bushes and vines in the ground.

Sow Indoors:
Unless you’ve got a heated greenhouse, there’s no reason to start anything under lights now.

Sow Outside

  • Plan on one final sowing of greens this month. Fast growing Asian stuff like mizuna is a good bet, as are mustards, baby spinach, and beets, radishes, lettuces, turnips and kales for baby greens. Mache seems to take awhile but is super tasty in winter salads and doesn’t seem to stop growing due to cold.
  • Radishes – sure, why not?
  • Garlic – yup, by the end of the month, it’s time to plant garlic. If you don’t get to it, anytime before Halloween is fine, but the more time the cloves have to get situated and send down roots in the fall, the bigger they’ll be the next year. At least in theory. Now that white rot has crippled my ability to grow garlic I feel like I should invite someone else to speak to their culture.

Transplant Out

  • If you started brassicas or greens last month, get them in the ground. I have a few 6-packs of starts that need a home, but for the most part the big planting push of earlier in the year is over.

In my garden the shear glut of August is starting to taper off, but I’m still getting beans, cukes and zukes. By the end of the month I expect things will look different, with broccoli, beets, brassicas and lettuce once again stepping up as my backbone crops. For now, enjoy those summer crops as much as you can while they are here.

Eat cucumber and tomato salad while you can.
  • Beans – still going strong.
  • Beets – best beet year ever! I now think the trick to beets is: loose soil, early thinning, forget you planted them.
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots – pulled a few carrots from under the carrot mesh and they were pristine. No Carrot Maggot! Woohoo! The barrier method works.
  • Chard
  • Corn – if you grow it, it’s coming ripe.
  • Cucumber
  • Onions – last of the onions still need to be pulled and cured.
  • Fennel – my fennel is ready!
  • Potatoes – my second planting of potatoes, the spuds from the market, are growing amazingly well and are currently flowering. I may have potatoes yet this year. The potatoes from the burlap sack experiment have all been eaten or sent to municipal yard waste.
  • Peppers
  • Salad greens – a few lettuces have bolted on me, but mostly it’s been a great year for lettuce adn other salad greens.
  • Tomatoes – lots of tomatoes coming on. Well, lots for Seattle: at least 4 or 5 a week. Keep an eye out for spots, rots, molds etc. and yank any that show signs of ick before they can infect their neighbors.
  • Turnips – yum! If you haven’t had a really fresh butter-braised turnip, or a spicy pickled turnip, do not judge this humble vegetable too harshly. It’s a winner.
  • Winter Squash – I have watched with interest as my delicata plants have died down over the past week. At first I was concerned there was a fungal issue, but now I think they’re just done. That’s how it goes in September, sometimes. By the end of the month most winter squashes will be winding down.
  • Zucchini – starting to taper off but still producing.


  • Blueberries – late blueberries are still going but it’s slowing down fast. A few of my new bushes are showing red leaves and dieback. I think it’s drought/transplant stress and I’m pumping up the watering but it’s hard to tell with blueberries.
  • Blackberries – the late season means blackberries are perfect right now. Don’t wait to go harvest from your favorite patch, though…with weather cool and moist like this, the berries get maggotty quickly.
  • Apple – We’re enjoying not-quite-ripe apples. By the end of this month our homegrown apples will be inducing the happy produce dance.
  • Grapes – there is a chance you will see ripe grapes this month. Mine look pretty unpromising but perhaps yours have gotten more sun.
  • Pears – Asian pears are on; our espaliered Euro pears aren’t mature enough to fruit but those of you blessed with mature trees should be enjoying the first pear crop by now. 
  • Peaches – if you grow them they should be ready right about now. Have I mentioned how much I am loving my relationship with my new Yakima Valley fruit CSA? It turns out that Eastern Washington heat units = way better stone fruit. Check them out if you are in the Seattle area. And no, they don’t advertise with me or anything.
  • Plums – yippee, my prune plums are starting to turn color! I think we may see a decent harvest this year.
  • Figs – hoping for ripe figs in a few weeks.
Be honest – are you ready for cooler weather to show up and give you a little garden break? I think I am.


  1. says

    Ugh… I just wanted you to know that I have been trying to add to your tip jar for awhile now. Paypal is being a pain and after more than 30 minutes this morning, once again I am calling it quits for now. I finally thought I got all of my changes done but I need to change my last name to my married name that is on the card, but paypal requires that I fax them legal documents before they will let me do it. Grrr! Perhaps I can drop your tip in the mail :) Just wanted you to know that I have not forgotten. I appreciate all of your guidance.

  2. says

    I found a lot of interesting information in your blog.The one thing that you need to remember with canning is that you have to seal the containers completely. You should use glass jars with the matching lids so that you are ensuring freshness for a long time. Once you have them sealed you will then need to store them on a shelf in a cool area. This is something that you are going to appreciate and use for a long time.

  3. says

    It has been one of those weeks again with the sun and rain. As usual and lucky for us, we have not had too much rain with a fair bit of sun that is ideal for our gardens.In the world of today, people have become more conscious about the things we use and the food we eat. Organic gardening is one of the best ways that you can ensure that you eat safe and healthy food.

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