In my part of the south, those gulf showers are the trigger that a reliable, naturalizing bulb from South America needs to push up an explosion of red trumpet shaped flowers that many call schoolhouse lilies, naked lady lilies or oxbloods. An early German-Texan horticulturist named Peter Oberwetter is believed to be the first to import the oxbloods from Argentina. Due to his efforts, the oxblood has been very popular in the areas of Texas originally settled by German settlers. While they are gaining acceptance around the South and Central US, they have flourished in places like Brenham, La Grange, Independence, Round Top and Austin for the last 150 years. If you would like to add some of these incredibly beautiful and reliable bulbs to you fall garden, head over to Southern Bulbs and pick a few up.
This closeup of oxbloods is from The Southern Bulb Company
If your garden plans for September involve doing a little more than shopping for bulbs on the internet, there is much gardeners in Zones 8A through 9B can be doing now.
Bottomless cans placed around brassica transplants, like this broccoli, protect them from cut worms and roaming chickens!
Vegetable and Herb Gardens
September is transition time. If you plant now, most gardeners along the gulf coast can get in a final crop of warm season crops like green beans, summer squash and cucumbers. Select early maturing varieties to get a harvest before the first freeze. However, this is also the month to transition into cool season root crops like turnips, rutabagas, and beets plus the blue leafed vegetables called cole crops. Plant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collard and mustard greens now. When planting transplants, water in with a dilute fertilizer to get them off to a great start.
Perennials and Annuals
There is still time to plant transplants of warm season color like marigolds, petunia, Angelonia, annual salvia and alyssum. These will keep us in color until the first freeze. Keep the color going into the cooler season by planting stock, snapdragon and dianthus. These plants do not love the heat so provide a little shade if high temps hang around and keep the soil moist to help them establish as quickly as possible.
Calendula, or “pot marigolds” are prolific fall bloomers with edible petals!
Fruit and Nuts
Harvest satsumas and other oranges before they are fully orange. Fruit left on the tree too long rapidly decreases in quality. Most fruit trees are currently setting buds for next year. Remove upright shoots in the center of the tree to allow in light, mulch them heavily and keep watered.
Gather seeds from plants you want to use again next year. Make sure they are heirloom or open pollenated varieties. Dry thoroughly, package in breathable containers and store in the refrigerator or freezer for maximum storage life.
September may be the start of a dark and rainy season for many, but it's true that with the showers comes an abundance of natural growth and beauty in the garden! What's your favorite part about gardening in the fall? Leave a comment below!