Tips to get ready for this planting season come September

photo credit: Nomadic Lass

photo credit: Nomadic Lass

The summer gardening season is almost over in Northern Washington so it would be a good idea to begin planting cool weather vegetables and flowers that thrive in lower temperatures.

Summer vegetable plants have run their course so it’s a good idea to cull those plants that are no longer producing and replace them with plants that like cooler weather. Among them you can find peas, fava beans, beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, radish, carrots, kale, leeks beets, winter zucchini and celery. If you plant any of these plants now, they will be ripe in late winter or early spring.

Northern Washington Septembers are typically warm during the day and chilly at night. The temperate climate makes a great fit for planting flowers that will bloom in late autumn and winter. To start off, consider planting pansies, foxgloves, stock, sweet alyssum, calendula, chrysanthemums, sweet peas, snapdragons and asters. If you’re going to use seeds, make sure the seeded area remains moist and have plenty of shade until the seedlings at least 3 or 4 inches tall. It’s important to do this as direct exposure to sun can kill off these delicate plants.

Preparing the soil

If you’re an avid gardener and you’re looking to renew your garden beds, now is the best time to do so. Remove tired vegetables and dried flowers. Loosen the soil and a couple of inches of compost to the mix. The compost will provide your new plants with the required nutrients for growth. If you are going to plant in an area that you haven’t planted before, it is advised to water the area deeply, remove all weeds, break up the soil as much as you can and only then add the compost.

Choose the right bulbs

Your local gardening center (or nursery) will have two kinds of spring-blooming bulbs: tulips and hyacinth. Both have to be cooled for six weeks before they can be planted. For best results, place the bulbs in paper bags and store them in your refrigerator, until November. To get the most beautiful flowers, make sure to select the biggest, freshest-looking and most firm bulbs.

Pruning

After summer, many hedges and shrubs have sprouted long straggly stems. Pruning is a way to reshape and stimulate new growth before winter. Well-pruned hedges and shrubs help with holding in the heat which can prove essential if a winter frost were to occur.

Lawn decisions

Although some homeowners prefer to not water their lawns in order to save on water bills, some homeowner associations require homeowners to maintain a certain a mount of lawn on their areas. You can either choose to have a yard that has less lawn or you can replace the lawn with drought-tolerant ground cover. Among the types of ground cover that do well on little water are dymondia, lantana, sedums, yarrow, verbenas and even thyme.

Maintenance

One advantage of Northern Washington is that the climate is temperate and not affected by drying winds like the Santa Ana in Southern California. However you should still keep your plants hydrated.

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