Beginner Gardening Series: September Edition

by | Sep 13, 2017 | beginner gardening, garden, gardening, gardening organic, harvest, raised beds, Uncategorized, vegetables | 0 comments

Beginner Gardening Series: September Edition

September is the month where you can look at your garden and take stock of what worked and what didn’t, harvest the remaining produce growing in the garden (except for a few frost loving plants, will talk about that later) and put your garden to bed for the winter.   If you live in some of the warmer climates, you can now restart your garden!   For the plants that like the heat (like tomatoes and peppers), start the seeds indoors or buy starter plants. I, however, live in zone 5-6, so no replanting of the garden here.  I will be taking the steps to put my garden to bed and do what I can to get it ready for next Spring.

T A K E  N O T E

Get yourself a cute little notebook (don’t we all buy one everytime we go into Target?!) and take note of your garden.  What grew well in the garden this season?  Did your tomatoes get enough sun?  Did your squash plant succumb to mildew?  These are observations that will help you in planning your garden for next year!  Your placement of plants may change based on your observations.  For me, I need to move where I planted my squash because it was affected by mildew.  So…I need to find a place that gets more sunshine to prevent this from happening again.

W H E N  T O   H A R V E S T

Are you daily looking at your peppers wondering if they are ever going to turn red??  While it is ideal to let peppers, like tomatoes, ripen on the vine, there does come a time when all the peppers and tomatoes need to be harvested from the garden and left to ripen indoors, out of direct sunlight.  So yep, harvest your tomatoes and peppers, even if they aren’t perfectly ripe and let chemistry do it’s thing indoors. Now with this said, if you have planted some “cool crops” you can leave them in the garden until after the first frost.  Some cool crops are Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Spouts, Spinach, Collard, Asparagus. A quick Google search of “cool crops” will provide a great resource if you are wondering if any crops you have planted are considered a “cool crop”.




TIP: you can leave carrots in the ground through the Winter (they may actually get sweeter as the carrot holds on to it’s sugar to combat the cold), however, you will need to harvest them before Spring as they will go to seed and not be edible.

P U T T I N G  the  G A R D E N  to  B E D

One thing I always need when going to bed is a blanket, your garden likes one too!   There are a couple of ways you can create a “blanket” for your garden.  You can grow a cover crop.  Stay with me here, this sounds much more complicated than it really is.  A cover crop is as simple as tossing some seeds on your cleaned out garden bed.  This helps create a barrier between the Winter elements and your garden soil.  Cover crops also give back vital nutrients that were taken from the soil to produce all your yummy veggies!  A seed that I recommend is Cereal Rye.  Sprinkle the seed ideally 4 weeks before the first hard frost, or as soon as you can after cleaning your beds.  Literally let nature do the work and watch it grow.  If planting another crop has you rubbing your temples, then a nice layer of straw or some other type of mulch will also provide a sufficient barrier for your garden soil against the harsh winter elements.


Best Fall-Blooming Perennials

The 15 Best Fall-Blooming Perennials

fall lanscape

While many people fill their gardens with the spring-blooming flowers they snatch up on Mother’s Day weekend, if you ask us, the real showstoppers come at the other end of the growing season. If you want to fill your garden with late-season colors that come back year after year, look no further. Whether you’re getting your garden ready for fall or dreaming of next year, here are 15 fall-blooming perennials to suit every landscape.

1. Autumn Crocus

purple crocus

You may assume crocuses only bloom in early spring, but a second round of color awaits when you grow Colochicum, also known as autumn crocus. These pint-sized plants look lovely as groundcovers in front of your other fall favorites or in containers. And while you wait for it to bloom, you can enjoy its lush foliage.

2. Aster

purple aster

Available in a wide variety of colors and sizes, asters take center stage in mid- to late-summer, with many types lasting until frost. Low maintenance and drought-tolerant asters thrive in Zones 3 to 9 and make a great lasting alternative to those throw-away annual mums you find at the grocery store.

3. Black-eyed Susan

black eyed susan

Although their showstopping yellow starts mid-summer, reliable black-eyed Susans (aka Rudbeckia) bloom through fall. Available in sizes from 1 to 3 feet tall and wide, their signature yellow-orange hue pops in any full-sun area. These unfussy fall perennials are largely deer- and rabbit-resistant, too.

4. Coneflower


Also known as echinacea, coneflowers are aptly named for their spiky, conical centers. They traditionally come in shades of purple, but newer varieties offer a wider span of color choices. A prairie native, coneflower thrives in drier, well-drained soil and stands up to drought.

5. Coreopsis


A tough native plant, coreopsis resists deer, drought, and more. And while many varieties come in yellow, you can also find plenty of shades of pink. Plus, its feathery foliage adds texture and interest to wherever it grows. Check your plant tag to ensure it’s hardy to your area.

6. Dahlia


While technically a bulb, dahlias are an interesting flower that can be grown as perennials if you live in a warmer climate or dig out the tubers and store them for the winter. With a seemingly endless number of varieties, you’re sure to find a dahlia in your favorite color. Blooms can reach a jaw-dropping 12 inches wide on aptly named “dinnerplate” varieties.



This sunny stunner adds an immensely cheerful pop of yellow to any landscape. Note that taller varieties may need staking. Different varieties have different soil and sun needs, so consult plant tags carefully before purchasing.

7. Helenium


While it’s sometimes called sneezeweed, and it does bloom around the same time as allergy culprit ragweed, there’s no actual sneezing to be found here—it earned its moniker because its leaves were once used to make snuff. A member of the daisy family, helenium offers the same cheerful, round flowers but in bold shades of red, orange, and yellow. To keep the blooms coming longer, deadhead (or remove) flowers after they fade.

8. Hydrangea


The perfect back-of-the-garden plant, many hydrangea varieties bloom in late summer and into fall—or, worst case, their earlier-season blooms still look beautiful. ‘Limelight’ is a classic variety whose green blooms turn dark pink as the season wears on.

10. Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed

Pollinator magnet Joe Pye weed can grow 8 feet tall and wide. If you have the space, its pretty purple flowers and textured foliage can serve as the anchor of your fall garden. This fall-blooming perennial grows in full sun and can even help create privacy.

11. Russian Sage

Russian Sage

Russian sage’s wispy purple blooms and soft green foliage can help balance out and soften some of the bolder hues of other fall-blooming perennials. This low-maintenance flower thrives in Zones 4 to 9 and fares well in dry conditions.

12. Salvia


Salvia comes in a rainbow of colors. It features wispy flowers that look right at home in a container or the landscape. A big draw for hummingbirds, some salvias are grown as annuals in northern parts of the country—check the plant tag or seed packet to ensure you’re growing one that can overwinter where you live.

13. Sedum​


Sedum, also known as stonecrop, is a group of drought-tolerant, easy-to-grow succulents that make gorgeous groundcovers. A myriad of varieties bloom well into the fall, but you can seek out seasonal stunners like ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Autumn Fire’ for guaranteed fall color.

14. Sweet Autumn Clematis

sweet autumn clematis

Just when your spring-blooming clematis looks spent, Sweet Autumn clematis swoops in with its delicate, star-shaped flowers and powerful fragrance. It can grow up to 20 feet tall and can become invasive in warmer climates if not maintained.

15. Turtle Heads

turtle head flower

With pretty pink and white flowers and lush foliage that emerge when many other plants go kaput, we’re not sure why this fall-blooming perennial isn’t more popular. Also known as chelone, turtleheads thrive in moist, shadier areas. At just 1 to 3 feet wide, it’s the perfect middle-of-the-garden plant.

fall garden

Vegetables to Plant in Late Summer or Early Fall

7 Vegetables to Plant in Late Summer or Early Fall for a Bountiful Autumn Harvest

joey apron with beets

 If you only plant produce in the spring, you’re missing out on a whole second growing season. In fact, plenty of veggies flourish in the cooler temps and shorter days of late summer and early fall—and may even taste better after a light frost. If you ask us, planting veggies should be on everyone’s list of fall gardening to-dos. Read on for seven vegetables you can plant in late summer or early fall for a bountiful autumn harvest. 


First things first: Let’s determine your average first frost date. This is the average date temps dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit where you live. It marks the end of the growing season for most plants and serves as a helpful date to work backward from to ensure your late summer and fall veggies have enough time to develop. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a frost date tool that will give you an average date based on your ZIP code. Your local Extension office may be able to help as well.

1. Beets

Direct sow beet seeds roughly six to eight weeks before your average first frost date. Because they only need to be planted about one inch apart, you can pack plenty of beets into even a small space, then harvest and preserve them for the winter. Plus, their greens make for a fantastic sauté.

2. Carrots

In Northern climates, direct sow fall carrots from early July to early August so you can feature a homegrown Thanksgiving side dish. Those in Southern climates without a hard freeze can plant as late as November. Alternatively, you can simply plant a second set of carrot seeds after you harvest your spring batch.

3. Kale

Some gardeners believe this leafy green tastes even sweeter after a light frost. Plant from mid-July through early September in the Northern half of the country. If you live in the South, you can enjoy fresh kale throughout the winter.

4. Kohlrabi

Direct-sow cool-season kohlrabi about two months before your first frost date, or grow it throughout the fall and winter in the South. Harvest when bulbs are about 3 inches—any bigger, and they turn tough and woody. You can freeze it or store it in the fridge for up to two weeks

5. Lettuce

If you grew a spring garden, chances are, it included lettuce. Bring it back for fall by directly sowing or transplanting seedlings in mid-to-late-summer for unforgettable autumn salads. Plant them near radishes for the ultimate companion plant.

6. Radishes

Start direct-sowing radish seeds four to six weeks before your average first frost date. Because radishes are fast to mature—sometimes in less than 30 days—plant a fresh patch every one to two weeks, so you have radishes at the ready ‘til frost.

7. Spinach

Whether you purchase seedlings or direct sow, plant spinach six to eight weeks before your average first frost date. Don’t hesitate to grow a little extra to freeze for smoothies and soups throughout the winter.

Tips for Growing Late Summer and Early Fall Vegetables

  • Fertilize when planting: If this is your second crop of the season, chances are, your soil could use a nutrient boost. Apply a fertilizer designed for vegetables according to package directions.
  • Have a cover handy: You can purchase or build cold frames or row covers to protect delicate plants from late-summer heat or an early frost.
  • Surround with mulch: Once all seedlings have sprouted, adding a thick layer of mulch not only insulates the soil, but also helps keep the temperature and moisture levels more consistent.
  • Water, water, water: Because it may still be hot and dry when you first plant, ensure your garden receives about an inch of H2O per week. 
  • Don’t plant too early: Cool-weather crops can stall out or turn bitter—also known as bolting—when temperatures get too high. Resist the urge to plant during the dog days of summer and wait until the optimal time for your plants to thrive.

Green Zucchini 3 Ways

If you grow zucchini, you know you have a LOT of zucchini. While a warm loaf of zucchini bread is hard to beat, knowing additional ways to enjoy green zucchini is a bonus. We have gathered three mouth-watering recipes that may even have you considering how you can grow more zucchini next year!

Bacon Zucchini Fries

Get Recipe from Delish HERE

Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

Get Recipe from Delish HERE

Cool Ranch Zucchini Chips

Get Recipe from Delish HERE

Mother’s Day Gift Guide | For The Mom Who Likes To Garden

Moms deserve the spotlight every day, but for this Mother’s day, we have pulled together 10 items that the Mom who likes to garden, whether a beginner or a novice, will love. From monogrammed vases to organic body cream, we have you covered.

gift guide for the gardener

Offered in an assortment of beautiful shades, this best selling dipped ceramic pitcher is the perfect way to serve your favorite beverages. Use the glazed pitcher as a vase with your favorite flowers or as a vessel for your favorite beverages, just add a monogram to make it yours.

Small: 5.75”h x 4” diameter.

Large: 9.25”h x 3.5” diameter.


Made in Thailand.

Monogramming is laser engraved.

Limited Edition

Get to gardening with our Roo gardening apron bundle and save. Choose your color of gardening apron, and included is a matching kneeling pad and rust-free aluminum trowel.

O/S fits all, machine washable.

gift guide for the gardener

Welcome to our 6-Week Course for new food gardeners (or experienced gardeners looking to gain a deeper understanding of growing.)

This content-packed course is developed by Jessica Sowards, of Roots and Refuge Farm, and Jill Ragan, of Whispering Willow Farm.

garden life hat

Inspire others to live the garden life with our Garden Life Hat.

  • Plastic Adjustable Snap
  • Size: OSFM – Adult (58cm/22.8″)
gardening journal

Gardening is a passionate affair between the gardener and every plant they grow. But it’s also way geeky. In this hardbound handbook, gardeners can document the seasonal and daily details—so many details—of every aspect of their obsessive hobby. It contains over 300 pages of themed blank sections for creating a personal horticultural reference book, including:
— A planner and journal to keep track of seasonal tasks
— A plant database to enter photos, drawings, observations, and notes on what worked or didn’t
— Pages for recording inspirations and ideas and designing your dream garden
— Space to get your hard-won gardening wisdom down on paper
— Pages to preserve memorable plantings and events

gift guide for the gardener

The Roo is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables, weeding and deadheading your garden or collecting anything that needs to be put away. Simply release the ropes and everything you have collected funnels out the bottom. O/S fits all.  Machine washable.


gift guide for the gardener

Flower arranging has never been simpler or more enticing. The women behind Studio Choo, the hottest floral design studio in the country, have created a flower-arranging bible for today’s aesthetic. Filled with an array of stunning, easy-to-find flowers, it features 400 photos, more than 40 step-by-step instructions, and useful tips throughout.

gift guide for the gardener

Hang or place this egg-shaped mosquito repellent diffuser in your outdoor space to naturally protect against pests. When it is filled with its signature DEET-free repellent made from lemongrass oil and geraniol, it will ward off mosquitoes and other bugs up to around 200 square feet—the perfect amount of protection for decks, patios, and porches.

gift guide for the gardener

Goat Milk Lotion! This is creamy, and thicker than your normal store bought watered-down lotion. The added shea butter gives this a decadent feel on your skin, yet doesn’t leave you feeling greasy!

Benefits of using goat milk on skin: Many people struggle with skin health, such as eczema. Goat milk soap can be just as beneficial for healthy skin too!

gardening apron with tools

Get to gardening with our Joey gardening apron bundle and save. Choose your color of gardening apron, and included is a matching kneeling pad and rust-free aluminum trowel.
O/S fits all, machine washable. Available in green and purple.

mothers day gift guide

How To Dye Eggs Naturally

Dying eggs for Easter is a childhood pastime most of us remember fondly. Have you ever tried this with items you likely have in your pantry? If not, it’s worth a try. See how easy it is to get beautiful pinks, yellows, and blues from natural ingredients right inside your home.

naturally dyes easter eggs
Get Started

To start, hardboil desired number of eggs to dye, then let cool. While the eggs are cooling, it’s time to make the dyes (these can also be made ahead of time as well.)

turmeric dyed easter eggs


Blue Dye:
1/2 head of red cabbage

4 cups water

2 tablespoons white vinegar

Boil the cabbage in a large pot for about 45 min. Remove from heat and let it cool. Strain the dye into glass bowls or jars then add and stir in the vinegar.

Yellow dye:
2 tablespoons turmeric powder

4 cups of water

2 tablespoons white vinegar

Bring turmeric and water to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool. Poor the liquid into glass bowls or jars then add and stir in the vinegar.

Pink Dye:
1 beet cut into large pieces

4 cups water

2 tablespoons white vinegar

Bring the pieces of beet to boil in a pot. Remove from heat and let it cool. Strain the dye into glass bowls or jars then add and stir in the vinegar.

naturally dyes easter eggs

Soak & Polish

Once you have the dye made, soak the eggs for 30 minutes to 24 hours. The longer the eggs soak, the darker the color will be. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the eggs from the dye. Dyed eggs can be stored in the fridge for about 1 week.

*TIP: You can rub vegetable oil on colored eggs once they have dried for a shiny polish.

naturally dye easter eggs

Top 5 Garden Trends For 2022

How we utilize our outdoor space is a top priority for homeowners again in 2022. We view our outdoor space as an extension of our home, therefore wanting to make our outdoor space as beautiful, inviting and functional as possible. We talk about garden trends that are still going strong from last year and new ways to think about your indoor and outdoor space this year.

Indoors or Outdoors? How about both

Creating an outdoor living space was one of the biggest trends in 2021 and it is again in 2022. Seating, fireplaces, and outdoor kitchens are all ways people are bringing the indoors outdoors. A new trend in seating is the incorporation of rattan seating. A rattan accent chair or side table is a great way to incorporate this new trend. Creating a live climbing wall, or strategically placing a hanging basket visible from your indoor space is a simple way to bring the outdoors indoors.

Tropical Plants Are The VIP

Our backyards can be somewhat of an escape from the busy to do’s of everyday life, so why not bring in some tropical vibes to really make it feel like you are being transported to another place?! You may think that your climate will not support tropical plants, but believe it or not, there are some tropical plants that are hardy to zone 4! Here are a few to try if you aren’t sure your weather is warm (or humid) enough. Caladium (elephant’s ear), which come in varieties for shade or sun, are recognized by their large and brightly colored foliage. They add a lot of texture and color to your landscape. Rose of Sharon is a hardy hibiscus and there are some varieties that can be grown to Zone 5. This is a beautiful plant, with plenty of color, and will attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Rose Mallow can is another plant that adds plenty of color to your landscape and is hardy down to zone 4! This is a perennial worth investing in if you are looking to add some tropical vibes to your outdoor space.

Bicolor Plants

Do you have a hard time knowing what colors compliment each other? Well, thankfully nature has the answer and can make the decisions of what colors to plant together a little more simple. Bicolor plants are a trend we are seeing in 2022 and can simplify your landscape decisions. Pick a bicolor plant, and then choose leafy plants or flowers of the two colors to accompany the plant in your landscape.


Herbs are such a simple way to bring more of the outdoors indoors and also a nice way to create a beautiful aesthetic to any outdoor living space. Pots of rosemary, basil, and mint add an aromatic element to both your landscape (or windowsill if that is where your herbs live), and having fresh herbs on hand for recipes and summer salads is simply the best!

Growing Cut Flowers for Homemade Bouquets

Who doesn’t love a bouquet of fresh flowers? Turns out most of us love them, and we are willing to devote some of our landscape to growing them. Being able to grow fresh cut flowers and create bouquets for ourselves, friends and neighbors right out of our own backyard is so rewarding. Some favorite cut flowers are zinnias, dahlias, ranunculus, black eyed Susans, and growing these gorgeous blooms might be easier than you think!

There are several additional trends that those who know garden trends anticipate seeing this year. Just like with anything, trends will come and go. It is fun to try new things and see what creativity brings to the space, but one trend we can always get behind is getting our hands in the dirt. Here’s to a successful gardening season in 2022 regardless of which trends you may try.