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MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin

Welcome to our blog! Written by staff at MMWD, “Think Blue Marin” explores all things water in south and central Marin—water supplies, conservation, new projects, watershed management, and more.

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Sep 07


Posted on September 7, 2018 at 2:03 PM by Ann Vallee

by Charlene Burgi

September is a month that can provide a bit of respite from garden chores—or add to the demands depending on our passion for keeping our hands in the soil.

This is a time of transition. Cover crops can be planted to add nutrients in preparation for the spring garden. Or, you may opt to push for one more season of planting lettuce, spinach, beets, Swiss chard, garlic, broccoli and other cole crops that tolerate the cooler temperatures that come in the fall and winter. 

September harvest of beets
 September harvest of beets
Harvesting vegetable gardens may end this month, yet it is September that finds late apples on our trees begging to go into pies, into canning for apple sauce, or fresh and crunchy into our lunch boxes. Winter Nelis pears and persimmons require a while longer to ripen, but the red Bartletts are prized right now not only for the beautiful scarlet color they add to the garden as they sweeten, but also for their excellent canning properties.

Our flower gardens are no exception to the autumn dilemma to leave “as is” or to add to for continued color. The fragrance of stock and snapdragons will add a special treat to the forthcoming crisp air. Drifts of bachelor's buttons will dance in the gentle fall breezes or could add some cheer to a well-placed vase in the house. Pansies and sweet alyssum are two low-growers that can fill voids left by dormant plants. And let’s not forget to install fall bulbs in September for spring color.

September is also an odd time for irrigating. Warm temperatures may fool us into to watering more than needed. But the question is just how much water is really needed at this time of year? We tend to forget that plant water requirements are based on evapotranspiration rates, which are diminishing now along with the hours of daylight. On top of that, many plants are getting ready to go into their winter dormancy. 

Have you reduced the amount of time on your controller to account for the reduced water needs of plants, or are you a “set it and forget it” kind of gardener? It is only those who have installed a smart controller who can get away with “set it and forget it” while the controller makes adjustments automatically for them. If you still have a controller that requires you to set the runtime, MMWD’s Weekly Watering Schedule is great tool that can help determine exactly how much water to apply to plants. 

Did I say earlier that September could be a time for a respite in the garden? What was I thinking? 


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