An Alameda Garden: September 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cultivating Garden Style

I haven't found many garden design books that I think do a good job of presenting design concepts in a way that non-designers can relate to without taking a cookie-cutter approach that leaves no room for personalization. Rochelle Greayer's book Cultivating Garden Style is different. Check out my book review at

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What to Do in the Garden in September

During the heat waves that often occur in September, my gardening advice is to do as little as possible. Keep the garden as well-watered as you can given our current water restrictions, but other than that, don't risk heat stroke by taking on strenuous gardening tasks while the temperatures remain high. Once the heat wave passes, here's where you can focus your energy this month:


  • As days get shorter, it's a good time to re-evaluate your outdoor lighting, both for safety and for ambiance. You may need to adjust timers or want to install newer, more efficient LED ligthts.
  • It's time to shop for spring-blooming bulbs! Make a plan for how many you're going to add and what types, then shop the fall catalogs or local garden centers for the best price.
  • Map out a system for rotating your fall crops by plant family. For example, plan on planting something from the Brassicaceae family, such as broccoli or kale, where you grew your tomatoes (Solanaceae family), or beets (Amaranthaceae) in the spot where you grew beans (Leguminosae). By rotating plant families, you can break cycles of certain pests that may overwinter or diseases that settle into the soil.
  • There's still time to check with your water utility to see if you qualify for rebates for reducing your lawn.
  • Make a list of the plants you want to transplant from one spot in your garden to another. Once you identify the plants to be moved you can watch for the optimal time to transplant.

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