Perennials: Continue dividing and transplanting early blooming perennials. Cut more flowers for drying. Continue to pull weeds before they go to seed. Continue planting early blooming bulbs. Wait until late October to plant tulips.
Flowers: Take in tender aquatic plants and tropical fish from ponds. Collect seed from favorite annuals. Make note of the best location for annuals to fill in bare spots in the perennial garden. Remove spent annuals and add to compost. Sow hardy annuals in prepared beds or a cold frame.
Vegetables and fruits: Propagate herbs from new growth and transplant into pots for winter use. Harvest basil before the first frost. Do not cut back asparagus until after the first frost. Plant cover crops in bare areas. Annual rye will germinate in cool weather. Cover crops chokes out weeds and adds valuable organic matter when it is tilled under in the spring. When harvesting winter squash allow it to cure for a day or so before storing in a cool place.
Trees and shrubs: Continue applying deer repellent. Make plans for winter protection—with spray products on the market, net barriers or sturdy fencing. Continue planting evergreens through Oct. 15. Keep them well watered. Needled evergreens naturally lose their inner or oldest foliage this time of year. Collect some for a fine mulch under acid loving plants such as azalea, rhododendron and blueberries.
Lawns: Continue lawn renovation and seeding of bare spots. Choose high quality seed. Mow lawns regularly to keep grass at least 3 inches high.
Houseplants: Bring in houseplants if not already done. Repot if necessary and check for insect pests. Discard weak or unsightly specimens.
General: Continue to take garden notes and photographs. Put weather proof markers on perennials and new shrubs — a time consuming task, but valuable for those of us who forget the names of plants as well as people.
Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester