Northern & Central Midwest
Keep Woodies Watered
Even though the summer season is winding down, it's important to keep shrubs and trees well-watered going into the fall and winter. During dry spells, provide enough water to soak the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches deep. Letting the hose trickle a slow stream of water at the base of a plant is the most effective way to water.
Start a New Lawn
Late August and early September is prime time to establish new lawns or renovate old ones. Prepare the soil adding compost, lime, and topsoil when needed. Sow the proper seed for the light conditions and scatter mulch such as straw to keep the germinating seeds moist. Water until the tiny plants are well established.
As flowers and herbs peak, harvest them for drying. Harvest in mid-morning after the dew has dried off leaves, and hang them in a dark spot where they will get plenty of warm air circulating around them. Once fully dry, use them to make winter arrangements, wreaths, and swags.
Clean Garden Debris
As summer vegetables finish producing, pull plants and clean up debris, especially if there was a disease problem. To enhance the soil for next year's planting sow a fall cover crop such as annual rye, oats, or crimson clover. Allow it to grow all fall and winter and turn it under next spring. It will improve soil structure and add organic matter.
Keep picking vegetables so plants will continue to produce. When a plant ripens its seeds, whether in a giant zucchini or bean pod, its life cycle is over and the plant will discontinue producing flowers and fruits. Continual picking will give you a constant supply of small, tender vegetables, while forcing vegetables to produce until frost.