A Note From Rick | September at Bridge Gardens

September 17, 2020

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

It’s Still Summer in the Garden!

This year’s dry summer has been a challenge, but recent rains have revived the gardens. While you may feel that September signals an end to the garden season, nothing can be further from the truth.

I’ve spent these last few days fertilizing the vegetable garden, staking Brussels sprouts, weeding, and planting spinach and cilantro seeds.

Just the other day I planted 5 rows of lettuce seedlings started a couple of weeks prior. Even though it’s after Labor Day, it is still summer in the vegetable garden and throughout Bridge Gardens, at least for another couple of weeks. And these days, good growing weather may continue into early October. So, there’s no end to routine garden chores just yet, but what a great reason to get outside and enjoy some of the year’s best weather!


Garden Director Rick Bogusch fertilizing seeds at Bridge Gardens.

There are signs of autumn coming, though. The bed of butternut squash needs harvesting for the food pantry and to be seeded with the same greens planted there in early spring. Although eggplants and peppers are still yielding bountifully, tomatoes aren’t as plentiful as they were just a couple of weeks ago. We’re still harvesting plenty of peppers, from bright shishitos to poblanos to green and red bells.

All our surplus vegetables go straight to the Sag Harbor Food Pantry. They are harvested by our reliable and hard working volunteers, including Joe and Lacy pictured below, as we work to provide fresh food to as many as we can. The demonstration vegetable beds here at Bridge Gardens showcase the wide variety of vegetables that can be grown on Eastern Long Island, and I hope you’ll join me in growing your own food as the taste and satisfaction can’t be beat.


What Should You Be Doing Now?

September and October are ideal months to:

  • divide and transplant perennials like grasses, iris, and peonies. Dividing plants helps them stay healthy and vibrant. It’s also a great way to fill out your planting beds. Or, you can share some with a friend. Keep an eye out for my upcoming video which will show you some simple techniques to divide and transplant successfully.
  • plant trees and shrubs. Visit your favorite garden center or plant nursery to look for end-of-the-season sales. Native trees and shrubs like red oak, winterberry holly and bayberry do especially well in our Long Island soil and climate.
  • order spring-blooming bulbs while selections are plentiful and best to get them in the ground before mid-November. Here at Bridge Gardens, we’ve invested in many varieties of daffodils for late April - May color, as well as Leucojum (summer snowdrop) and Alliums (flowering onions.) This year I’ll be planting a ring of daffodils around each of the apple and pear trees in our new orchard. Supposedly, this repels voles and discourages them from nibbling on bark and roots.
  • plan and execute lawn renovation projects. Grass seed needs minimum 50-degree nighttime temperatures to germinate, so be sure to get your grass seeding done before mid-October at the latest.

We’ll be sharing a video on renovating your lawn later this month featuring our Lawn Expert, Paul Wagner of Greener Pastures Organics. Part of our “What’s Up with My Lawn?” series, Paul will share tried and true methods for creating a healthy lawn organically.

We have never had so many visitors as we’ve had this year, and they are still coming and finding much to see here. During these challenging times, the garden is the perfect place to relax as you wander along the pathways. I hope you will join me soon to enjoy late summer and early fall at Bridge Gardens.

I look forward to seeing you.


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