September Tips & Events for Santa Clara County
" By all these lovely tokens, September days are here, With summer's best of weather, And autumn's best of cheer.  Author Unknown
Mark Your Calendar!
October 7, 2017, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Join us for Martial Cottle Park's Harvest Festival, including our Fall Garden Market ! The Harvest Festival celebrates the agricultural heritage of the Santa Clara Valley and the newest park in the county. There will be food, entertainment, park tours, and more.
Martial Cottle Fall Festival
Tomato flower illustration, UC Davis

Tomato Blossoms
Go ahead and remove tomato blossoms from your plants now. The current blossoms will likely not have time to fully develop into tomatoes before the weather gets too cold and the fruit turns mealy. Allow the plant to puts its energy into ripening the tomatoes that are already starting to grow and mature.

Photo: Tomato flower illustration, UC Davis
Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants
Going Native
Fall is a great time to plant native California shrubs and trees. They won’t be shocked by the hot weather, and they will have some time to establish roots before it gets too cold. They developed in our native soils and climate, so they need little or no soil amendments. Although they may be drought tolerant, be sure to water them regularly for the first year or two until their roots are well established.

Assassin bug attack on cucumber beetle
Cucumber Beetle
The favorite foods of the cucumber beetle are cucumbers and melons. Adults mostly eat leaves, but can also cause scarring to the skins of the fruit. They have some natural predators such as the parasitic tachinid fly and the assassin bug, yet are quite difficult to control. Since most older plants can tolerate some beetle damage, one approach is to cover young vegetable plants with protective cloth and remove the cloth when the plants are older.

Photo: Assassin bug attack on cucumber beetle, UC Bug Squad Blog, Kathy Keatley Garvey
Dividing Perennials
Now is a good time to divide summer-blooming perennials like daylilies, penstemon, and coreopsis. If the plants appear crowded or are no longer producing robust blooms, it may be time to dig them up and cut apart the roots with a spade, shovel, or sharp knife. Replant the sections at the same depth they were before division and water them well.

Plant division steps
Photo: Plant division steps. 1. remove plants from ground 2. wash soil from roots, 3. separate plants, 4. trim roots, 5. trim foliage, 6. re-plant. University of Nebraska, Plant & Soil Sciences eLaboratory
Cover Crops
If you are planning to let your vegetable garden—and vegetable gardener!—rest during the winter, make sure to protect the soil and the soil life. Bare soil can erode during winter rains and there may not be sufficient organic material to feed the soil organisms. Consider planting a low-maintenance cover crop which can also add vital nitrogen to the soil. Examples are fava beans, vetch, and buckwheat.

Photo: Cover crop examples, UC Davis Good Life Garden Blog
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Upcoming Events
Sat, Sep 02, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.,  Reduce Your Yard Waste With Backyard Composting , Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, 851 Center Drive, Palo Alto

Sat, Sep 09, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Onions, Leeks, Garlic and Chives! Edible and Ornamental Alliums , Bascom Library Community Room, 1000 S Bascom Ave, San Jose

Mon, Sep 11, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m., Beautiful Waterwise Landscaping , FUHSD Adult School 14, 591 W. Fremont Ave, Sunnyvale

Sat, Sep 16, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Lose The Lawn talk and workshop – Co-hosted by Our City Forest , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose

Sat, Sep 16, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Growing Cool Season Vegetables , Berryessa Branch Library, 3355 Noble Avenue, San Jose

Sat, Sep 16, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m., Growing Great Soil , Sunnyvale Teaching and Demonstration Garden, Charles Street Gardens, 433 Charles St., Sunnyvale

Mon, Sep 18, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m., Replacing Your Lawn , Morgan Hill Library, 660 W Main Ave, Morgan Hill

Wed, Sep 20, 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m., Basics of Successful Gardening Minus The Mystery , West Valley Library, 1243 San Tomas Aquino Rd, San Jose

Wed, Sep 20, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m., Growing Cool Season Vegetables , Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street, Milpitas

Thu, Sep 21, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m., Using Cover Crops In The Home Garden , Palo Alto Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto

Sat, Sep 23, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Growing Garlic , St. Louise Hospital Teaching & Demo Garden
, 9400 No Name Uno Way, Gilroy

Sat, Sep 23, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m., Tomato Seed Saving Class (Class free; Park charges $6 for parking), Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose

Sat, Sep 23, 10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m., Growing Cool Season Vegetables , Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, 438 Coleman Ave, San Jose

Tue, Sep 26, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m., Attracting Pollinators To Your Garden , Campbell Library, 77 Harrison Ave, Campbell

Wed, Sep 27, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m., Fall Maintenance for Waterwise Gardens , Los Altos Public Library, 13 S. San Antonio Rd, Los Altos

Sat, Sep 30, 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m., Flower Arranging Workshop , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose

Sat, Oct 07, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., Fall Garden Market At Martial Cottle Park ($6 parking at Martial Cottle Park), Martial Cottle Park (Master Gardener area), 5283 Snell Avenue, San Jose

Sat, Oct 07, 10:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m., Growing Amazing Succulents , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Avenue, San Jose

Sat, Oct 07, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., The Rewards of Growing Cool Season Vegetables , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose

Sat, Oct 07, 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m., California Native Plants For Your Landscape , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose

Sat, Oct 07, 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m., Growing Glorious Garlic , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose

Sat, Oct 21, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Lose The Lawn Talk And Workshop – Co-hosted by Our City Forest , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose
Visit the UC Master Gardener Program website  for additional information including an up-to-date list of events and classes .

Have a gardening question? Contact our Hotline (for Santa Clara County residents). Start by reviewing our plant  problem diagnosis tips .
  • Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., 408-282-3105
  • Fri ONLY 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., 650-329-1356 (Closed Dec. & Jan.)
  • Or send us your question online

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Santa Clara County Master Gardener Program volunteers are trained under the auspices of the UCCE. Our mission is to promote sustainable gardening practices by providing up-to-date, research-based horticultural information to home gardeners.
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