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September gardening in Central Florida

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September is one of the peak gardening months in Florida and lots of activity needs to take place now if you want a beautiful and productive garden this fall. The day length is becoming noticeably shorter and the heat should start to moderate somewhat as the sun sinks lower in the sky.

Replace declining annuals with fresh transplants of warm-season flowers like ageratum, coleus, celosia, zinnia and wax begonia. Remove dried flower stalks from summer-blooming perennials to improve their appearance.

Now is also a good time to selectively prune trees and shrubs that have put out summer growth that was a little too vigorous. Trim back low branches that encroach on walks and driveways, and trim back wayward branches of small trees to improve their shape.

Outstanding displays of color in the landscape can be seen now on firespike, podranea, callicarpa, blue ginger, cassia alata, sunchoke and caesalpinia. As you travel around the area, keep an eye out for some of these beauties.

Many varieties of fruit will be ripening this month. You can be harvesting avocado, carambola, limes, bananas, papayas, passionfruit and guavas. If you don't already have these plants in your landscape, think about planting some for next year.

Most warm-season vegetables and a few cool-season crops can be started now. Here are the vegetables to plant in the garden in September: beans (bush, pole, lima), broccoli, cabbage, celery, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant (transplants), endive/escarole, kale, lettuce, okinawa spinach, onions, english peas, southern peas, peppers (transplants), radish, summer squash, tomatoes (transplants), turnips and most herbs.

The earlier you plant the warm-season varieties, the more production you'll get from your garden before frost. So don't delay, plant today!

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