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September Dreams

When summer gathers up her robes of glory, And like a dream of beauty glides away. — Sarah Helen Whitman

I found this, as the opening for the month of September, in an old book from 1968, A Garden Book for Houston, by members of the River Oaks Garden Club. I am positive that Sarah did not live in Southeast Texas, where summer gathers up her piercing rays of sun and glides away laughing, planning her tortuous return next year.

I picked up this book at The Treasure House, a resale shop in downtown Beaumont, while digging through a stack of old books. I recommend picking up old books written about what grows well in Southeast Texas.

The book I have is almost 50 years old but 98 per cent of the information is still very true. It describes plants that grew well here before the major onset of chemicals and is a major inspiration while I read it.

Another book I love reading, The Vegetable Book, A Texan’s Guide to Gardening  by Sam Cotner, is 30 years old and another great book about growing things all over Texas. I go to it often for answers. I do not believe it is still in print but you can find copies online.

Spring rains and family commitments foiled my attempt at a spring garden but I was blessed with some extra time and favorable weather lately and was able to get my fall garden in last weekend.

We decided to plant several types of green beans and cream beans for canning. We also planted heirloom onion seeds that will be ready by mid-year. I have never tried to start onions from seed but it should be fun nurturing these for the next 10 months.

If you want to have a fall garden, go ahead and prepare your plot and have it ready by Oct. 3. This is the day of the Master Gardeners plant sale, where you will have a wide selection of plants and herbs to put in that garden. Put it on your calendar and be ready for the date.

While you are at the sale, talk to all the Master Gardeners who can give you tips on how to get the most out of your gardening experience.  If you do not plan a garden, fall is still the best time to  enhance your landscape with bushes and trees.

My wife is getting into herbs and fall is a great time to put in herbs. With  the heat stress of summer over, these plants thrive. We will be planting rosemary cuttings, thyme, parsley, cilantro and mint next weekend in raised beds out in the front of our house.

Get a piece of paper and make a plan for what you would like to harvest fresh on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Then head on out to the plant sale on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the JCMG Test Garden at Jack Brooks Regional Airport.

(If you don’t have your garden plot ready yet, at 9:30 a.m. plan on participating in a hands-on demo of “How to Make a Lasagna Garden.” At home, follow what you learn here and you will have a garden plot ready to plant almost instantly.)

You can reach Jefferson County Master Gardener Tim Schreck at timothyrschreck@gmail.com  or call Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service  at 409-835-8461.