Enjoy those big juicy tomatoes you dreamed of in January!
Make notes about your garden. Did you try new vegetables and did some do better than others? Which varieties did you like and why? Make notes about your perennials and annuals too.
Start cleaning up the debris from your lawn and garden. Any diseased material should go in your trash; everything else can be placed in the compost.
Continue to turn your compost pile. Moisten it if needed. A handful of ‘working’ compost should feel like a wrung-out sponge.
Keep a sharp eye out for garden pests and treat immediately. Use insecticides wisely. Apply the proper product just when and where needed and use dosages according to the package directions. Our knowledgeable staff can assist in determining the problem and the most effective treatment.
Many four legged critters are looking for extra food to eat and store for winter now. Repellents are helpful. There are odor and taste types available. Be prepared to try more than one type and to alternate several kinds since animals can get used to a constant odor or taste and learn to ignore it.
Garden Mums, Rudbeckia, Butterfly Weed, and Flowering Cabbage and Kale and many other fall plants are available to add some great fall color to your yard.
Continue to pull weeds while they are small, and before they drop seeds. This will save time and effort later. Small weeds are a great addition to your compost bin as a great source of moisture, Nitrogen and trace minerals.
Birding in Your Backyard
Clean your bird feeders and bird baths on a regular basis to keep your backyard bird friends healthy.
Empty and disinfect nest boxes, but leave them in place. Birds will use them for shelter in icy weather.
Watch for fall migrant birds. Hummingbirds are still migrating; keep your hummer feeders up and filled with fresh nectar.
Fall is the most important time to fertilize your lawn. Fertilize now and then again around Halloween.
Apply weed and feed to your lawn when grass is moist, such as after a rain or heavy dew.
There is still time to seed or sod bare spots in your lawn, but try to complete the project this week.
Be sure lawns get watered deeply once each week if we do not get rain. A 1 inch soaking in the morning once a week is better than lighter or more frequent watering.
Set your mower blade to a cutting height of about 3 inches. Mowing less frequently and leaving the grass a bit taller helps shade the grass roots, reducing the need for water. Mow again as soon as the grass reaches 4” tall. Never cut more than 1/3rd of the grass blade when mowing.
Setting your lawn mower to mulch and leaving the clippings (and mulched leaves) will add nutrients back to your lawn.
Keep lawn mower blades sharp so they cut the grass cleanly. Tearing grass makes it more susceptible to disease.
Remove rotting fruit and leaf debris promptly from vegetable gardens to minimize prevent disease and insect problems next year and to avoid attracting foraging ‘critters’.
Although our season is winding down now, there is still some growing and harvesting time left. Be prepared to cover cold-sensitive crops with a fabric covering when frost threatens. Don’t use plastic!
Encourage tomatoes to mature and ripen by clipping the top few inches of each vine. Remove any new flowers and fruits less than half their mature size as well, so the plants put all their energy into the ripening process.
Dig potatoes any time after the vines have died. Once mature, potatoes can rest in the ground for several weeks but get them dug before the ground freezes. Store in the dark in a humid but not damp area as close to 40 degrees as possible. Storage in temperatures colder than that causes the starches to turn to sugar; warmer than 40 degrees can cause potatoes to sprout.
Harvest pods of beans for drying when beans inside the pods rattle, but before the pods split open on their own. Remove the beans from the pods. Let the beans continue to cure in a dry, airy spot for several days. Beans are dried enough when biting one does not easily show a tooth mark. Store in an air-tight container with a desiccant, such as a tablespoonful of powdered milk in a small envelope.
Check out the great fall plants available at the Garden Center, including a wide selection of Garden Mums, several varieties of Flowering Cabbage and Kale, Rudbeckia, Asclepias, Coreopsis and Grasses. Replacing tired annuals with fresh vibrant frost tolerant annuals now will ensure great color right through late fall and early winter.
Continue to remove dead flowers and seed heads from annuals to promote continuous blooming as long as the season permits.
Keep watering and fertilizing annuals. All container plants need to be watered on a regular basis as long as they are still performing.
Prepare now for that welcome splash of spring color! Bulbs in endless varieties and types are now available. Plant in big, random groups rather than ‘soldiers in a row’ for best effect. Don’t be afraid to mix and match!
Bulbs grow best in full sun in a well-drained location. Plant them pointed end up and three bulb-diameters deep. Feed with a granular fertilizer labeled specifically for bulbs following the directions on the package. Water well once, then let fall rains take over.
Beware of the squirrels and other critters that are enjoying the easy digging in the soft earth of your new bulb garden. Although they will eat some bulbs, mostly they are just burying nuts and other food for winter storage. Still, they can do considerable damage and cause a lot of frustration. Minimize their presence by using repellents and covering the bulb area with a physical barrier such as chicken wire laid flat on the ground or even boards laid over that area – anything they cannot dig through or move. You can remove the barrier when the ground starts to get a crust of frost.
Trees, Shrubs, Roses, & Perennials
Fall is still a good time to plant. Choose fresh, healthy plants and provide them with adequate deep watering. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered deeply once or twice a week, more if necessary. A two inch layer of wood chip mulch covering the soil beneath plants will keep soil temperature and moisture levels more even and promotes better root growth. Keep the mulch one or two inches away from the plant stems to avoid insect and disease problems; extend it beyond the width of the plant’s drip line.
Begin to leave spent flowers of perennials and roses to set seed now. This helps plants begin the slowdown needed for their winterizing process. Many seed heads can be left for interest and texture in the coming winter garden. Seeds and pods also provide winter food for birds.
Shrubs and trees herald cooler nights by putting on fall colors as they begin to store food for the winter’s rest. Walk your neighborhood parks and note those plants that appeal to you. Gardening can be a year round adventure if you take some time to explore and appreciate all of the wonderful possibilities out there.
Watch for and collect pods and seed heads for drying. Enjoy these in arrangement for fall and winter Holidays. Try them in natural colors or experiment with dyes and glitter enhancements. Have fun!
Inspect house plants closely for insects and treat if necessary. Catching a small pest problem early can eliminate an infestation during the winter.
As soon as night temperatures are routinely in the low 50 s, bring indoor house plants that have ‘summered’ outdoors back inside the house. Treat for bugs, even if you don’t see any obvious pests. There are always ‘hitchhikers!
This would also be a good time to give them a good shower to wash off the dust and dirt that accumulated on the foliage from the last couple of months.
Be sure to reduce your fertilizing to every 2-4 weeks since the plants’ growth slows down during the fall and winter months.
Be careful with watering. As plants slow down for the shorter days of winter, they will not need to be watered quite as often. Remember, most plant roots can be found in the bottom two-thirds of the pot, so it is important to water thoroughly but less frequently. More plants die from ‘too much kindness’ than for any other reason.
If you have questions or problems, our helpful customer service representatives will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We want you to be a successful gardener with less work!