Color Me Red...
Just one step outside and you are sure to notice the signs of
fall. Shall we begin with the colors? Reds, oranges, yellows and
browns. What an unbelievable combination! Burning bush is a
shrub that I am particularly fond of this time of the year. Red
is my favorite color so when I find
one that is planted in full sun there really is nothing quite
like it. Its flaming foliage is unmistakable. Now if you were to
ask me as a gardener whether or not to plant one I would say "do
it". However, before planting shrubs in your garden don't forget
to ask yourself a couple of key questions. "What role is it
playing in the landscape"? Are you creating a hedge, or are you
looking for an accent piece? Those two questions will guide you
in making the right choice not only for shrubs but with most
anything you choose for your garden.
as if we will be receiving some more rain later tonight and into
tomorrow. Wasn't last Saturday horrible? Rainy, cold and just
plain nasty. I don't think we left the house all day. It's funny
how days like that are needed every now and then. We often are
so busy that having everyone in the house at once is pretty
uncommon. So in that respect it was nice. We played board games,
read books and rented movies. What
turned out to be such a horrible day outside turned into a great
When cool night temperatures signal that it’s time to bring
houseplants indoors a host of insects and their relatives may try
to come indoors with them. Once inside they can undergo a
population explosion and spread from the plant they came in on to
others in your home. Other pests such as millipedes, centipedes,
sowbugs and pillbugs, spiders, and earwigs may not harm plants or
other materials, but their presence indoors makes them household
your plants in fresh soil will eliminate many of these invaders.
The others can be controlled mechanically - by broom and dustpan,
vacuum cleaner, flyswatter or sole of shoe applied firmly to
floor with the pest sandwiched between the flat surfaces. The
best approach is to inspect plant pots closely before bringing
them inside. Shake or tap pots vigorously to disturb beetles,
millipedes, spiders and other creatures and encourage them to
leave their hiding places. If you find scale insects, mealybugs,
aphids or other plant-destructive pests, use a hard stream of
water or insecticidal soap to remove them. Quarantine these
plants from other uninfested indoor plants and observe them
closely. Treat any new outbreaks as they occur and discard any
plants that are severely infested.
Press The Squash...
When you harvest your winter squash (Acorn or Butternut)
check for maturity with your thumbnail. When pressed with your
nail the rind of a ripe squash will not be punctured. To harvest
the squash, cut the stem, don’t break it off. The cut stems will
dry and seal the squash so it will last for months in storage.
It is no exaggeration to say the squash you harvest in October
and store in a dry place at around 50° to 55° F. can still be
good to eat in April of next year.
Early Mulchers Beware...
Did you know that mulches applied too early can do more harm
than good? Think about it. The primary function of mulch is to
keep soil temperatures constant and prevent frost heaving, not to
keep it warm. It is best not to apply
protective mulch until the soil temperature has
reached about 35°
- hopefully at least a month from now!
need to be harvested before the roots are exposed to periods of
cold weather, so usually harvest begins about the time of the
first fall freeze. Freshly dug sweet potato roots are fairly
tender, so the skin can be easily damaged. A process called
curing solves this. Curing involves putting the roots in a warm,
humid location for 5 to 10 days immediately after digging. A
location about 85°
works best. A small area heated by a space heater and misting the
area several times a day is ideal.
process heals over scratches in the skin but also prompts another
important reaction - converting
starches in the roots to sugar. This improves the texture and
flavor of the roots resulting in the moist, sweet flesh we
associate with quality sweet potatoes. Always store sweet
potatoes in locations where temperatures will be above 55°F.
Cold temperature storage causes injury that can be irreversible,
shortening storage life, turning the inside of the roots dark,
giving them a strange alcoholic flavor, and causing premature
Leveling The Lawn...
Uneven lawns can really wreak havoc when you're mowing. These
"pot holes" make level mowing nearly impossible and even walking
through the yard less than ideal. You can fix small low spots in
the lawn by carefully removing the turf and filling in the low
spot with good topsoil.
turf by cutting 2 inches deep into the lawn with a flat-bladed
spade, then angle the blade under the sod to cut it free, keeping
at least 2 inches deep to get most of the roots. If you do it
really well you will remove a single piece of sod. After filling
the low spot, replace the sod, and keep it well watered until it
Too Late To Seed...
By far the most common question we are
getting right now goes like this, "Is it too late to plant grass
seed?". The short answer, Yes, it's too late.
long answer. Grass seed put down now will have a hard time
getting the soil warmth necessary for proper germination. Even
if it does germinate it's very unlikely that the roots can
get established before the really cold weather arrives.
Hopeless? It's never hopeless. An unusually warm November
coupled with some very good luck could mean that seed put down
now could make it. It's a long shot however.
Why November Turf
Fertilizing Is Best...
Nitrogen stimulates increased
photosynthesis and the extra energy derived from this goes
directly into growth, respiration to maintain the plant (similar
to humans), or into storage. In early November, the temperature
is still adequate for photosynthesis, but cool enough to minimize
respiration demands and too cold for significant growth.
Therefore, most of the extra energy derived from a November
application of nitrogen is stored by the plant. Next spring,
these storage products are used in green-up of the plant and more
importantly, for root growth. It is important for the plant to
take up the nitrogen quickly in the fall and store the energy for
maximum root growth next spring with a minimum of shoot growth.
Though one might think that nitrogen applied early next spring
would do the equivalent as November-applied nitrogen, just the
opposite occurs and shoot growth is stimulated dramatically with
early spring-applied nitrogen. A spring application of nitrogen
will never compensate for a missed application in November.
deliberately rearranges the setting he lives in simply because
he prefers the look of it."