~ August 27, 2008 ~
So, notice any spiders lately? Every time I walk outside I find myself wrapped up,
feeling like human prey in some large web. With the onset of cooler weather it seems as
if the spiders have decided to find their way in and around the house. I have been
busy with a broom taking down webs but have been careful not to kill any spiders.
Spiders are important and fascinating creatures. They do their part when it comes
to eating unwanted insects. I like to think of them as part of my Integrated Pest
Management system. The kids love to watch them spin their magical webs and our
youngest son will fight for any spider to remain alive. This is a win/win situation for me. My younger son appreciates my efforts for allowing the spiders
to live and my gardens benefit from the spiders eating as many insects as they want.
Of course being appreciated by my son is the best part!
Rain, are we going to see any in the near future? Maybe a chance tonight. I sure
would like to see some soon. My water bill is starting to make me cringe. Lots of
stuff to be doing this time of year. Fall clean-up, deciding what type of bulbs to
plant, transitioning the garden from summer to fall - I like to think there is never
an end. Labor Day is upon us so we will mix in some fun with a little bit of labor.
The makings of a long and perfect weekend.
Longer shadows and shorter days a sure sign that
is gradually coming to an end. Make sure you don't miss
out on any tomatoes by employing a couple of tricks to
get the most out of your tomato plants.
- By removing some
of the leaves, more sunlight will be
allowed to reach your tomatoes. The shady protection they
provide is not needed as much now that fall is closing in.
- Lopping the tops
off the plants will help ensure that the plants' energy will go
into finishing existing fruit production rather than the now
hopeless task of producing new fruit.
tricks (and a little luck) will help keep those tomato plants
producing as long as possible.
There's still time to seed some fall salad crops for this season. With
milder weather and rainfall (hopefully) around the corner some fall-season
vegetables can still be seeded now with a decent chance of developing
before freezing weather stops their progress.
To increase your odds, try lettuce, radishes, and spinach.
These salad crops grow rapidly and can withstand a light freeze.
A hard early freeze could stop everything in its tracks but it's
certainly worth the risk for fresh salad greens.
The Great Divide...
Savvygardeners who took good care of their perennials this
summer might notice them bursting from their beds.
Sound familiar? If so, they need some relief.
Once they are done blooming for the year it's time to divide
You'll know your plants need to be divided if:
- They are
spreading beyond your desired range for them.
flowers are not producing as well as in the past.
center of the clump of flowers is dying.
lower areas of foliage are sickly.
For a quick
but effective description of the dividing process you can read
"Spring Blooming Perennials" in our
Packing Up The Peonies...
Peonies aren't particularly fond of being uprooted and
transplanted but from time to time it may become necessary.
Maybe their plot has become too shady or another project is
displacing them. Here are a few simple steps to get it
- Cut the stems to
near ground level this month.
- Carefully dig up
as much of the root system as possible.
- Replant the peony
in a hole large enough for the roots.
- Make sure the
buds are one to two inches below the soil surface.
- Toss in some bone
meal and firm the soil around the plant.
- Water thoroughly.
mind - transplanted peonies often refuse to bloom the first
spring after transplant. Your patience however should be rewarded in
Root pruning is a practice sometimes
used in late fall to restore blooming on older Wisteria plants.
It serves to check top growth and favor flower production and
must be combined with summer pruning to be effective. Use a
spade to cut vertically into the soil (about 18 inches deep) and
about four feet from the main trunk, all around the vine.
Dandelions, clover, and other broadleaf weeds that were a
problem last spring and all summer should be controlled this
fall. The period from late September to mid-November is the
ideal time to control broadleaf weeds in turfgrass because
broadleaf weeds are most susceptible to herbicides at this time.
The turf and weeds must be actively growing for this to be
effective so be sure your lawn is well-watered before applying.
Apply on a sunny day with moderate temperatures, no wind, ample
soil moisture and no rain in the 24-hour forecast. An
herbicide containing two or more active ingredients including
2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba, triclopyr, or clopyralid will control most
broadleaf weeds with one application. As always, be careful when
using broadleaf herbicides as they may damage the stuff you want
to keep - like flowers, trees, shrubs, or vegetables.
Late Season Grubs...
If your lawn has large dead patches, check
to be sure that the damage has not been caused by grubs. This is
easily done by pulling up handfuls of dead turf. If the turf
comes up like a carpet, then you have grubs. Chemical treatments this
late in the season are best done with trichlorfon (Dylox, Bayer
24-hr Grub Control). It is important that this product be watered
in immediately after application. Waiting as little as 24 hours
can reduce effectiveness to the point that grubs are not
controlled. Apply 1/4 inch of water to insure the insecticide
reaches the grubs.
A non-chemical alternative may be beneficial nematodes. There are
a number of commercially available products that claim effectiveness
against white grubs (the ones that work against Japanese Beetle grubs
are of little use in the Kansas City area).
"There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments."
~ Janet Kilburn Phillips