~ September 3, 2008 ~
Bring It On!
What a day! There is a light rain falling, a cool breeze blowing and a slight hint of fall in the air.
Isn't it exciting? I love it when the seasons transition from one to another. I know there are still
a few warmer days ahead but I am ready to move on. I look forward to cooler days, jeans, football
games, cool-weather food and of course working in the garden. I will be planting pansies, mums and a bunch of
newly purchased perennials. I am ready for fall so bring it on!
If you have tropicals outside and want to overwinter
them inside, now is the time to start
thinking about bringing them in. No need to panic as frost is still (hopefully) a month or so away. Prune
them, ridding them of dead wood or unwanted growth. Give them a good bath to kill any unwanted pests
that are lingering on the leaves or in the soil. And last but not least find a sunny spot that will
make them happy throughout the winter months. If you start thinking about them now you won't be in a
bind once the weather turns drastically cold.
Lastly, when was the last time you told a friend about this newsletter? Take a moment and do it now! We've
improved our tell a friend feature - it's much easier than it used to be. Simply follow the
"Forward this newsletter" link at the bottom of this newsletter. Thanks for your help!
Most groundcovers can be planted at any time of the year. However, fall planting takes advantage
of lower temperatures and increased rainfall. Watering is reduced and plants establish a stronger
root system well inadvance of next summer's stressful heat.
Space the plants according to their size, the immediate effect desired, and their rate of growth and habit.
If the individual plants are spaced too far apart, weeding can be a problem and the time required for complete
coverage can be quite long. On the other extreme, planting too closely together can be a needless waste of time,
money and plant materials. In addition, there will be increased competition as the plants grow into maturity.
Usually, it is best to space the plants so the groundcover areas will, for the most part, be completely covered
by the end of the third growing season. A staggered row-planting pattern usually will result in the quickest
cover of the planting bed.
Household Hazardous Waste...
Fall clean-up of your garage or other work areas may turn up
containers of old pesticides, herbicides, and other lawn and
garden chemicals. These items are considered household hazardous
wastes and should not be thrown in the trash.
Instead, Savvygardeners should dispose of them safely through
their local government. For more information simply click on the
appropriate local government link below:
The Sunflower Shake...
You don't have to be a Kansas Savvygardener to appreciate the
beauty of sunflowers. For those of you who want to harvest your
sunflower seeds and don't know when they're ready just look for
these tell-tale signs:
- The flower's head
is droopy and faces the ground.
- Most of the
petals have fallen off.
- The birds are
starting to enjoy the seeds.
Gently shake the head of the flower and the seeds will fall off. Store
them in a nice dry place for planting next spring!
When To Pick Apples...
Just because apples are falling from the tree, doesn't mean they are ripe
enough for good eating. Here are some guides to help you decide when to
pick your apples.
Color change: As
apples mature, the skin color in areas of the stem and the
calyx basin at the bottom of the apple turns from an immature
green to a light-yellow color. Some apples will develop a red
skin color before they are ripe, so this is not a reliable
indication of maturity.
Flavor: This is
a good guide if you are familiar with the apples you have and
know how they should taste. Even if you do not know the
characteristic flavor of the kind of apple you have, you can
still sample slices of a few apples and decide if they have a
sweet flavor. If they are not ready to harvest, they will taste
starchy or immature.
Flesh color: As
apples mature and starches change to sugars, the flesh changes
from very light green to white. When you cut a thin slice and
hold it up to the light you can see the difference.
Days from bloom:
The number of days from bloom is a reliable guide for general
maturity time, but weather conditions will have some influence.
Some kinds of apples and approximate days from bloom to
maturity are Jonathan, 135, Delicious, 145, Golden Delicious,
145, and Winesap, 155 days.
Seed color: The
seeds of most apples change from light green to brown as the
fruit ripens. This indicator should be combined with other
changes since it is not absolute. The flavor of the apples, the
change in color of the stem and calyx basins and flesh color
are important in deciding if apples are ready to harvest.
Slime Mold On Turf...
During cool and humid weather you might often see large numbers of small black,
gray, white or purple fruiting structures on your turf.
These are slime molds, primitive organisms that are very common on
turf and mulch. (Slime molds are not fungi and are no longer classified
as such.) Affected areas are often several inches to 1
foot in diameter. During wet weather, the fruiting structures may
appear slimy. As the structures dry out in hot weather, they
become ash gray, and break up easily when touched.
Homeowners are often concerned that this is a disease organism that will
kill their grass. But slime mold feeds on bacteria, other fungi and
dead organic matter - not the grass itself. It simply uses the turf as a
structure on which to grow. However, slime mold can damage turf if it completely
covers leaf blades and interferes with photosynthesis.
Chemical control of slime molds is not necessary. Use a broom or
a heavy spray of water to dislodge the mold.
Squash Harvest Hints...
Don't be too hasty in harvesting all your winter squash! For
longer keeping let winter squash stay on the vines as long as
possible. Wait until the vines die back or there is danger of
frost. Check by pressing with your thumbnail, if the skin is
easily broken they are not fully matured and may not keep well.
When you harvest leave two to three inches of stem on the squash.
Allow them to cure in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place for a couple
of weeks before placing them in storage. Also, never wash your
squash until just before using and never carry squash or pumpkins
by the stem.
Savvygardeners with cool-season grasses (bluegrass, fescue,
and/or ryegrass) should plan on three applications of fertilizer
each year - one in spring and two in fall. Fall is the most
important time to fertilize as it really encourages strong root
growth resulting in healthier growth next spring. September is a
great month for the first fall application followed by another in
You're going to need about 1 to 1.5 pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 square
feet of lawn. That's the amount of actual Nitrogen, not
fertilizer product. The amount of actual nitrogen in a
fertilizer product is indicated by the first digit of the N-P-K
number on the label of a fertilizer bag. The N-P-K number
indicates percentages by weight of the nutrients nitrogen (N),
phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). For example, a bag with a
N-P-K of 20-4-4 has 20 percent nitrogen. Therefore it will take
5 pounds of this fertilizer to provide 1 pound of actual
"Try to keep a garden beautiful to yourself alone and see
what happens - the neighbor, hurrying by to catch his train
of mornings, will stop to snatch a glint of joy from the iris
purpling by your doorstep. The motorist will throw on
brakes and back downhill just to see those Oriental poppies
massed against the wall. "
~ Richardson Wright