~ September 22, 2010 ~
Still Too Hot...
Well fall has arrived and I am hoping that cooler temperatures set in and stay around awhile.
I can't believe I'm saying that. Those of you who have been reading the Savvygardener
newsletter know that I hate winter. So why you ask would I be wishing for cooler temperatures?
Because it has been too dang hot! I mean seriously - 90 degrees in September with humidity at 87%.
I guess if I have to put on a jacket that is a sacrifice I am willing to make. All I know is that I
would like for it to cool down. Don't confuse cooler temperatures with cold temperatures because I
am not wishing for winter. Just some fall-like temperatures in the high 60's, low 70's? You know...
jeans and sweatshirt weather. Weather that allows us all to work outside comfortably. I spent all day
Tuesday outside and I can tell you that it was hot! It was not very enjoyable but there are things
that need done. Between the rain and heat it has been tough to spend any lengthy amount of time outside.
Boy, do I sound old and cantankerous.
Join our friends this weekend at Johnson Farms. They open their pumpkin patch on Sunday and you'll want
to be the first to pick your own pumpkin. This is a great place to do your one stop shopping! Mums,
$8.99 for a 3 gallon container or 3 for $25; pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn and perennials, ready for fall
planting. A great place to take the entire family! Tell them the Savvygardener sent you! Need more
information? Visit their
One problem with fall is that it makes us forgetful. Even Savvygardeners
sometimes cut back on watering too much this time of year. Your perennials,
trees, shrubs, and lawn need that moisture - not like they did in mid-summer
but about an inch a week or so. Watering now and through November helps
ensure your plants have a healthy root structure going into our often harsh winters.
Plants That Came In From The Cold...
Once chilly overnight temperatures become the norm you will need to bring your
winter houseplants back inside. When you do, make sure to check them for pests.
Simply rinsing the plants' leaves, and soaking the pots in water for 15 to 20
minutes will drown most soil-dwelling pests. Also, clean the windows where plants
will be placed. It can dramatically increase available sunlight and make for a
much healthier plant!
Tidy Up Around Fruit Trees...
No one likes worms and other pests in their fruit trees. A simple clean up now
can dramatically reduce the number of pests that return next year. Just pick up
and destroy any fallen fruit, branches, and leaves. Worms and other pests feed
on this fruit and debris, overwinter in the soil, and emerge in the spring to
lay eggs and start the cycle all over again.
Garlic Lovers Get Ready!
Garlic needs to be in the ground at least one month before
the soil freezes so now through mid-October is the ideal time for
planting. Start by planting the small cloves that are divisions
of the large bulb. The larger the clove, the larger the size of
the mature bulb at harvest. Do not divide the bulb until
immediately before planting. Although some people have had good
luck planting the garlic from the grocery store, seedstock from a
nursery or via mail-order is recommended.
Garlic needs a full-sun site with loose soil rich in organic matter.
Adding compost to the bed is usually a good idea. Plant the
cloves (with their pointy sides up) three to five inches apart at
a depth of two to three inches. Add a light layer of mulch.
Allow 18 to 30 inches between rows or plant five inches apart in
all directions if you're using raised beds. Next spring the
garlic will push through the soil and mulch. We'll wait until
then to complete the directions through harvest.
Chilly Change In The Air...
This time of year it's not unusual for overnight temperatures to
dip into the 40's. Brrr! There's no frost on the horizon yet
but keep in mind that our first frost is due in
mid-October. Remember that Mother Nature has her own agenda and
doesn't have much time for statistics and averages. Surprise
early frosts can be a problem if you're not prepared.
For those of you new to Savvygardener.com we hope you will
enjoy our timely frost alerts. We send these e-mail and
Twitter alerts to all
subscribers when we believe an untimely frost is likely. Hopefully
we are still several weeks from our first frosty scare. Cross your
The Gardener's Workout...
Have you ever noticed how fit Savvygardeners look? It's because gardening
is such great exercise! Need proof? Well, Dr. Mark Kantor at the University
of Maryland College of Agriculture & Natural Resources has published an article
that defines the amount of calories burned doing various activities. It turns
out that gardening (see below) can really burn the calories.
burned during each 10 minutes
of various gardening activities
|Mowing grass (power)
|Mowing grass (manual)
Oh Say Can You Seed?
It's not too late to overseed your lawn - but it's getting close. You should be able
to successfully overseed for the next week to 10 days. After that your success will
depend on how quickly winter arrives. Two quick tips to increase your success:
your new turf well watered through the rest of fall.
Read our very popular
Overseeding A Lawn.
The great thing about seeding and overseeding is the low cost and high
return. Relatively speaking, grass seed is cheap. If your seeding is successful you
wind up with a priceless lawn next spring. If it's not 100%
successful you haven't lost much.
"Fall is not the end of the gardening year, it is the start of
next year's growing season. The mulch you lay down will
protect your perennial plants during the winter and feed
the soil as it decays, while the cleaned-up flower bed will
give you a huge start on either planting seeds or setting
out small plants."
~ Thalassa Cruso