~ September 29, 2010 ~
What a week it's been! Crisp, cool mornings followed by warm, sunny days! Hues of red, orange and yellow are everywhere. The sky is a beautiful
color of blue dotted with wispy, white clouds lying lazily around. Burning bush leaves are on fire in brilliant shades of red. Maple trees are
bursting with leaves in colors of bright red and orange. The grass is slowly returning to it's beautiful shade of green. I'm on sensory overload!
It truly is a beautiful time of year and I hope we continue to see the days warm-up. Inevitably the days are getting shorter and winter is sure to come.
I am busy transplanting today. I have to move a couple of hydrangeas and a
rhododendron. It is a great time for cutting back perennials. My salvia
and geraniums are out of control and need some tending to. I have deadheaded them several times during the summer but now is the time to
really cut them
back. They will look nicer and will be ready to take off next spring. I am hoping to get some tulips in the ground in the next couple of weeks. That is
always a big job but one that brings many rewards come springtime. There is
always something to do this time of year. I hope that you too are enjoying the time
TLC For Tender Turf...
Whether you've just overseeded or have put grass seed down to establish a new
lawn you need to keep it wet. This is especially true as the new young blades shoot
forth from the soil. This is when the grass is most vulnerable. If it dries out, it
dies. No need to soak it. Just keep it moist with a few minutes from your hose
spray nozzle or sprinkler several times a day.
Storing Summer Bulbs...
It's time to start thinking about storing bulbs that will not survive Kansas
City winters. The bulbs of gladiolus, caladium, dahlia, tuberous begonia,
calla lily, and cannas need to be dug and stored so they can be planted next year.
All of these plants should be dug after frost has browned the foliage.
Allow them to dry for about a week in a shady, well-ventilated site, such as a
garage or tool shed. Remove excess soil and pack them in peat moss, vermiculite or
perlite. Make sure the bulbs don't touch, so that if one decays the rot doesn't
spread to its neighbors. Dusting them with fungicide before storage will help
prevent them from rotting as well.
Caladium should be stored between 50° and 60°F. The rest of the bulbs mentioned
should be stored near 40°F.
Gardeners with green tomatoes on the vine can rescue them from a pending frost by letting them
ripen indoors. Just be sure to select fruits that have changed color from the darker green of immature
tomatoes to the lighter green of the more mature stage. If picked before this color break, the tomato
will rot instead of ripen. Make sure you're on the safe side by waiting for a hint of red to appear.
Squash Harvest & Storage...
Make sure you harvest pumpkins and winter squash before they get hit by frost
Immediately after harvest, the fruit should undergo a ripening or curing process
to harden the shell. A curing period of about two weeks at 75° to 85°F with good
circulation is desirable. Storage should then be at 50° to 70°F with humidity
between 50 and 70 percent. Also, leaving a couple inches of stem will not only
provide a "handle" for jack-o-lanterns but will improve storage.
Light pruning of both needle and broadleaf evergreens is recommended in late
fall to encourage a strong framework to help the plant overcome any snow damage.
Simply remove any weak or crowded branches with a pair of clean sharp pruners.
Who's Sleeping In The Garden Bed?...
Many disease-causing viruses overwinter in the roots of perennial weeds. Tomato
mosaic virus overwinters in the roots of ground cherry, horsenettle, jimson weed,
nightshade, and bittersweet; cucumber mosaic virus lives in the roots of milkweed,
catnip, and pokeweed; bean mosaic overwinters in white sweet clover roots; and
many cabbage diseases spread from wild members of the cole family. A good fall
cleanup is essential. Don't wait!
Time For Lime?
If the results of a soil test suggest that your lawn or garden needs an application
of lime now is the time to do it. Never had a soil test before? Shame on you! Resolve
to get one done this month. We've posted
easy to follow instructions on the Savvygardener.com
"There was something frantic in their blooming, as if they
knew that frost was near and then the bitter cold. They'd
lived through all the heat and noise and stench of summertime,
and now each widely opened flower was like a triumphant cry,
"We will, we will make seed before we die."
~ Harriette Arnow