By: Gary Garner Sr.
Like it or not Fall is right around the corner. Summer is slowly ending. Our summer plants are beginning to shut down. Production of summer vegetables is less each day. Tomatoes are smaller with more blemishes. We can try to stretch summer crops but only for so long.
Despite the persistent hot summer days, all the signs are saying “think Fall”. If we want fall color and fall vegetables it is time to get rid of the old and get on with the new. New flowers and new vegetables should be planted soon.
Cole crop fall vegetable plants are in stock. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower should be planted as soon as possible. Also, greens such as lettuces, kale, turnip greens should now be seeded. Cool nights and moderate days along with fertilizer and nice rains will contribute to a successful harvest.
Mums are in stock and beginning to show color. In pots or in the ground they offer beautiful fall color. Planted in well drained soil and six or more hours of sunlight mums will come back for many years. Truthfully, they will come back longer than most of us will come back.
Pansies will be in stock by mid-month and ready to go in pots or in the ground. They will perform best in six or more hours of sunlight. I know summer annuals still look great and you don’t want to take them out until frost kills them. I can only say that the sooner pansies are planted the nicer they will look throughout the winter. If you wait until frost or later to plant pansies, they will not reach full size by cold weather.
If we receive extreme cold during the winter and your pansies stop blooming, shrivel up and look half dead don’t panic. As soon as we get a few warm days they will fill back out and start to show new bloom and color. They are very forgiving plants.
Now is a good time to think about dividing summer perennials that have died back. Cut off the dead tops, dig divide and replant. Share with friends what you don’t need.
Many of your beds and gardens could use a good cleanup before cold weather arrives. Try to remove piles of leaves and dead sticks and trash out of the garden. They are excellent places for unwanted insects and disease to over winter.
Many flower beds and borders could use a fresh layer of mulch. CAUTION, mulch is wood, or pine needles that has been seasoned for a few months. Rock, gravel and such is not mulch. You may like the rock or gravel but it creates tremendous heat and is hard on plants. Mulch should be kept to a depth of no more than two to three inches.
Last but certainly not least now is the time to prepare your lawn for winter and to prepare it look great next spring. If you need to seed a new lawn or large patches now is the time. The longer you wait the less chance you have of success. Cool fall days, fall rains and an application of fertilizer should make for a great lawn next spring.
If you have an established lawn, then three moderate applications of fertilizer and a lime application should do the trick.
For full information on lawn care come by Gary’s Garden Center and talk to Nelson or Gary III. They can give you the full scoop.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started on not only fall and winter garden ideas but also to ready your lawn and garden for the spring.
Take a day off from playing golf and spend it working on your lawn and garden. You might be surprised and find out yard chores can be fun. Best of all you might have a happy wife.
At least that’s the way I see it.