Monday, September 23, 2013

Falling for Fall

So, fall is here! I get a lot of questions about fall pruning. Don't do it. It can be hard to resist pruning your plants as the leaves fall, but the plants will actually benefit from just being left alone. If pruned now, many plants will produce new growth. Then, when freezing temperatures come that new growth will get hit. For a healthier plant wait until Feb or March, depending on where you live to prune and fertilize.
Continue to check your vegetable seedlings for pests; With the weather still warm, caterpillars and other pests are still on the move.

So, how do you keep your yard looking happy and inviting? Plant fall and winter bedding plants. The mums have been available for a few weeks now. Snap Dragons are available in a variety of heights and colors.
There are some with the bloom standing straight up and then there are types that hang. They can brighten up a porch or landscape in planters or even planted directly in the garden.

Pansies are another favorite for fall and winter. Pansies are available in just about any color imaginable. They also come in different bloom sizes. 
 Other plants I enjoy growing in combination with these are: Violas, Asters, Dianthus,  Rudbeckias, Ornamental Kale, cabbage and peppers. Planting now will give months of enjoyment. Refresh and extend your summer pots with autumn beauties. Watering is important, making sure to give moisture on cool nights and drying fall winds. Dead head the plants (pinch and remove dead blooms) to encourage more blossoms and prolong the show.

Mass planting will give you that, "'Wow!' effect!"  When I am planting in mass I try to plant the plants about 4" apart. A nice trick that helps me with spacing is to use a 4" square container between the plants to keep everything evenly spaced.

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Awaken the Sleeping Garden

September is here! Hard to believe, the temperature is still hot and humid.

If you intend to plant your fall garden where your spring garden grew, you must remove your summer vegetables. By now they have have stopped producing and are looking like damsels in distress. Remove the plants as well as any weed growth. When you have the garden cleared of unneeded growth, add a light layer of organic matter-or compost, such as your own homemade compost-, composted manures or mushroom compost. 1-2 pounds of a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 may be applied per 100 square feet of bed space. Alternatively, if you're into organic gardening, you can apply organic plant food. Then, thoroughly incorporate the organic matter and fertilizer into the garden soil by tilling or spading to a depth of at least-6 8 inches.

Now the fun part. What do you want to eat

If you aren't sure what vegetables grow in your area, check with your local nursery or extension agency.
In our garden we are starting lettuce (mainly Romain because they are more heat tolerant in the early season), broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens, turnips and beans. The more adventurous gardener can grow Asian crops such as Chinese Cabbages, Mitsu, Bok Choy, and  Kohlrabi. Many below ground crops can be planted at this time.  We grow what our family will eat and more to freeze for later on.


At this time our flowers are still big, blooming and beautiful. Keep deheading, mulching and fertilizing your flowers that look good. Any that need to be replaced, remove. Add organic matter and start planning your fall flowers. Right now you can plant Mums and Petunias. In a few weeks you will be able to add Pansies, Snapdragons, Ornamental Kale, Dianthus, and Johnny Jump Ups. We are in zone 8, check what zone you are planting in to get an idea of what plants will grow through the winter in your area.

Double Take.

This is a great time to start cutting of Perennials or Shrubs that you would like to have more of in your yard. Do you have a rose bush or another shrub that you have found that does very well in your yard?It is always a good idea to to have more than one. 

Happy Gardening!