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Archive for Thursday, September 1, 2005

Autumn in the garden

September 1, 2005

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The sweaty, scorching days of summer are nearly, and that's enough to make any gardener get up and dance a little jig. Autumn is right around the corner, and with this season comes shorter days, cooler temperatures and usually more rain. But life is not all wine and roses; the garden will need some tending. Here is a three-month calendar to keep your landscape in shape.

September

1: Order spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths and alliums, as well as perennials, shrubs and trees not found at local nurseries.

3: Mow the lawn and apply fertilizer to help it recover from summer stress. Re-seed bare spots in the lawn.

4: Deadhead spent blooms and pull weeds.

5: It's Labor Day! Relax in a hammock with a drink and a good book.

7: Prepare a dark, dry place in your home to overwinter bulbs. Save money by overwintering annuals in a warm, well-lit place.

9: Bring in houseplants when nighttime temperatures drop below 55 degrees. Clean their pots, spray them for insects, dispose of debris at their base and polish their leaves.

11: Plant lettuces and radishes.

13: Harvest apples, pears, grapes and everbearing strawberries and raspberries.

15: Dig up onions and garlic when the tops have yellowed and fallen over.

17: Plant new shrubs, trees and perennials, which will develop stronger root systems when planted in fall.

18: Divide and transplant crowded irises, peonies and lilies. Share extras with friends.

20: Dig up, wash, dry and store tender bulbs, such as caladiums, cannas, elephant ears, tuberous begonias and gladiolus, in a paper bag with shredded newspaper or hamster cage filler.

22: First day of autumn! Remove raspberry canes after they have bore fruit.

23: Plant herbs in pots and bring indoors to enhance winter cooking.

25: Clean up around fruit trees; fallen fruit and leaves attract insects and harbor disease.

26: Harvest tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, melons, sweet potatoes and winter squash before first frost.

October

1: Water newly planted, transplanted and divided flora if it hasn't rained.

2: Continue to mow, weed and deadhead spent blooms.

4: Pot spring flowering bulbs to force into bloom in time for the holiday season. Moisten the soil and refrigerate 10 to 13 weeks, then transfer to a cool, sunny spot. Blooms will appear in three to four weeks.

6: Harvest brussels sprouts, pumpkins, gourds and mature green tomatoes that will ripen indoors.

8: Plant spring flowering bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils and crocus. Planting in groups adds impact.

10: Plant garlic cloves for next summer.

13: Find and destroy poison ivy while leaves are still distinguishable. Wear gloves!

15: Add color to the garden by sowing violas, pansies, dianthus, snapdragons, mums, Swiss chard, flowering kales and cabbages.

16: Rake leaves so they don't mat down grass; add them to the compost pile.

18: Water indoor plants less and discontinue fertilizing them.

21: Remove dead annuals from landscape.

23: Spend the day with your family at a local pumpkin patch.

26: Jot down garden successes and failures to avoid the same mistakes next year.

28: Sharpen garden tools.

30: Daylight Savings Time is over! Spend last full day of sunlight adding organic matter to the soil in your beds.

31: It's Halloween! Dress up like your favorite flower or bug.

November

2: Wrap the trunks of young, thin-barked trees, such as maples and many fruit trees, with tree wrap to be removed in early spring.

4: Walk property and assess tree damage. Prune diseased, damaged or dead limbs.

6: Mow, rake leaves, weed and deadhead; this will be one of your last days for these habitual gardening tasks.

8: Fertilize lawn to keep it green well into winter and boost recovery in spring.

10: Rake and dispose of debris under plants to deter pests and disease.

12: Cut down perennials to 4 to 6 inches off the ground. Keep ornamental grasses and sedum for interesting texture all winter.

13: Fill bird feeders as food becomes scarce and birds could use an easy meal.

14: Mulch your strawberry patch.

16: Remove garden stakes throughout yard.

18: Continue watering newly planted, transplanted and divided flora.

19: After several hard frosts, protect graft union of rose bushes by mounding soil around plants and adding mulch on top. Cut rose canes back to 24 inches to prevent winter breakage.

24: Thanksgiving Day! Don't eat too much; there's still some yard work to be conquered.

26: Pull mulch away from base of plants. Mulch provides a warm winter home for rodents.

27: Drain and store hoses, sprinklers and other watering devices. Clean and store outdoor furniture, wind chimes and other outdoor accessories.

30: Drain gas and oil from lawn mowers, chain saws and weed eaters.

Sources: hort.purdue.edu, oznet.ksu.edu, arhomeandgarden.com, urbanext.uiuc.edu

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