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 website.
"Sing a song of seasons;
Something bright in all;
Flowers in the Summer;
Fires in the Fall."
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
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