It’s time to start thinking about spring flowering bulbs like crocus, hyacinth, and tulip bulbs. For best flowering, store them in a paper bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator (away from apples) for at least six weeks before planting. As you select your flowering bulbs to plant this fall, keep in mind that larger calibre bulbs give big, showy displays, but cost more. Smaller calibre bulbs usually are less expensive, with a smaller show, but are great for brightening nooks and crannies in your yard. As you plant your spring bulbs, remember that a mass planting of one flower type or colour will produce a better effect than a mixture of many colours. Flowers of bulbs stand out more vividly if displayed against a contrasting background. For example, white hyacinths among English ivy, yellow daffodils against a ‘Burford’ holly hedge, or red tulips towering over a carpet of yellow pansies. Make a long-range plan to gradually convert your current landscape to the one you desire. Don’t pull out any ornamental plantings until you have the time and resources to replace them.
Two weeks before planting, amend, rototill and fertilize beds you plan to use for or cool- season vegetables. Another spring flowering bulbs: set out daffodils, Dutch iris, freesia, anemone, oxalis, ranunculus, Watsonia, and hyacinth to name only a few. Vegetables that like the cool weather: beets, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, chives, collards, celery, onions, parsley, parsnips, peas, radish, spinach, lettuce, turnips, and Swiss chard. Pot up chives, parsley, and other herbs, and bring into the house to extend the growing season. Fall is usually cool and moist and a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Research has shown that roots will continue to grow until the soil freezes. This is true for both evergreens and deciduous plants. Start taking cuttings of your annual plants to bring indoors and carry through the winter. Geranium, coleus, fuschia, and other plants do best when stem cuttings are rooted and kept in pots indoors through the winter. Be sure to place pots where they receive plenty of light. If you are not sure which end of the bulb is the top, plant it on its side. The stem will always grow upright. Plant peonies now, but make sure the crowns are buried only 1 1/2 to 2 inches (3 to 5 cm) below ground level. Deeper planting keeps the plants from blooming. Select some accent plants for your landscape that will provide autumn colour. Trees that turn red include dogwood, red maple, black gum, sweet gum, and red or scarlet oak. Shrubs with red fall foliage include viburnum, winged euonymus, and barberry.
Rejuvenate cool-season lawns by plugging, reseeding and fertilizing. Annuals that like cool weather are: pansy, viola, snap-dragon, stock, calendula, Iceland poppies, California poppies. Dig, divide and re-plant over-crowded perennials that have finished flowering like agapanthus, daylily, penstemon, and coreopsis to name a few. Fall is a great time to plant and divide perennials and shrubs for next year’s garden. By planting in the fall, your plants do not endure the stressful summer heat during establishment and have time to form sufficient root systems before the onset of winter dormancy. Prevent citrus from drying out and splitting as they mature by giving trees deep soakings during warm fall weather. Pick up fallen, decomposing fruit that could harbor insects and diseases. If fruits look infested, toss them in the garbage, you don’t want to add diseases or pests to your compost pile. If your tuberous begonias are beginning to mildew, stop watering and let them dry off, then dig them up and allow them to dry out, and store them for the winter in a cool, dark place. As the nights become cool, caladiums and other warm summer bulbs will begin to lose leaves. Dig them up, allow them to dry, and store them in a warm, dry place. Garlic is harvested when the tops die down. To prepare garlic for long-term storage, cure the bulbs for four to six weeks in a warm, dry, shady location where there is good air circulation. Pile bulbs no more than two to three deep. After curing, store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated spot. Do not use softened water on houseplants because the sodium accumulates in the soil and can kill the plants.
It is time to maintain your lawn for winter annual or perennial weeds that germinate or form rosettes in the turf during the fall.
Don’t retire the lawnmower when the growth of your lawn slows down this fall. As long as the grass continues to grow, it should be mowed.
Don’t allow leaves to accumulate on the lawn. Rake them up regularly, and store in a pile for use as mulch in your garden next summer. If leaves accumulate on your lawn and become matted down by rain, they may kill the grass. You can help leaves break down more easily by running a lawn mower back and forth over the pile. Put the shredded leaves directly onto the garden or compost pile. Dig new garden beds for next spring. Incorporate plenty of organic matter, such as leaves, and leave the soil rough to allow good water penetration. Freezing and thawing will break up heavy clay soils. Plant a cover crop, also called a green manure, to increase the soil’s organic matter content. Autumn is a good time for improving your garden soil.
Add manure, compost, and leaves to increase the organic matter content. Before adding lime to your soil, have your soil tested to determine if your soil is acidic and needs lime. Have on hand some heavy material or cardboard boxes to cover tender garden plants on the first nights of frost. Often if tender plants can be protected from early frosts, they will bloom for several more weeks. When using a cold frame to extend your harvest season, be sure to close the top on frosty nights to protect the plants from the cold. When the sun comes out the next morning and the air warms, open the cold frame again. Rake up leaves, twigs, and fruit from apple trees, and dispose of them in the trash to help control scab.
Weed and Pest Control
Control spider mites with insecticidal soap or spray light horticultural oil on infested plants in early morning or early evening. For specific and organic ways to Control Spider Mites, Powdery mildew becomes more abundant following periods of cool weather. Infected plants are covered with a white, powdery growth. To keep from spreading diseases and insect pests, sterilize old flower pots by soaking for a few hours ina solution of one part bleach to nine parts water.
All those jobs can be done by Sunny Gardens, just contact us for details of garden maintenance, landscaping and design.