The top 10 reasons you know it’s fall planting time:
1. Nighttime temperatures stay between 40 and 50 degrees.
2. Squirrels are planting acorns as fast as they can.
3. Birds start grouping.
4. You don’t hear crickets anymore.
5. We get the first frost.
6. Soil temperatures are approaching 55 degrees.
7. You wake in the middle of the night looking for a blanket.
8. Fall foliage has begun to take on its pretty colors.
9. You start turning on the car heater.
10. Your old work shoes aren’t keeping your feet warm anymore.
On the warmer side, it’s nice to be able extend your gardening season in more comfort and without as much perspiration.
Now is a good time to harvest the late summer crops such as potatoes, melons, cabbages, carrots, turnips, beets and soon the sweet potatoes.
Many of the root crops can be stored in a dark, dry area for later use in the winter.
It’s not too late to plant either.
Garlic can be planted now as well as the spring flowering bulbs and many perennials. Fall is also a great time to plant trees and shrubs. Check the garden centers for late season sales on these plants.
Wait till later next month to mulch around your new plantings to prevent heaving from freezing and thawing periods. You can begin mulching your roses now with about six inches around the crown. Remember to cut them back around the end of November.
You can also get a jump on spring by edging the flower beds now. This will give you more time in the spring for other gardening chores.
If you took houseplants out for the summer bring them in when nighttime temperatures are around 50 degrees. Before bringing them in, however, do a soil drench with a liquid systemic insecticide. This will kill any ambitious critters that would like to spend the winter with you.
Have a favorite annual? Extend its life by taking cuttings now. This can be accomplished by inserting a stem into water or other medium such as vermiculite, perlite, or sand and placing them in a sunny window.
Remember to dig those beautiful dahlias, calla lilies, and glads. Dig them after the first hard frost and let them dry for a few days in the sun and then store them in a dark, dry place that won’t freeze. A cool basement or garage is a good place for this.
Remember to empty and wash up your patio pots and hanging baskets if you intend to reuse them next season. If not, they can often be recycled.
If you’re up for a little challenge, you can save your geraniums for use next year. Pull them up and shake off the excess soil and store the whole plant, bare root, in an open box in a cool dark dry place.
In early March you will notice that the plants start showing signs of growth. At this time cut off the dead parts of the plant to about 6 inches high. Then plant in a good potting soil and provide water.
Place them in a sunny location inside and watch them grow. Good luck, and enjoy the final months of this year’s gardening season.