Autumn Gardening Stories


Time to Harvest Sweet Potatoes


  Although some folks may be sad to see summer coming to a close, many gardeners are looking forward to harvesting their sweet potato treasures. Sweet potatoes are warm-season plants that are very sensitive to cold temperatures. The tuberous roots should be harvested by the time frost kills the vines or soon thereafter. Sweet potato roots continue to grow until frost kills the vines. Roots can be left in the ground for a short while; […]


September Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Prepare storage areas for overwintering tender flower bulbs and garden produce. Thanksgiving (or Christmas) cactus can be forced into bloom for the holidays. Provide 15 hours of complete darkness each day — for instance, from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., for approximately eight weeks. Keep temperature at about 60-65 degrees F. Temperatures of 55ºF will cause flower buds to set without dark treatment. Dig and repot herbs, or take cuttings, […]


Blooming out of sequence is cool!


What is that crabapple doing reblooming in October and November? Actually, it might be more correct to think of it as jumping the gun on next spring rather than reblooming. Although it happens to some extent many years, there seem to be more reports thas usual of landscape plants blooming out of sequence this fall. Rhododendrons, crabapples, and saucer magnolias are the most commonly reported species blooming this fall. Spring-blooming woody plants initiate flower buds […]

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Composting turns garden trash to treasure


Autumn frosts usually means lots of cleanup around the yard and garden. Why not turn that yard waste into treasure? Composting is a naturally occurring process that breaks down organic materials into an excellent soil amendment that improves soil structure, as well as adds some nutrients. Composting will help you recycle your garden wastes, improve your soil and reduce disposal costs. All organic materials will break down eventually, but gardeners can speed up the process […]


Tis The Season for Sage


Thanksgiving dinners filled with the fragrance of sage dusted turkey and dressing may be an American tradition, so it may surprise you to know that the sage plant (Salvia officinalis) is native to the Mediterranean. Today sage is used primarily as a culinary herb, but in older times it was a common medicinal plant.  The origin of the salvia name belies it medicinal value from the Latin salvus “to save” and salvere, “to heal”. Sage […]


Bringing houseplants back indoors


Many houseplants thrive during the long, bright summer days, especially when properly moved outdoors. But these plants may have some trouble adjusting back to indoor conditions when colder weather strikes. Many of our common indoor plants are native to the tropical or subtropical climates and cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Houseplants should be brought back inside before the outdoor temperature drops to 55 F. If days are warm but night temperatures are cold, you might consider […]


Early pumpkins may need temporary storage


It seems that pumpkins often mature much earlier than we would like, and this year may be one of those times. Although the season got off to a slow start, the second half of summer was extremely warm and may have brought the pumpkins on in a hurry. And unfortunately, the dry weather that we experienced earlier might contribute to an early end for the pumpkin plants, unless you were able to irrigate on a […]


New Annual Strawberry is All-America Selections Winner


For the first time, All-America Selections has selected a strawberry cultivar. Strawberry Delizz is an F1 hybrid grown from seed. Although strawberries are perennial plants, Delizz is grown as an annual and promises harvest throughout the season. It was developed by ABZ Seeds, a Dutch strawberry breeding company. The uniform, compact plants reach about 10-24 inches tall and about 12 inches wide – ideal for containers, hanging baskets or small garden plots. Plants require full […]


Water Now to Minimize Winter Injury


Dry summers are not that unusual in the Midwest. But this year the dry spell followed an unusually wet spring and early summer in many areas. Of particular concern this year is that the dry spell is lasting well into autumn, putting plants in poor condition to get through the winter when water will be unavailable due to frozen soil. Newly planted trees, shrubs and perennial flowers will be at most risk of winter injury […]


Autumn Time to Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs


If thinking about the end of summer is getting you down, it’s time to plan and plant your spring flowering bulb show. Autumn is the time to plant crocus, daffodils, tulips and many other spring bloomers. Spring flowering bulbs are planted in the fall to allow them to establish roots before top growth begins in spring. Planting too early may cause the bulbs to sprout this fall, only to be killed back by winter weather. […]


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