It's beginning to look a lot like autumn!
While we are beginning to enjoy some cool nights, there are still plenty of warm, sunny days to be out in our yards and gardens. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the fall season - the rustling of the colorful leaves, the children going to and from school, rain showers falling on the last blooms in the garden... Read on for this month's gardening tips to prepare your yard and garden for the weather to come.
Have you made any major changes to your home or garden? Are you considering any new landscaping next year? Please don't wait until spring to work on your landscape design. Halloween and Thanksgiving are great times to start planning. Remember "If fall is for planting, winter is for designing!" (A landscape design makes a great gift, too!)
There are some events coming up but always verify before attending due to COVID.
There is still time to register!
This Saturday, October 3, 2020 -
A Path Less Taken:
The Art of Labyrinth Walking
Hosted by Carriage House Landscape Design
Saturday, October 3, 2020, 10:00 am to noon
The Labyrinth at Pierce Memorial Garden,
Chrin Community Center Park,
4100 Green Pond Rd, Palmer, PA 18045
Have you ever wondered about labyrinths? A labyrinth is a spiritual tool for meditation or prayer with a single path winding into the center and out again. There is no "religious dogma" associated with the labyrinth. Whether used for meditation, prayer, or quiet moments, the circular nature of the labyrinth reminds us that life is a constant journey, rather than a destination.
Please join us to discover the history of labyrinths and how to use this ancient tool in modern times. Led by Marianne Michaels, www.mariannemichaels.com. This event is free, but registration is encouraged. Please invite a friend and call (484) 483-3495, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or register on Facebook by noon on Friday Oct. 2. See you there!
Thinking Outside the Box
In a small town, hundreds of years ago, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark. The loan-shark was a very old, unattractive looking guy that just so happened to fancy the business owner's daughter.
He decided to offer the businessman a deal that would completely wipe out the debt he owed him. However, the catch was that we would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman's daughter.
Needless to say, this proposal was met with a look of disgust.
The loan-shark said that he would place two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black. The daughter would then have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If it was black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her. If it was white, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter wouldn't have to marry the loan-shark.
Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman's garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked up two pebbles.
Whilst he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that he'd picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag. He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one.
The daughter naturally had three choices as to what she could have done:
- Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.
- Take both pebbles out of the bag and expose the loan-shark for cheating.
- Pick a pebble from the bag fully well knowing it was black and sacrifice herself for her father's freedom.
She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it 'accidentally' dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She said to the loan-shark; "Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked."
The pebble left in the bag is obviously black, and seeing as the loan-shark didn't want to be exposed, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter dropped was white, and clear her father's debt.
Moral of the story:
It's always possible to overcome a tough situation through out of the box thinking, and not give in to the only options you think you have to pick from.
In Your Garden October
Edibles: Vegetables & Fruits
- The first frost usually arrives early to mid October. Extend the growing season by covering on nights when temperatures drop in the 30's and uncover when it warms in the morning.
- Sow cover crops such as winter rye after crops are harvested.
- Gourds should be harvested when their shells become hard or when their color changes from green to brown.
- Continue harvesting tender crops before frost.
- Fruits: Store apples in a cool basement in old plastic sacks that have been perforated for good air circulation.
- Organic fertilizers include dried blood, bone meal, blood, fish and bone meal, hoof and horn, and seaweed.
- Bury or discard any spoiled fallen fruits.
- Pinch off any young tomatoes that are too small to ripen. This will channel energy into ripening the remaining full-size fruits.
- Plant hybrid berries and blackberries from now until late winter. Space the plants 6-10 feet apart, depending on the variety's vigor.
- Check all along peach tree trunks to just below soil line for gummy masses caused by borers. Probe holes with thin wire to puncture borers.
- Paw paws ripen in the woods now.
- Pick Brussels sprouts as soon as the buttons are firm. Pick only those that are ready, leaving the others to mature.
- Sow spinach now to overwinter under mulch for spring harvest.
- Fall color season begins.
- Cut off and burn old potato shoots badly infected with disease.
- Dig up endive when the leaves die. Cut off the roots and store these in a cellar or cool shed. The roots are later forced to produce fresh shoots.
- Plant blackcurrants from now and until early spring, whenever the soil is workable. Do not plant them when the soil is frozen or waterlogged. Space the plants 5-6 feet apart, immediately cutting down the shoots within 2 inches of the soil's surface.
- Harvest winter squash and pumpkins before frost. For best storage quality, leave an inch or two of stem on each fruit.
- Dig sweet potatoes before a bad freeze.
- Plant spring cabbages 10-12 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart.
- Fruits: Persimmons start to ripen, especially after frost.
- Don't store potatoes in plastic bags as they create condensation and cause tubers to decay. Preferably, use burlap sacks. Alternatively, employ sacks made from several layers of brown paper. Store them in a cool, frost proof shed, and cover with an old blanket to exclude light.
- Aerating lawns is best tackled in the fall and early winter. Equipment to remove cores of soil from lawns can be bought or rented and is ideal for large areas. Small lawns, however, are usually aerated by inserting the prongs of garden forks into them. After forking, rake the lawn and brush in a mixture of equal parts sharp sand and potting compost.
- It is not uncommon to see puffballs (a type of mushroom) in lawn areas at this time.
- Newly seeded lawns should not be cut until they are at least 2 or 3 inches tall.
- Bumps and depressions in lawns can be eliminated by slicing back the turf and either adding or removing soil.
- After naturalizing daffodils in a lawn, mark out the area so that it will not be walked on.
- If the summer has been exceptionally wet, badly drained lawns will now be evident, with water resting on the surface. Install drains now or during winter. Dig narrow trenches in a herringbone fashion, with the end draining into a ditch or large hole filled with rubble.
- Broadleaf herbicides can be applied now to control cool-season weeds such as chickweed and dandelion.
- Continue watering, especially evergreens if soils are dry.
- Nuts or seeds of woody plants usually require exposure to 3 months cold before sprouting. This may be provided by outdoor planting in fall or "stratifying" in an unsealed bag of damp peat moss placed in the refrigerator.
- Container grown and B&B trees and shrubs can be planted. Loosen the soil in an area 2 times the diameter of the root ball before planting. Mulch well after watering.
- Plant spring bulbs among hostas, ferns, daylilies or ground covers. As these plants grow in the spring they will hide the dying bulb foliage.
- Poinsettias can be forced into bloom for Christmas if they are moved indoors now to a sunny windowsill. Each night, they must be kept in a cool, dark place where there is no light for 14 hours. This must continue until proper color is achieved in 6-10 weeks.
- Perennials, especially spring bloomers, can be divided now. Enrich the soil with peat moss or compost before replanting.
- Divide peonies now. Replant in a sunny site and avoid planting deeply.
- Lift gladioli when their leaves yellow. Cure in an airy place until dry before husking.
- For best bloom later this winter, Christmas cactus, potted azaleas and kalanchoe may be left outdoors until night temperatures drop to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cannas and dahlias can be dug when frost nips their foliage. Allow the plants to dry under cover in an airy, frost-free place before storage.
- Spring bulbs for forcing can be potted up now and stored in a cool, frost-free place until it is time to bring indoors, usually 12 to 15 weeks.
- Bring in tender plants before the first frost. Before bringing houseplants back inside inspect closely for insect pests such as aphids, spider mites, scale, and whitefly. Treat if necessary.
- To help prevent a buildup of decaying leaves in your water garden, which can result in dying fish and lead to other problems, place netting over your pond. Cut back hardy marginal plants and move them to the bottom of the pond. Be sure to keep a hole open in the ice to allow toxic gases to escape and oxygen to get in by installing a bubbler/standpipe or placing a pond heater before the water freezes.
- Proper pruning at the appropriate times throughout the year makes a huge difference in reducing winter damage from ice and snow. Before the first snow falls, wrap trees and shrubs such as Arborvitae, so that the branches aren't damaged by the weight of the snow. Learn more here: Preventing Winter Damage to Plants
Pests and Problems
- Keep a watchful eye for Spotted Lantern Fly egg masses and destroy any you find. SLF adults lay eggs starting in October and will continue to lay eggs through the first few hard frosts. Egg masses are live and viable from about October through July. You can scrape them off of trees or smooth surfaces, double bag them and throw them in the garbage, or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them. Check out this video to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZvzZLBepNs
- Plant cool-season lawn grasses by October 15. Existing lawn or newly seeded areas that are at least one month old can also be fertilized at this time. Dig and divide or plant new perennials by October 15 to allow time for the plants to root in well before winter.
- Apply herbicides to kill cool-season, broad-leaf weeds in lawns, such as dandelion, plantain, chickweed, henbit and dead nettle now when the weeds are actively growing. Applying herbicides in the fall can reduce damage to nearby plants. Spot-application to individual weeds is more environmentally friendly than wholesale application to the whole lawn.
- Protect newly planted spring-flowering bulbs from squirrels and dogs that can dig them up by covering the areas with chicken wire. Hold off planting tulips until November when the soil temperature is cooler.
- Collect and dispose of dropped and mummified fruit from fruit trees to help control diseases and/or pests that overwinter in dropped fruit. The fruit should be composted, buried, or sent to a municipal yard waste composting center or landfill.
- Yellowing interior needles on white pine and other conifers can be normal needle drop which occurs in the fall. Ozone damage appears as bleached spots on both current and older needles that turn tan or brown. The lack of any fruiting bodies indicates an environmental problem rather than a fungal disease.
- Swish cuttings taken of outdoor plants to root and over winter indoors in soapy water before placing them in water or a rooting medium to help control insects that may be present. Repeat monthly for cuttings you are rooting in water.
- Moles may cause damage to lawns as they feed on earthworms, grubs and other soil inhabitants. Mounds of soil that appear on the ground surface result from moles pushing soil upwards when excavating deep runs, nests, and food storage areas.
- Unlike many spider mites that are most active in hot, dry weather the spruce spider mite proliferates in the cool temperatures of spring and fall. They can cause substantial damage to spruce, hemlocks, and junipers. Examine yellowing needles on spruce now for these mites. Treat if necessary. Controls are the same as for other spider mites.
- Protect plants from early frosts to extend the season.
- Both box elder and red-shouldered bugs are commonly seen in large masses on tree trunks and the siding of buildings at this time of year. They do little damage to trees but will feed on the seeds. Asian multicolored lady beetles may also be found this time of year. For home gardeners they are beneficial but a nuisance. Control out of doors for these three insects is not recommended, Homeowners may find them objectionable when they migrate indoors. Insects found indoors can simply be vacuumed up and released outdoors.
- Prune out and dispose of dead and diseased tips of pines infected with Sphaeropis tip blight. Also collect and dispose of as many of the pine cones as is feasible. Note: White pine is rarely affected by this disease.