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The glorious days of fall gardening



  The apples are sweet and crisp, the pecans are fat and falling, my pomegranate bush has its second crop and the sweet potatoes are dug. The Japanese Persimmons are beginning to turn orange.  

  The native persimmons are following suit. I thought cool weather would never come! Fall is so amazing!  

  Some of the raised beds that held tomatoes and peppers are now cleaned, tilled and wet and covered with plastic. My garden spot that flourishes with amaranth weed has been roto-tilled, wet down and covered with a layer of clear plastic and a layer of black plastic. I intend to roast those seed and kill all the possible disease organisms with heat. 

  In some other places my lettuce is growing and some is bolting (forming flower stalks). More seed will be planted for another quick crop of lettuce - so fresh and tasty.

Pomegranate bushes are having their second crop.                                       Special photo

  It is time to plant broccoli, cabbage, collards, carrots and all the other cool season crops. Greens such as spinach, turnips, kale, rape, and mustard can be planted separately or purchased as mixed greens. Fall vegetable gardening is my favorite - less disease and insects to make my life miserable.

  While you are contemplating the fall and winter garden, purchase a few Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower plants. These are interesting to watch grow and taste good if you are successful. Watch for the cabbage looper (caterpillar) on the cole crops. He will almost always know where your plants are growing, so have some Thuricide (spray) or Dipel dust ready. These products contain Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) an organism that attacks soft-bodied worms.  But is a great biological insecticide to keep on hand for tent caterpillars, bagworms, tomato hornworms, cabbage loopers, and all types of leaf-eating larvae. These products are available at your local garden center and many hardware stores.

Pansies are a hearty annual flower that thrive in fall and winter.                          Special photo

  For all you flower lovers, it is time to plant those cool weather annuals - pansies, violas, and snapdragons combined with parsley, red mustard, and colorful Swiss Chard for interesting textures and colors. Leave a few spaces here and there in your flower beds for slipping in a few tulips. The hardest problem will be choosing the color combinations that you like. Remember to plant the lighter colors in distant beds and darker colors in containers and close-up beds. Darker colors are hard to see in the distance.

  Bulbs of all types are in the garden center. Adding a few daffodils and hybrid lilies each year will enhance the garden and remain for many years. There are also perennials available in the nurseries that will complete the gardening color. 

  Fall is by far the best time of the year to plant cool season annuals, most all perennials, all shrubs and trees. Planting this time of year keeps the watering schedule at a minimum, allows the plants to form good root systems while the weather is not so hot and provides us with color, even in the grayest of winter days. Then spring will bring all these fall gardening activities to their best show just about the time we wonder if warm weather will ever come.



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