Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Honey-Do List for the Garden

Good morning honey! Happy first day of Autumn. Why don't you take a few minutes to relax while you revisit my post from last year and think about the beautiful time of year that starts today.

And now, put on your gardening gloves because I have a nice little honey-do list for you to get the gardens ship shape for Autumn. (Excerpts from the Maryland Home and Garden Newsletter)
Make more Compost - Fall is a good time to start a compost pile by mixing together spent plants, kitchen scraps, fallen leaves, old mulch and grass clippings. Shred your materials with a lawnmower, string trimmer or machete to speed-up the breakdown process. Keep twigs, branches and other woody materials out of the pile. Related Post

Keep the critters happy - Keep birdbaths cleaned and re-filled. Don’t remove the large seedheads of black-eyed susans, coneflowers, and other perennials for birds to feed on over the winter. Leave hummingbird feeders up through October. Related posts: Autumn in the Garden, Great Time for Backyard Birds

Mulch the leaves - Leaves that fall onto the lawn can be shredded with a lawnmower and left to decompose naturally. Run over the accumulated leaves several times with the mower to break them into small pieces. The decomposing leaves release nutrients and add organic matter to the soil; they will not hurt the turf. Remove deep piles of leaves or turf crowns may smother and die. Related Post

Move some trees - Remember those trees that were really scary because they seemed a little too close to the house during all the wind from hurricane Irene? Now is a good time to plant or transplant trees. 
However, dogwood, tulip poplar, pin oak and evergreens should not be dug up and moved (transplanted) in the fall; these species will usually fail to establish a root system in the fall. Related Post

Deal with the poison ivy - Poison ivy leaves turn red in the fall. Now is a good time to walk around the property and find where all of the poison ivy is. Deal with it as you see fit. Related Post

Cover your bald spots - Bare soil is prone to erosion especially over the winter and should be covered with mulch, groundcovers or turf. Related Post

Dispose of the chemicals - Avoid storing pesticides over the winter in sheds and garages. Cold temperatures can cause these materials to become ineffective. If you have questions about the efficacy of your pesticides call the manufacturer, using the phone number listed on the label. Related Post

When you are done with your other chores, you can. 

Have a beer with the slugs - The three types of slugs found in this area are the spotted garden slug (3-5inches), the tawny garden slug (2-3 inches) and the gray garden slug (2-3 inches). They cause damage (large holes in leaves) to a wide variety of annuals and perennials. Set out shallow saucers of beer or yeast mixed in water and a teaspoon of soap to attract and drown the slugs. ( Read more...)

1 comment:

  1. It's really a shame that gardeners perpetuate the idea that slugs are "bad" animals that need to be killed. Slugs are important recyclers, whether or not they are native.

    The reason people have trouble with them is because most folks clean up plant debris that really should be left in place for recyclers to break down.

    Dried stalks, leaves, etc., represent nutrients that have been extracted from the soil and those nutrients are supposed to be returned to the soil in the SAME location. Slugs, snails, millipedes, and numerous other recyclers would do this for people free of charge because it is their preferred food source.

    Recyclers eat healthy plants only when forced to do so because there's not enough plant debris available for them. I've been a gardener for decades and have NEVER had a slug or snail feeding on a healthy plant in my yard.

    The reason my yard functions without problems is because I don't break the "rules" of nature.


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