Autumn’s arrival means it’s GARDEN CLEAN-UP time
VALLI HARDGRAVE | Tips From One of Hopkins County’s Master Gardeners

Oct. 1, 2006 - Fall has finally arrived, and we are not only enjoying cooler temperatures, but much-needed and welcome rains have allowed us to cut back on watering. By this time of the year most gardeners are tiring of garden chores but we can't relax just yet. It's time for the Fall Garden Clean-Up!

Garden sanitation is essential to reduce insect and disease problems for next year's garden. The fall clean-up involves removing any plant debris that is turning yellow or is brown. Foliage that is still green should be left, as this indicates that the plant is still manufacturing food for next years growth. Be sure to add any healthy plant debris to the compost pile. Next, do a thorough, final weeding to ensure that weeds are not left to set seed and supply you with hundreds come next Spring.

Now is a great time to add plenty of organic mulch to the soil. The mulch will break down through the winter and will improve soil texture for spring planting. 

Roses are rewarding us with spectacular fall blooms. Continue to deadhead the spent blooms and rake or remove dead leaves from under roses to help eliminate a breeding ground for insect pests and fungal diseases. Roses will require no further fertilizing until next Spring. 

October is a prime fall planting and transplanting season for perennials. Lightly fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer at half strength after planting or transplanting. Dig up and store summer bulbs late this month. Clip off any top growth, allow to dry completely and store in vermiculite or a simular material and place in a dry cool location.

If you haven't winterized your lawn yet, the first week of October is the prime final fertilization time. A 4-1-2 or 3-1-2 ratio works well for our North Texas lawns. Also, it is not too late to apply a post-emergent broadleaf weed control.

While the prime time to plant trees and shrubs in our area is in November and even early December, planting can begin this month. Do not prune trees or shrubs severely now. Only deadhead and remove any sick, diseased or dead branches. Do NOT prune early spring flowering shrubs or you will cut the flower buds off and they will not flower!

Plant spring flowering bulbs, except tulips and hyacinths, which must be refrigerated for 45 days prior to planting. Store them in the lower part of a refrigerator, but not in an airtight plastic bag. Plant bulbs in well prepared beds so the base of the bulb is at a depth that is three times the diameter of the bulb.


October is the time to plant garlic

Plant garlic before the end of this month as it requires a cold treatment of 40 degrees for two months to induce bulbing. Purchase or order garlic bulbs from nurseries. There are three main kinds of garlic. The first is "Common soft neck garlic" which is the kind that is usually found in most supermarkets and usually keep longer. The second is the "Hard neck silverskin" usually used for braiding and found at farmers' markets. Hard neck garlic is usually easier to peel but does not store well. The third kind is "Elephant garlic." This type has enormous cloves but has a milder flavor.

Plant cloves pointed tip up in well-drained, richly organic soil at a depth of 2 to 4 inches deep. As the green growth is produced, trim off any flower buds that develop. Plants are ready to harvest when the foliage starts to turn brown, usually in July or August. After cleaning the bulbs, place the bulbs on screen trays to dry in a cool, well-ventilated dark location.


THANKS to everyone who participated in the Horticulture and Homemaking Skills Competition at the 2006 Fall Festival and to all of you who volunteered your time. Johanna Hicks and her staff did a great job, and we appreciate each of you. 

Fall has finally arrived, and we are not only enjoying cooler temperatures, but much-needed and welcome rains have allowed us to cut back on watering. By this time of the year most gardeners are tiring of garden chores but we can't relax just yet. It's time for the Fall Garden Clean-Up!

Garden sanitation is essential to reduce insect and disease problems for next year's garden. The fall clean-up involves removing any plant debris that is turning yellow or is brown. Foliage that is still green should be left, as this indicates that the plant is still manufacturing food for next years growth. Be sure to add any healthy plant debris to the compost pile. Next, do a thorough, final weeding to ensure that weeds are not left to set seed and supply you with hundreds come next Spring.

Now is a great time to add plenty of organic mulch to the soil. The mulch will break down through the winter and will improve soil texture for spring planting. 

Roses are rewarding us with spectacular fall blooms. Continue to deadhead the spent blooms and rake or remove dead leaves from under roses to help eliminate a breeding ground for insect pests and fungal diseases. Roses will require no further fertilizing until next Spring. 

October is a prime fall planting and transplanting season for perennials. Lightly fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer at half strength after planting or transplanting. Dig up and store summer bulbs late this month. Clip off any top growth, allow to dry completely and store in vermiculite or a simular material and place in a dry cool location.

If you haven't winterized your lawn yet, the first week of October is the prime final fertilization time. A 4-1-2 or 3-1-2 ratio works well for our North Texas lawns. Also, it is not too late to apply a post-emergent broadleaf weed control.

While the prime time to plant trees and shrubs in our area is in November and even early December, planting can begin this month. Do not prune trees or shrubs severely now. Only deadhead and remove any sick, diseased or dead branches. Do NOT prune early spring flowering shrubs or you will cut the flower buds off and they will not flower!

Plant spring flowering bulbs, except tulips and hyacinths, which must be refrigerated for 45 days prior to planting. Store them in the lower part of a refrigerator, but not in an airtight plastic bag. Plant bulbs in well prepared beds so the base of the bulb is at a depth that is three times the diameter of the bulb.


October is the time

to plant

garlic

Plant garlic before the end of this month as it requires a cold treatment of 40 degrees for two months to induce bulbing. Purchase or order garlic bulbs from nurseries. There are three main kinds of garlic. The first is "Common soft neck garlic" which is the kind that is usually found in most supermarkets and usually keep longer. The second is the "Hard neck silverskin" usually used for braiding and found at farmers' markets. Hard neck garlic is usually easier to peel but does not store well. The third kind is "Elephant garlic." This type has enormous cloves but has a milder flavor.

Plant cloves pointed tip up in well-drained, richly organic soil at a depth of 2 to 4 inches deep. As the green growth is produced, trim off any flower buds that develop. Plants are ready to harvest when the foliage starts to turn brown, usually in July or August. After cleaning the bulbs, place the bulbs on screen trays to dry in a cool, well-ventilated dark location.


THANKS to everyone who participated in the Horticulture and Homemaking Skills Competition at the 2006 Fall Festival and to all of you who volunteered your time. Johanna Hicks and her staff did a great job, and we appreciate each of you. 

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