Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall Gardening Tips

Bring in your houseplants that have summered outdoors. When nighttime low temperatures get to around 50° is time to start moving them back inside. When indoor plants have been outdoors for the summer, roots may grow through the bottom of the pot. If the pots are sitting on the ground, give the pots a twist to loosen. Check them carefully before bringing back inside. Pests may have set up summer homes in your plants. A good gentle spraying with the garden hose will help dislodge and clean the plant before you return it to its indoor home.

If you want your Christmas cactus to bloom on time, start in the fall. About three months from the desired bloom time, stop feeding, reduce or stop watering, give the plant complete darkness from sundown to sunrise, and then sunlight all day. When buds have formed, resume a regular water and food schedule and you will have beautiful flowers in December.

Fall is a great time to add to your compost. Leaves and other lawn and garden cleanup material are perfect for composting. Turn your compost material at least once a week with a garden fork to speed its decay. Chopping and shredding materials to make them smaller before adding to the pile helps compost break down faster.

If you are in a colder climate, the temperature in the pile may diminish. You may want to cover the compost pile to retain heat.

Get your tools, especially your mower, ready for the off-season with a little simple maintenance. They'll be ready to go to work next year when spring fever strikes.

Drain the water from garden hoses at the end of the season. Coil them and store them in a spot where they won't freeze.

Clean up debris in the lawn and garden. Leaves, sticks, rocks and other late season leftovers can harm next year's lawn and harbor pests and diseases over the winter.

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