Friday, September 7, 2012

September Gardening Tips...

By Pat Kriener, Village interpreter and Master Gardener 

FALL IS FOR PLANTING! On average our winters are mild when compared to our summers so planting in the fall is less stressful on you and your plants. To survive a Texas Summer, newly planted plants need constant water because they do not have an adequate root system to support themselves. By planting in the fall, the plant has several months to develop a strong root system, which will give it a better chance to survive our Texas Summers.

  • Fall is for Planting – This is the best time to plant perennials, shrubs & trees in Texas.
  • Annuals -Mums are already in the garden centers. Soon many of the other fall & winter plants such as carnations, cyclamen, dianthus, kale, primrose, and pansies will arrive 
  • Bulbs - Don’t forget many bulbs are planted in the fall in pots and in the ground for blooming in the spring.  Start making plans now; order your bulbs and visit your garden centers to learn more about bulbs. Divide iris and calla lily at this time.
  • Compost Bin - I have so much waste from the garden and kitchen that is considered wet material that I am adding bagged compost and turning often to even out the balance. Top-dress your beds and vegetable garden with compost because as you water or it rains, it will slowly work its way into the soil for slow-release fertilizer
  • Containers – This is the time to check out the garden centers to freshen those containers with plants that thrive in the cooler temperatures.
  • Flower Garden - Trimming, deadheading and fertilizing will keep the garden looking well maintained and encourage their beauty to last until frost.
  • Fruit Trees- most of our fruit trees harvests are over for the season, except for a few varieties of apples and pears that are still producing.  Remember to make sure they get watered even when not producing
  • Greenhouse –Check for fungus related diseases & pests. Seed for winter annuals and vegetables. Transplant all plants with true leaves but first hardened them for a few hours outside and then plant after 3 to 5 days. Begin cleaning to make room for cold tender plants already in pots. Get your pots and your soil ready for any tender plants you need to dig up to winter over.
  • Lawn – Mid Sept. is time to put down pre-emergent and fertilize for the fall. Leaves will be dropping soon. Don’t’ bag those leaves: mulch them into the lawn for fertilizer and mulch, add them to your beds or the compost. 
  • Mulch - Mulch to conserve water and so you don’t have to Weed – Weed – Weed. If plants look over-watered, pull mulch away from them so they can have a chance to air out.

  • Perennials – this is a great time to get out there & divide, propagate and plant perennials.
  • Problems - Molds, fungus, disease and an abundance of pests such as aphids, mealy bugs, scale and spider mites are a few of the problems plaguing our plants. The grasshoppers will soon follow them, but if you need help with any problems such as these, contact your local Extension Agent, Master Gardener or Garden Center to help identify your problem and the appropriate solutions. 
  • Rainwater - Build a dry creek bed to help to redirect water to your gardens or to solve your drainage and runoff problems. Don’t forget to put out buckets to catch rainwater.  For more information on using rainwater wisely go to. Mosquito prevention--cover with screens, use mosquito dunks or add mosquito fish to your barrels.
  • The Fall Vegetable Garden – Write down an evaluation of the garden successes and failures. Make notes on what changes you want to make for next year. Don’t rip out those tomato plants--cut them back and fertilize them. Most varieties will continue producing into the fall months. Harvest snap beans, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant into November and early December. All of the perennial herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano and others can be harvested all winter.  If you do not have them in your garden, plant them now. Vegetables to Plant: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, cucumbers, lima beans, snow peas, Irish potatoes, kale, leeks, lettuce, radish, rutabagas, shallots and snap beans. Plant your broccoli, cabbage, collards and lettuce you started from seed last month. Cleanup beds, add compost and add waste to the compost bin. Don’t have a garden? Or just don’t want to run out to the garden in the cold? Start a fall/winter container garden by the front or back door so you can enjoy vegetables & herbs all though the cooler seasons.
  • Watering – If we do not get rain, a 7 day watering cycle is best for your plants. New plantings may need to be watered more often to deal with the heat but soon they will have relief.
  • Wildflowers  Buy your wildflowers NOW!  We start planting soon.
  • Wildlife in the Garden - Mosquitoes a problem? One way you can help is to encourage wildlife that eat mosquitoes to your backyard such as: dragonflies, toads, frogs, lizards, bluebirds and bats.

Fall is for planting so get out there and plant the landscape of your dreams!.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

With apologies...aka "why we don't post very often"

First of all, thank you for your support (because if you're reading this, you are showing your support by attending to what we have to say)!  If you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you may have noticed that the posting frequency has become rather slow.  This is not due to a lack of things to talk about.  It is a result of quite the opposite:  so many wonderful things going on...and not enough time to sit down and tell you about them!

Two years ago, we lost one of our full-time staff members to budget cuts.  The unfortunate result is that we are faced with doing more with less.  The blog is one of the areas which has suffered due to lack of time and staff.  The good news?  We are seeing more and more visitors on site and providing them with amazing 19th c. experiences they won't soon forget.

But we haven't forgotten you...our "virtual" visitors.  We will continue to provide 1-2 blog posts a month.  We will post frequently on our Facebook page, sharing marvelous information about what's happening here AND on other related topics.  You can always find out the latest happenings on our Calendar of Events.  And you can always reach us via email.

We appreciate you always, and we're grateful that you've stuck around!  We hope to see you online or in person (or both) soon!