Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gardening tips for October...

--By Pat Kriener, Village historical interpreter and Master Gardener

I am sorry this month's article is so late, but it’s hard to tie me to the computer with so much fall decorating & gardening to do, clearance sales to haunt, fall events to enjoy and lectures to attend.. Every spring we rejoice in the first blooms of spring but for me fall has its own magic with the beautiful colors of autumn. Bringing these colors to your own landscape can be as easy as adding a few PLANTS FOR FALL COLOR.

  • Plant for Fall ColorTREES – Bald Cypress, Cedar Elm, Dogwood, Sycamore, Sweet Gum, Shumard Oak, Texas Smoke Tree.  SHRUBS– American Beauty berry, Possum haw Holly & Yaupon.  PERENNIALS– Mexican Bush Sage, Mexican Mint Marigold & Sedum, Autumn Joy.  Roses – Belinda’s Dream & Knock Out. VINES- Trumpet Vine & Virginia Creeper.  Fall Blooming Bulbs such as Autumn Crocus are planted in the spring.

  • Annuals – Plant now by hardiness. Hardy to Frost - Alyssum, Marigold, Petunia, Stock. Hardy to Freeze - Dianthus & Snapdragon. Hardy to Hard Freeze – Dusty miller, Flowering cabbage, Flowering Kale, pansy & Viola. Don’t forget pumpkins make wonderful planters. 

  •   Bulbs – It’s time to plant your favorite spring bulbs. Caladiums can be dug up once the leaves have fallen and look tired but before they are dead. Lay them out in a cool dry place to dry.

  • Compost Bin  – Spread compost, turn piles, Bins already full? Make a New Bin!

  • Containers with Fall Color – Use perennials & annuals recommended above with a mixture of shrubs such as Abelia, Beautyberry, American Holly, Indian Hawthorn, Mexican Orange, Yaupon Holly & Viburnum or evergreen arborvitaes. Use evergreen herbs for added scent and texture to your containers; Germander, Greek Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary. Don’t forget you can add any of these plants to your beds.

  • Herbs –Plant evergreen herbs in pots, beds or even as a hedge row, remove spent biannual and annual herbs, cut back perennial herbs, continue moving and dividing herbs, add compost to new plantings and top-dress existing plants, pot up tender plants such as basil to over-winter in the greenhouse or house for fresh basil all winter. Don’t forget to add mulch to help protect your herbs from the chill of winter. Plant indoor herb garden to enjoy all winter long. 

  • Fruit Trees- Remember to water your fruit trees even when they are not producing. An easy way to get those pears to ripen is to put them in a paper bag; lay the bag on its side so the pears are not stacked on top of each other.

  •  Greenhouse – If you cover your greenhouse in plastic for the winter, now is the time to pull out your supplies and see if you have enough or purchase more if needed. You will want to have your plastic up between mid-Oct and mid-Nov. Start taking cuttings of tender plants such as begonias, sweet potato vine, sedums, basil and others so you have will have stock for spring. 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. Continue planting seed for winter annuals and vegetables. Transplant all plants with true leaves, but first harden them off for 3 to 5 days.

  •  Houseplants – Start thinking about bringing your Outdoor House plants in. Check for pests on foliage and in soil. Soak your pots with water so the toads will vacate. Repot if needed, cut off all dead plant material, and give liquid seaweed to help with stress. 

  • Lawn – Lawn – It’s time to put down pre-emergent and fertilize for the fall. I use corn gluten meal with dried molasses, but ask your local garden center or extension agent to find the products that will work best for you. Leaves will be dropping soon; don’t bag those leaves use a mulching mower for FREE fertilizer & mulch.

  • Mulch – Texas gardener’s secret weapon is MULCH--Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter!

  • Perennials – Plant NOW! Haunt the clearance sales.

  • Problems – Molds, fungus, disease and an abundance of pests such as aphids, mealy bugs, scale and spider mites. To learn about your existing problems and what solutions are available contact your local Extension Agent, Master Gardener or Garden Center.

  • Roses – Mulch, fertilize, water during dry spells, deadhead and if you are an organic gardener collect rose hips for tea. Plant EarthKind Roses Now!

  • Trees – This is the best time to plant trees in Texas, so hit those clearance sales.

  • Vegetable Garden – Harvest snap beans, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant into November and early December. Vegetables to Plant: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, cucumbers, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce, kale, radish, shallots, snap beans and Swiss chard. Always check “Days to harvest” on the package and usually our first hard frost is in Mid-Nov. Plant your broccoli, cabbage, collards and lettuce you started from seed last month. Start a Strawberry Bed. Clean up beds, add compost, and cover with mulch. If you are not replanting, plant a “green manure”, a crop allowed to grow for a few months, but before it seeds it is tilled in to provide organic matter for the soil. Vetch, crimson clover and oats are good choices. Use cold frames and covers for warm-season crops, such as basil, tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers to extend your harvest in fall.

  • Watering – A 7-day watering schedule is good for your pocket book and your plants, but remember the best way to protect your plants from a sudden dip in temperatures is to have plenty of mulch & water the SOIL before the temperature takes a nose drive.

  • Rainwater Harvesting – We have not had frequent rain, but enough to keep my barrels from becoming dry or to resort to using tap water for the greenhouse or container plants.  Recently I connected a rain barrel and a simple ball float system (like in the toilet) to the chickens' water so it automatically fills from the rain barrel as the water level lowers.

  • Wildflowers – Plant Texas Native Wildflowers now--they are the best for our climate and ecosystem
  • Wildlife in the Garden – I am always encouraging wildlife into the garden but it does create challenges. I used to put out wildflower seed just to watch it become a birdie buffet, but several years ago I learned about a Native American planting method called Seed Balls. This is very simple to do, get some soil wet it to the consistency of mud pies of old, then mix your seed into your mud.  Roll into several balls about the size of golf balls. Let the balls dry for 2 to 3 days, and then toss them in the desired location. No bed prep, no raking...just toss and walk away. It is great fun for everyone but the birds.

Hope to see you at the clearance sales!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We're hiring!

Think you've got what it takes to come learn and work with us?  We are advertising for the position described below. If you are interested follow this link to the City of Fort Worth Jobs web site to apply.  Just look for the Historical Interpreter position.

Thanks for your interest!

ANN# S01-471
CLOSING DATE: October 31, 2012


The position works approximately 29-34 hours per pay period (two weeks).  
Two schedule options:  
  • Every Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and every Saturday and Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. OR 
  • Tuesday and Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and every Saturday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

High School Diploma or GED required and possess a working knowledge of 19TH century crafts.  Successful candidates must be able to display excellent interpersonal and communication skills in dealing with parents, children and other staff members.

The Log Cabin Village is looking for qualified candidates to serve as Historical Interpreter for the public.  This position provide programs for tourists and organized groups; provide historical information to visitors of all ages; demonstrates and produces 19TH century crafts; wear 19TH century historical attire at all times; assists Educator with family programs and maintains assigned cabin. 


Environmental Conditions:

Work outdoors and in historic buildings with no air conditioning or heat. A combination of heaters, electric fans, and wood stoves are used for climate control.

Physical Conditions: The position is responsible for cleaning (sweeping, dusting, and keeping viewing area glass clean) in assigned work area.

Monday, October 8, 2012