How about that cool (cooler) weather that passed through the middle of September? I was lovin’ on the morning temps. Did that get you in the mood to plant your Fall veggies and flowers? Yup, me too. But I know that if the soil temperature isn’t 40-50 degrees and the average air temp isn’t 68-89 degrees, my plants might bolt and set seed early or just quit growing altogether. That’s why they are called “cool season” plants. They like it cool for optimum health. Yes, there are some that will be fine in the transition, but I don’t want to waste my time and money only to find out that I made the wrong choices. My soil tested at 65-68 degrees on Sept. 13. To test your soil, go to Revell Hardware and get yourself a soil temperature probe, located in the Garden Department. If you haven’t tested your soil PH yet, grab one of those testers too. For the temperature, insert the probe about 4” into the soil where you will be planting. I gave it a few minutes in the soil for accuracy.
Veggies to plant (when ready)
Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Collards, Carrots, Lettuce, Mustard, Spinach, and Turnips are the most common Fall plants. Of course there are many others such as Cucumber, Snap Peas, Beans, Cauliflower, Radishes and a few others. Plant what you will eat or grow for your neighbors. Revell Hardware in Clinton has local seed specifically created for our climate zone. Check your local planting guide for Zone 8 to determine when, what, and how to plant. I keep a garden journal to keep track of frost dates, weather, insect problems and IDs, plant varieties that do or don’t do well, and soil amendments and fertilization schedule. I refer to it often. I will admit that I find Mississippi weather doesn’t always behave the way the books are written. That’s why gardening is always a challenge and fun. Okay, maybe not so much fun, but it will keep you in shape.
Don’t forget about adding aged compost (you can’t add too much)and soil amendments to your plot. I know you paid attention to the last newsletter that told you to test your soil and add appropriate amendments such as Lime or Sulfur to adjust PH, or Bone Meal, Blood Meal, or whatever the tests showed to get your soil up to par. It’s all about the soil, Gardeners. A fifty dollar plant put into a 2 dollar hole will give you a 2 dollar plant. Don’t scrimp on your soil. It’s the plants life source. I suggest you add a fertilizer rich in Nitrogen as most plants, with the exception of Tomatoes and Peppers, are heavy Nitrogen feeders. Personally, I use Fertilome’s Gardner’s Special with a Nitrogen of 11, Phosphorus 15 and Potassium 11. The Nitrogen is both slow and fast release, giving Nitrogen to the plant all season long. It also has additional trace elements that the plants need for optimal health.
Charming your Fall Landscape
Keeping your landscape charming throughout the Fall season gives most Gardeners the most fun. You get to go to the Nurseries and try to make a decision on the overwhelming abundance of colorful flowers and plants. And of course, the Nursery seems to know just how to arrange them in mock landscapes to make you want to redesign yours. Petunias, Daisies, Phlox, Coneflower, Ornamental Cabbage, Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths and the list goes on and on. Good luck choosing a select few. Just go for it!
And here come the bugs
Although the human-bugging bugs seem to become less in cool weather, the plant-destroying ones have had all Summer to multiply and lay eggs that are ready to hatch. It’s extremely important to be vigilant on identifying each bug and managing them before they become a problem. Pheromone traps (sticky traps) attract the bugs that are scoping out your plants and help you identify them. Like weed control in the last newsletter, each type of “bug” can be targeted (killed, controlled) with a specific product. We don’t want to just pick up an insecticide and spray irresponsibly, killing or harming the “good “bugs. Yes, there are many, many good bugs that keep nature balanced. Birds, frogs, toads all eat insects. I think we like our birds but if they eat poisoned insects, their own life is also in jeopardy. Just saying. We have Biologic and Growth Interrupter controls that do not hurt the environment, but destroy the bugs. Please ask our knowledgeable associates at Revell Hardware for the correct products.
Winterizing your Lawn
Late October, early November is the right time. As the cooler temps begin to slow down your grasses upright growth, it still needs energy to grow its roots. This helps it store energy for the Spring growth. When Spring comes, it will green up quickly. As I said in last month’s newsletter, I use Fertilome’s Winterizer for Established Lawns, but there are several brands available at Revell ACE Hardware.
Contact me with your experiences, suggestions, and questions** or just stop in to Revell ACE Hardware and get expert advice from one of our associates. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Kari ‘Lady ACE’ Thomas
** To reach out to Kari, send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call or stop by Clinton Revell ACE Hardware.