"The watering of a garden requires as much judgment as the seasoning of a soup."
~Helena Rutherford Ely
- Plant all types of permanent landscaping plants (trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ground covers) except for tropicals.
- Remove summer flowers and prepare the beds for cool season color with the addition of an organic soil amendment like GBO Soil Building Conditioner.
- Plant cool season annuals such as pansies, snapdragons, stocks, Iceland poppies, dianthus, calendulas, primrose and ornamental kale and cabbage.
- Plant bulbs such as daffodils, anemones, ranunculus, bearded iris, Dutch iris, lilies and more.
- Purchase tulip, hyacinth and crocus bulbs and place them in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for 6-8 weeks to prepare them for later planting.
- Plant cineraria for late and winter and early spring bloom.
- Scatter wildflower seeds, such as California poppies and others. Fall and winter rains will help them germinate for a lavish spring flower show. These are perfect additions for wilder, less cultivated areas of the garden, such as slopes.
- Plant cool season lawns by seed or sod such as fescue, perennial ryegrass or bluegrass. Fall is the best time of year by far for this job.
- Over-seed sparse lawns with a compatible grass seed.
- Fertilize your cool season lawn (fescue, perennial ryegrass or bluegrass) to prepare it for winter.
- Over-seed your Bermuda grass lawn with annual ryegrass if you want a beautiful, green carpet all winter long. When the warm weather returns, the annual ryegrass will die out and the Bermuda will take over once again.
- Remove old plants from the summer vegetable garden and prepare it for the fall crops by cultivating the soil and adding compost or an organic soil amendment like GBO Harvest Supreme.
- Plant cool season vegetables such as root crops, leafy vegetables, peas, broccoli and cauliflower.
- If you planted your sweet peas last month, thin them out and pinch them back to force branching; there is still time to plant them by seed or starts, also.
- Divide clumping plants that are overgrown such as ginger, clivia, agapanthus, daylily and bird of paradise.
- Divide perennials such as Shasta daisy, aster, chrysanthemum, rudbeckia and many others, if needed. Most perennials should be divided every 3-5 years.
- Cut back zonal, ivy and Martha Washington geraniums.
- Divide naturalized bulbs, if needed, such as belladonna lilies, daffodils, paper white narcissus and Dutch iris. If the bulbs are crowded and the bloom was sparse the previous spring, they probably should be divided.
- Divide hardy water lilies.
- Treat blue hydrangeas with aluminum sulfate to keep them blue (otherwise they will be pink next year).
- Apply one last round of fertilizer to roses early this month.
- Begin decreasing the amount of water given to deciduous fruit trees to help prepare for their winter dormancy.
- Remove summer annuals from outdoor containers and replace them with a cool-season alternative that will provide color from fall through next spring.
- If you have some shade plant a bed of cyclamen (or use them as container plants) for dependable color for the upcoming holiday season.
- Prune hedges and shrubs that have gotten out of hand over the summer. Do not prune spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs until after they bloom in the spring.
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By Tamara Galbraith
Nowadays, Americans are eating five times more fresh spinach than we did in the 1970s.
And forget about the canned, slimy stuff Popeye downed in one shot back in the old days; we now prefer our spinach fresh.
And what could be fresher than growing it yourself? The cool temperatures of autumn are perfect for optimum spinach production.
Those of us gardening in warmer regions grow spinach through the winter, as long as temps stay above 25 degrees. A light frost will not hurt it.
There are generally two types of spinach: smooth or savoyed.
Smooth types are more tender and are best for salads, while the crinkly leaves of savoy spinach can be rubbery and are better for cooking.
Some spinach cultivars walk the line between smooth and savoyed and are pretty yummy either raw or cooked.
If you're starting your spinach from seed, soak the seeds in a plastic baggie overnight in the refrigerator before planting.
This will soften the hard coating of the seed and allow better germination. Before transplanting, amend your soil with GBO Harvest Supreme. Place transplants about six inches apart, and make sure the soil stays moist and cool.
The biggest enemy of spinach is heat, so use shade cloth if temperatures rise dramatically during the day.
Mulch is also a good addition for keeping the soil cool. Spinach, like lettuce, does well in containers--with the advantage that you can move them into shadier areas if it gets too warm.
You can harvest spinach by individual leaves or by cropping off the entire plant at the base.
As long as temperatures remain cool, the plant will continue to produce leaves...and keep those delicious spinach salads coming.
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Have a bumper crop of pumpkins? Once you've made your quota of
pumpkin pies and carved all your jack-o-lanterns, continue to make
use of those colorful gourds to decorate your house, deck and patio
Create a festive container for fall-blooming plants such as
chrysanthemums or ornamental kale and cabbage, following these simple
- Select a pumpkin large enough to hold your potted plant.
- At the stem end of the pumpkin, cut a hole large enough to insert
- Use a large scoop to remove the pulp and seeds (reserve the seeds to
make a healthy treat--see below).
- Scrape the inside of the pumpkin so it is smooth and clean.
- To extend the life of your pumpkin and keep it from getting moldy,
spray a mixture of one part bleach per 1 quart water inside the
pumpkin and on the carved edge of the opening. Wait about 20 minutes
to allow the solution to penetrate and dry. Rub petroleum jelly on
the carved edge of the opening to prevent bacteria and mold and keep
it moist; wipe away any excess.
- Place a little sand in the bottom of your pumpkin to create
stability for your potted plant.
- Place your potted plant in the pumpkin, adjusting it in the sand
until it is the right height.
- For the longest life, place your cachepot out of direct sunlight
where it will be protected from rain and freezing temperatures.
Now--what to do with those seeds? Make some delicious Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds
for healthy snacking or as a great salad topping:
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds (1 large pumpkin should yield about 1 cup seeds)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or a little more, to taste)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Rinse seeds, removing as much of the pulp as possible; don't
worry about leaving a small amount of pulp (it is impossible to
remove it all).
Pat the seeds dry, then toss them with the butter, sugar and spices.
Spread the seeds in a shallow baking sheet (spray sheet with a light
coating of cooking spray to prevent sticking). Bake for 45-60
minutes, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and crunchy.
This recipe may be doubled or tripled, depending on the number of
seeds you have.
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How can I get my flowers to bloom more?
Most flowers and flowering plants need three essential ingredients to bloom: sunlight, nutrients, and warm soil. Even shade plants like azaleas and camellias need some sunlight in order to bloom. If your flowers are sun lovers, make sure they get at least five hours of sunlight per day--the more sunlight the better.
Key nutrients for blooming plants are phosphorus and potash. While most plants need some nitrogen to help them grow and stay green, too much can focus the plant on growing instead of blooming. Nitrogen is also more readily available in the soil and more easily taken up by the plant.
Feed flowering plants with a high phosphorus and potash but low nitrogen flower food like GBO Bud & Bloom. If that still doesn't work, starve them of nitrogen by feeding them with a no-nitrogen fertilizer.
Finally, make sure you don't water your plants too often. Allow the soil to dry out some between waterings, thus allowing the soil to warm up. If you water too much, the plants will often produce excessive fleshy growth and no blooms.
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- 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Step by Step:
- In a large re-sealable plastic bag, toss sweet potatoes and oil.
- Add remaining ingredients; toss to coat.
- Transfer to a greased 11" x 7" x 2" baking dish.
- Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring every 15 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings
Nutritional Analysis: One serving (3/4 cup) equals 149 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 164 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.