Thursday, December 09, 2021
28.0°F

MY GARDEN PATH: Fall has definitely arrived

by ELAINE CERNY/Special to The Press
| September 26, 2021 1:00 AM

Our gardening season will soon come to an end. Time to do those things that got put off all summer due to the heat and drought.

Fall is a good time to plant perennials. Also a good time to divide them if they've gotten too big. Most will take right off once they have more room to grow. This is especially true of those that have been growing in pots.

Fall is also a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Remember the rule: Don't prune trees and shrubs when they're putting on new leaves or dropping old ones. Any other time will work.

It will soon be time to dig up those dahlia tubers, gladiola bulbs, and tuberous begonias. Once they've had a strong blast of frost, wait a week and then dig up the dahlias. Wash off the dirt and once dry, put them into a spot indoors that will stay above 40 degrees all winter.

Gladiola bulbs are the easiest. Just dig them, cut off the tops and keep the bulbs in a frost free area all winter. This works well for tuberous begonia bulbs too.

Keep an eye on those weather forecasts. You don't want a frosty night to ruin those tomatoes, green peppers and other things you've been pampering all summer. Keep an old sheet or something similar handy to use when needed. Go ahead and pick the larger produce and let it finish ripening in the house.

For those of you who love garlic...and that does not include me, this is the time to plant them. Strange, I know, but they need to go into the ground in October.

I'm seeing chrysanthemum plants for sale in all the stores right now. Mums are pretty fall perennials. The problem is that they're not very hardy. They do best if they're planted in the spring and have all summer to acclimate. Trouble is, they're very hard to find at that time of the year. Good luck putting them in now.

The hummingbirds pulled up stakes mighty early this year. At least the ones I'd been seeing did. Guess they weren't fond of all that smoke. Anyway, if you haven't already done so, go ahead and bring in those sugar water feeders. Wash them up and put them away until next spring. Hopefully, we'll be able to enjoy them longer than we did this year.

Once you've finished all those garden chores, be sure to clean up those tools so they'll be in good shape when you need them in the spring. As fast as time flies, that isn't far off!

Here's some sage advise. “Housework won't kill you, but why take the chance?”

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Elaine Cerny has gardened most of her life, starting in 4-H. She has belonged to garden clubs in three states and is currently an active member of the River City Gardeners Club in Post Falls. Her column has appeared in The Press every other Sunday from early March until late October for the past 12 years.

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Elaine Cerny