12October 26, 2017
October is slowly rolling to a close. The temperatures have been abnormally warm so we all have been lulled into a sense of late summer. But we all know (or deny) that November can be a bear when it comes to weather. There have been some years with some early November frozen ground and some years with some snow in the forecast for early November. So wax up those snow shovels, dig out the snow blower and grab a bag of ice melt. Or, you could finish up all of those fall garden chores that you have been meaning to do.
The leaves have begun to fall off the trees. If you have a spot in the back 40, why not start a compost pile. All those leaves that you are raking up can turn into useful compost by next spring. As you move the leaves into your composting area, mix in some compost activator. For every time you add 6 inches of leaves to the pile, add some activator to the pile. With some rain or timely watering on your part, the leaves will begin to break down into useful compost that you can add to your gardens in the spring.
As I write this column, the forecast is for up to 3 inches of rain late Tuesday thorough Thursday. By the time you read this on Wednesday, it maybe pouring buckets of rain. This truly is a good thing to have happen in your yard. We have a deficit of rain in our area, and many of your shrubs need a good watering each week until the ground freezes. If you are one of those gardeners who have already put the hose away, be sure to drag it back out so that you can do some watering of your shrubs next week. Many shrubs take up extra water in the fall and store that water in the leaves, needles and stems. This stored water allows the plant to lose water to the dry winter winds without the winds killing the plant by completely drying out the plant. Remember that in our area, it is seldom that the cold temperatures kill our plants; it is the dry winter winds that kills most of the plants.
If you haven’t applied your late fall fertilizer, now is the time to do so. If you haven’t applied lime to your lawn in over a year, now would be a good time to apply lime to your lawn. Prepping your lawn for winter with fertilizer and lime will help your lawn to survive the winter and it will help the lawn to green up early in the spring.
You have been meaning to plant some tulip and daffodil bulbs. There is still time to do this. It is a fairly easy fall task. Spring flowering bulbs like tulips and daffodils must be planted in the fall if you want them to flower in the spring. If you try to plant these bulbs in the spring, you won’t get any flowers. Take some time to purchase and plant spring flowering bulbs in your yard.
Ever year at this time of the year, we get customers coming in with reports of massive numbers of ladybugs, box elder bugs and other assorted insects crawling all over the house looking for a way into the house. The vast majority of these insects are just looking for a place to spend the winter. Your home is just a giant hallow tree with neat places to spend the winter. If you leave these insects to their own devices, they will hide under the siding or climb into the attic. Come the warm weather of spring, they will crawl back out of your home and your home will be no worse for the wear.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.