16September 20, 2018
Well, we are half way through September. There are still chores to do outside before the weather gets cold.
For many years, the rule of thumb has been that you have until the end of September to plant grass seed. I know that there has been years when you can successfully put down grass seed in early November and have the seed catch. That being said, grass seed needs about 14 to 21 days to sprout and another month to get its root system established in the soil. All this is based on the soil temperature being warm enough to get the seed to sprout. If you are going to the expense of buying loam, seed and seed starter fertilizer why not do it right and not buck the odds later in the season.
One of the things that people think about doing in the spring can and should be done in the fall. I am talking about putting lime on your lawn, vegetable garden and perennial beds. If you put lime down in the spring, are you sure that you put enough down on your lawn and gardens? You can buy soil test kits for short money. You want to buy a PH test kit. This will tell you what the PH is of your soil. The test is easy to do and will give you accurate results. We sell single test kits in the store and also sell kits that will do 10 tests. Not applying enough lime can be one of the major reasons that your lawn does not grow very well. If the soil is too acidic, the fertilizer you put down on your lawn is not readily available to the roots of the grass. Weeds don’t care how acidic the soil is in your lawn. When you have a lot of weeds in your lawn, it is generally a sign that the soil is too acidic. If you want to have a nice lawn, having the correct PH is crucial to the success of your lawn.
Your gardens need lime too. Most perennials prefer a slightly acidic soil. Of course, there are exceptions but you will have a better perennial bed if you apply lime as needed. Vegetable gardens will probably need lime each year. Make sure that applying lime, if needed, is one of the fall chores that you do before the leaves fall off the trees.
Did you have problems with fungus diseases this past summer? The leaves of plants that have been attacked by fungus diseases tend to fall off the plant and wind up lying on the ground. If those leaves stay on the ground all winter, they can be a source of re-infection come the spring. As the fungus disease dies, it forms spores. Spores are like “eggs’ for the fungus disease. Come the spring, the spores are splashed up onto the plant by spring rainstorms and the spores’ hatch out and re-infect the plant. Getting rid of those diseased leaves in the fall will go a long way in minimizing the return of fungus diseases next year.
If you have some space in the vegetable garden, there is still time to plant some leafy greens for a fall crop. Many varieties of leaf lettuce will grow even in the cold weather of November. Radishes and beets can still be planted too. We still have seeds for fall vegetables at our store.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.