15September 27, 2018

The cool weather of Fall has arrived in our area. I’m sure that we will have more of the warmer weather on some days but it is nice to be outside in the sun and not sweating as we all do our gardening.

This is the time of the year when people find that they have a lot of green tomatoes on their plants. The tomatoes don’t ripen as fast as they did a month ago. Cooler temperatures will slow down the ripening process but the primary reason the tomatoes are slow to ripen is because the plants are not getting enough fertilizer.

If you look on your fertilizer container, you will find that there are 3 numbers on the container. The last number is potassium. It is the potassium that makes the tomatoes ripen. If you look at a package or container that is called a tomato food, you will notice that the third number is higher than the other two numbers. At this time of the year, you should be fertilizing your tomato plants frequently. If you are going to use a fertilizer that you mix with water, you should be fertilizing every 7 to 10 days. If you are using a granular fertilizer, you should be fertilizing every 7 to 10 days. The containers may say that you feed once a month, but at this time of the year, the tomato plants are huge and the amount of green tomatoes is plentiful. If you aren’t supplying enough fertilizer to your tomato plants, plan on making a lot of fried green tomatoes for many dinner meals. We carry tomato fertilizer in our store.

If you have shabby looking window boxes, now would be the time to pull out the old plants and replace them with some new plants. There are a lot of choices now for window box size plants. In another 2 to 3 weeks the picking are going to be slim. Try to make this weekend the time to spiff up those window boxes with new plants.

If you have some hardy mums that you recently purchased, you should know that the plants would need to be fertilized on a regular basis. If you keep up with fertilizing the plants the tiny buds will turn into new flowers. If you don’t fertilize the plants, they will stop flowering and the buds will dry up. Hardy mums are no different than any other of the flowering plants that you buy. If you want the flowers to continue, you need to keep up with fertilizing of the plants.

If you are going to decorate this fall with pumpkins, here is a little trick that can make your pumpkins last longer. There can be tiny cracks in the pumpkins that may not be visible to you. Bacteria and fungus that are on the skin of the pumpkin can get into those tiny cracks and cause the pumpkin to rot. When you first get your pumpkins, wash off all the dirt and let hem dry a bit. While you are waiting for the pumpkin to dry, get a bucket and make a solution of one part bleach to 9 parts water. For example, put one cup of bleach into the bucket and add 9 cups of water. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and take a rag, dip it into the solution you made and wipe the solution all over the pumpkin. The solution will kill the bacteria and fungus that are on the skin of the pumpkin. Don’t forget to do the bottom of the pumpkin and to wipe the stem too. By doing this, you can extend the life of the pumpkins. This treatment also works on any gourds that you buy.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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