Tim's Weekly Column
October 17, 2019
The leaves are beginning to slowly color up into their fall colors. Soon it will be time to get the leaf rake out!
When the leaves do begin to fall, what are you going to do with all those leaves? The usual thing to do with the leaves is to bag them up and take them to the leaf dump or hope that your community will pick them up at curbside. But, you probably have a use for them in your own yard.
If you are composting kitchen and yard waste, you usually generate a lot of green material. Grass clippings and vegetable leaves and peels are a few of those things. Often when you try to compost these things, they don’t really break down too quickly.
The reason for this is what is known as the carbon/nitrogen ratio. You need green material and you also need some type of “brown” material for your compost pile to successfully work. The brown material can be those leaves that you are throwing away.
You can get some of those large black plastic bags and fill them with leaves. Twist tie the bags shut and set them off to one side in the yard. Come the spring when you have a ton of grass clippings, you can mix some of those leaves with the grass clippings in order to speed up the composting process.
Even though the composting may not be going on in the winter, you should be mixing some of the leaves with the kitchen scraps that you bring out to the compost pile all winter long.
If you have a large vegetable garden, you can mix some of the leaves in with the soil. As the leaves decompose, they will be building up organic matter in your soil. Even if you have a raised bed garden, you can mix a few leaves in with the soil. Don’t let all those leaves go to waste. Even if you have a landscaper clean up your leaves, save some bags of leaves for use if you are composting.
October is the best month to apply the fall/winter types of lawn fertilizer. By applying the fertilizer now, you will give the roots of the grass time to absorb the fertilizer. By applying the fertilizer now rather than later, you won’t be raking it up with the leaves that you are removing from your lawn.
The temperatures are slowly dropping and you will need to bring any houseplants inside very soon. Before you bring the plants indoors, make sure to treat the plants for any insects that may be on the plants. The ladybugs and other predators can keep bugs in check outdoors, but once the plants come indoors, the insect population can skyrocket. You can use any spray that says it can be used on houseplants.
Most of the sprays will kill insects on contact but will only remain effective foe 10 days or so. If you didn’t kill all the insects with the spray, their numbers will eventually increase in the house. There are systemic insecticides that you put into the soil. They are in a granular form and once the roots absorb them, they protect the plants for up to 8 weeks. Over a period of 8 weeks, any eggs that hatch out will be killed and that systemic action should be enough to prevent any insect problems from cropping up during the winter.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.