Triple-digit temperatures are almost a memory. The pumpkin spice flavor made its first appearance in coffee. The days are getting shorter. It’s a fall trifecta and time for pruning and planting. Grab your gardening gloves, hoe, and seeds and let’s get started
The growth of mesquite and palo verde trees has probably been very aggressive this summer. Go ahead and prune and shape them, especially to clear a path because the overhang is too low. They require pruning twice a year.
Pro tip: prune and mow before overseeding. Why? Because if you have any branches that need to be cleared and you sow first, you will sweep the seeds. First, move the branches. Otherwise, you will have to wait another month for the new sod to establish itself.
We have early, medium and late fertilization programs. Make sure you hit the fertilizing season at the right time. In this cycle, you can give any tree, citrus fruit or the like, a light fertilization that will provide nutrients before and to store over the winter and help the trees recover. Many landscaping companies offer their three-step fertilization programs at this time of year. Call now to find out their schedule for 2022.
For beautiful spring blooming, plant your wildflower seeds now. Petunias, pansies, snapdragons, alyssae, and violas, commonly known in the east as Johnny Jump-Ups, will last until we hit 90 degrees.
This is also the perfect time to plant African daisies. In the spring, you will have bold, beautiful, orange and yellow flowers. As they dry, collect the abundant seeds from the flowers and put them in a jar for use in the next planting season.
For an abundant vegetable garden, plant cabbage, tubers (beets and carrots), spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, lettuce and onion.
Rosie on the House’s Garden and Landscape Expert, John Jay Harper, noted on a radio show that this year’s record rainfall has softened the soil, making it easier to work in the fall garden. He suggested preparing your garden soil for three weekends for 30-60 minutes each week to make the task less daunting and easier on your back. The first weekend, till the soil to the depth of the shovel blade. The following weekend, add the compost and flip a little gypsum. On the third weekend, add organic fertilizer. Finally, create the trenches, rows or plots and add the seeds. “It looks a lot less like work and you’ll do more in-depth work,” Harper said.
Don’t be afraid to use starter plants from the nursery. You may have better gardening success than starting from seeds (as long as it’s not a root vegetable). To make sure the seeds aren’t clumped together, put the potting soil and seeds in a mason jar. Mix well so that the seeds separate. Then put the mixture in the plots.
If you are unsure of your gardening skills, try seed tape. The seeds adhere to biodegradable paper tape. Just prepare the trench and lay the tape. The seeds are already pre-spaced. Seed ribbons save time and space small seeds, such as radishes, lettuce, beets, and carrots. With the seed tape, there is no need to measure spacing or worry about over-seeding or under-seeding. Simply place on loose, well-drained soil. Water the seed ribbon frequently. The paper protects the seed during germination and dissolves throughout watering.
“Planting in the fall is like gaining an extra year of harvest because the soil is still warm,” Harper said. “The air is getting colder and the nights are getting longer. The plants take root and the tops are not stressful on the water.
Speaking of water, summer vegetables should be watered daily until cooler temperatures come or there is humidity. During the cooler months, two to three times a week is sufficient. For plants that go into the soil, mix 50% potting soil with 50% potting soil. For raised beds or pots, just use potting soil. Remember to fertilize herbs and vegetables during the winter so they will thrive.
To maximize the growth and vitality of trees, plants and flowers, lay down wood chips. Compared to finished compost, wood chips make an incredible contribution to tree health. Because they have not decomposed, they have a lot of nitrogen to return to the soil. The wood chips will promote the nitrogen cycle under the trees. If you remove the leaves, you remove the necessary nitrogen.
Wood chips are also used to control dust and weeds. “Most importantly,” said tree specialist John Eisenhower, “wood chips moderate the temperature of the soil and improve its microbiology. The chips create an environment to produce a layer of soil just below them that will be an active area for beneficial microorganisms and bacteria to promote root growth.
In early fall, roses and other plants can experience a rebirth and sprout a few new flowers after a long, hot summer. Place the wood chips to promote a moderate temperature soil. “It will enhance your plants,” Eisenhower said.
Keep birds and rabbits away
Now that the seeds and wood chips have fallen, you need to protect them from uninvited guests. Fencing off special planting areas is your best weapon against rabbits. Put pots of tasty plants on the walls or shelves. Prune the bottom of low shrubs so that they have few places to hide. Build a barrier.
Keep birds away from your seeds and new growth. The Farmer’s Almanac suggests securing the mylar balloons to poles with shiny ribbons. Place inverted crates or disposable cups (with the bottom cut out) on vulnerable seedlings. The chicken wire can also be placed on a seedbed. Build an inexpensive mesh frame to cover the plants. A high-tech screech-owl equipped with an electronic chip emits the sound of an attacking falcon.
Now that you have the knowledge, get outside, enjoy the fall weather, and garden your way. Jn
RC ‘Romey’ Romero is a co-owner of the Arizona home improvement radio show ‘Rosie on the House’.