Fall is here and our growing season is winding down, but there’s still plenty to do in our yards and gardens. Here are some fall gardening tips:
• Thin out 1/3 of the oldest branches of forsythia, lilac, spirea and potentilla for better bloom and shape next spring.
• Dig up tender tubers and corms of dahlias, cannas, caladium, and gladiolus. These can be overwintered and replanted next year. For overwintering dahlias, visit www.dahlia.org
• Pot up chives and parsley to bring inside for winter use. Take cuttings of coleus, root in water and plant. Coleus is a lovely houseplant all winter and will be ready to go back outside in late spring.
• Bring in any house plants you placed outdoors. Wash the leaves and check pots to ensure there are no hitchhikers. Insecticidal soap is a good option to spray on most house plants, once you’ve wiped them down. Follow label directions.
• Fall is the perfect time to prep your lawn with core aeration, overseeding, planting a new lawn and spreading lime and fertilizer (get a soil test first to determine amount needed at http://soiltest.umass.edu/ ).
• You can actually plant fall lettuces and greens now. You can start them indoors (and transplant after a few weeks) or just broadcast the seeds in a well prepared outside bed. If you want to overwinter lettuce and spinach, wait until November to plant, then mulch them heavily or cover with a plastic hoop house. You could have fresh lettuce and spinach in March! Certain types of lettuce and spinach are better for overwintering, ask your favorite seed supplier.
It’s a great year for apples! The dreadful winter we had last year made growing and fruiting conditions perfect. Enjoy!