Both leaves and temperatures are falling here in Wisconsin, and it’s time for most of the country to think about finishing the of the last garden chores as winter draws ever closer.
Tool Cleanup & Storage
An important fall chore is cleaning and storing tools and garden equipment, to ensure that everything is accessible and ready for use when needed in spring. Proper care of tools will also significantly prolong their useful life.
Wash any soil residue from garden tools or remove it with a wire brush. Remove any rust spots that have developed on metal surfaces with a wire brush, fine grained sandpaper, or steel wool.
Home grown, properly harvested and stored garlic provides a fresh flavor that can’t be matched by any supermarket garlic. Garlic is a relatively easy-to-grow, hardy perennial vegetable, though it has a fairly long production season. It is a crop well worth considering for your garden.
Types of Garlic
There are two main types of garlic, softneck and hardneck (sometimes called “stiff neck”) forms. Softneck varieties are commonly available in supermarkets. They generally produce more cloves per bulb and store better than hardneck types. Hardneck garlic produces a stiff central flowering stem, while softneck varieties generally do not produce this stem, making the leaves easier to braid. Hardneck varieties are generally more cold tolerant than softneck types and are often considered “gourmet” garlic.
Jung Seed knows that gardening can be tough on your back, particularly if you have a condition like spinal osteoarthritis like I do. Moving bags of soil and other large items can easily aggravate or injure your backs and joints. Coming up with an easy solution to help in the garden was as simple as finding an old blanket.
Put the blanket on the ground and gently load it with the large items you need to move. Carefully pull the item around the garden or yard until you have reached your destination – it is much easier than a wheelbarrow and is a quick and easy fix.
Peas are an easy-to-grow cool season legume crop best planted early in the season. Several sowings can be made starting in early spring, to extend the harvest season. In addition, plantings can be made in late summer for fall harvest. Peas for fall harvest are generally planted 8 to 10 weeks before the first fall frost.
Improved Meyer lemon (Citrus x meyeri) is a lemon variety developed by crossing a lemon with a mandarin orange. Improved Meyer is evergreen, relatively cold tolerant (for lemon), and is hardy in zones 9 to 11.
Improved Meyer is vigorous but compact in size, easy-to-grow, and will flower and fruit all year when conditions are ideal. Its flowers are attractive and fragrant.
While it’s the end of the in-ground garden season for many, it is also the beginning of the fall growing season. Why not plant up some of those herbs from your garden in mason jars to have through the fall and winter? If you don’t have herb plants, no problem, order some herb seeds from Jung Seed and grow all through the winter.
In order to grow herbs in a mason jar, drill a hole in the mason jar with a glass drill bit in order to allow better drainage, mix some soil and organic fertilizer together and plant your plant or place the seeds at the top of the soil and gently press in. Water regularly. Easy as 1-2-3 (see video below).
Native plants are amazing — they require no fertilizer, no soil amendment, and no drama. Butterfly weed or asclepias tuberosa, is especially beautiful in the garden whether it is planted among native plants or blended in with your more traditional perennial beds. Once established the plant requires no watering and no attention.
Without a doubt this is a drought tolerant plant that is suited to harsh conditions, but the best benefit of this plant is it’s Monarch Butterfly attracting quality. Help save the butterflies with a little butterfly weed love planted in your garden this season. Watch the video below to see how easy it is to plant the butterfly weed in your garden.
One of the goals of a no-till garden is leave the soil undisturbed whenever possible. In a traditional garden, the end-of-season vegetables get uprooted, usually with the soil pulled out along with it, then the soil is turned over to aerate it. In a no-till garden, it is important NOT to destroy the microbes in the soil. Keeping most of the vegetable roots in the ground at the end of the season means the microbes will stay put and will not be destroyed.
There are two common types of cucumber beetles, spotted cucumber beetle (Acalymma vittatum) and striped cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata). Adult beetles of both species feed on the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruit of cucumbers, melons, gourds, and squash. They also sometimes feed on beans, peas, and corn. Cucumber beetle larvae live in the soil and they feed on plant roots.
Cucumber beetle feeding is especially damaging to young seedlings. In addition to damaging plants through feeding, these beetles can transmit both bacterial wilt disease and squash mosaic virus disease, neither of which can be cured once plants are infected. Bacterial wilt is a particular problem, as it can quickly kill infected plants.
Sunflowers in the Garden
Sunflowers are popular, easy-to-grow annual flowers. They make good landscape and container plants and are excellent cut flowers. Varieties are available in a number of heights, colors, flower sizes, and flower forms, so they can be used effectively in a range of ways in the garden and landscape. Although most sunflowers are grown as ornamentals, they also produce edible seeds relished by birds, and some varieties are grown primarily for their seeds.
Sunflowers are North American native plants and their nectar and pollen is attractive to beneficial pollinating insects.