Garden Hoe!

Look what a little TLC can get you!

It is hard to believe it is almost the end of August. It seems like just yesterday my daughter and I were planting our peppers. She has done a great job of taking care of our potted veggies, giving them love and lots of water with wonderful results. Nothing beats home-grown produce on the dinner table. And I’m hoping this is an activity/passion we can continue to share for many years to come.

With the veggies still doing well and September just around the corner, I need to start focusing on rejuvenating the flower beds. With drought conditions finally past us, I want to be sure my other “babies” are eating well and looking lovely for fall. I put some Flower Tone on the annuals in the front yard earlier this week. This weekend it’s on to the back yard. This time of year, I’m always a little nervous about the fertilizer issue. With the annuals, I generally feed them until the frost gets them and we “part ways.”  My roses and perennials are different. I want them to be healthy going into winter, especially after the summer we had. And I know at some point they go dormant.  I’ve just never been clear on what to feed them in the fall or when to stop feeding.

I checked with my friends at Flowerland. They suggested fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer until Labor Day. (In a “balanced” fertilizer, the

Applying a balanced fertilizer between now and Labor Day will help your perennials get the food they need for fall but also allowing them to start the “shutting down” process.

three numbers on the label are same: 10-10-10, 12-12-12, etc.) The fertilizer allows the plant to store up the nutrients its needs to get through fall and winter. The Labor Day cut-off will help cue the plant that winter is coming and it is time to start “shutting down” and “hardening up.” If you continue to feed it too much past Labor Day or use an extended release fertilizer in the fall, the plant will essentially put its energy into growing and not shutting down, which can cause problems once winter hits.

That being said, you do still need to water your shrubs and perennials throughout the fall to keep them healthy and strong in anticipation of winter and ultimately next spring.

Well, it’s time to get outside while we still can play in the dirt.

Until next time…

Mary Gold