Labour Day is past and it is time for those fall tasks, such as deciding what bulbs to plant this fall for next spring’s flowers, and also to take time to prepare the ground for next spring’s planting.
I noticed today that boxes of fall planting bulbs are already appearing on the shelves, and that is fine. But, as gardeners, be aware of certain conditions.
Fall bulbs love cool and cold conditions and at present the soil is too warm for planting these bulbs.
If you want to have first choice, buy now, before the bulbs dry out in their boxes, especially once the stores put the heat on as cold days commence.
Once home, store the bulbs in a cool place until the soil temperatures drop. You will notice that nurseries and other horticultural stores will not have their bulbs until another few weeks.
Once they have them in stock, you will be closer to planting time and have a larger selection.
If you wish to have flowers for Christmas, you must plant soon, but select very early daffodils and tulips.
Plant these in pots and place in an old refrigerator to produce winter conditions.
I will write more on bulbs in the coming weeks.
I recently wrote about protection of crops from early frosts, but omitted to remind readers that brussels sprouts benefit from a touch of frost, as do leeks, parsnips and white celery. It improves the flavour.
An elderly lady at a recent function was obviously having problems, and asked that I repeat part of article I wrote back in August 1986. It is as follows:
A new, or second wave of caterpillars and greenfly have recently invaded gardens. Inspect your plants for infestation and treat with your favourite insecticide.
While on the subject of insecticides, perhaps this is the time — as harvesting continues over the next few weeks — to issue a word of caution about another sort of garden invader. These are the two-legged types, i.e. children, youths, or adults who vandalize, or steal flowers, fruit, or vegetables from other people’s gardens or cottages.
They do not know whether or not — or how recently — these gardens have been sprayed with chemical insecticides, and handling or eating them could endanger their health.
Even you the gardener should read the labels for the time interval between spraying and harvesting.
It is advisable to keep out of other people’s property. Children, their parents and sometimes the authorities treat this as a childish prank. However, if you read the court news in this paper regularly, you will notice that stores and supermarkets do not consider shoplifting an item valued at a few cents or dollars as a prank, but as theft.
So, stealing articles from gardens leaves the thieves open to both sickness and a day in court.
Jobs for the week
Be sure your grapes are purple, not green, so you do not harvest too early. Cut everlasting flowers for drying.
Continue to remove diseased or damaged leaves of tomato plants, but do not remove all the good leaves.
Oriental poppies have finished blooming and may be falling over paths or flower beds.
Cut off the tops to prevent energy going in to making seeds, but allow the foliage to continue to produce strong flowering plants for next year.
J.J. Strong is a longtime member of the Newfoundland Horticultural Society.