Sunday, August 16, 2009

Secrets For September Gardens

By Marshall Clewis

I advocate deep digging in the fall of the year, and where time and energy permit I highly recommend double digging. The method of double digging is as follows. First measure off with a garden line a strip 18 inches wide across the garden for the first trench to be dug.

Dig out the top soil from this first strip and remove it in a wheelbarrow to the other end of the garden, where it will be used to fill in the last trench made. Now dig over the bottom of the trench and if possible incorporate humus or rotted material, such as leaves, old manure or compost.

Such material mixed into this lower stratum of soil helps build it up into top-soil. Now measure off a second strip 18 inches wide, and turn the topsoil from it into the first trench. If manure is available put it in with the topsoil to be more readily available to plants. Use green farm manure. Digging is continued in this manner across the area to be dug. Of course double digging, as its name implies, is twice as much work, but it does build up a productive garden.

Raspberries. After frost, check over the raspberries and remove all old canes, and if the new canes are thick remove some to permit air circulation. A cane every 4 to 6 inches is sufficient. Rasp-berries grown too closely are subject to disease.

Outdoor roses. Rose plantings require well prepared soil. If the topsoil is shallow, double dig and add much manure or humus as is available. Roses are rank feeders. If the garden is wet, drainage is necessary. They like plenty of water but do not like to constantly stand in wet soil. Stone ditches can be run through the area to take off the excess water. Roses also require free circulation of air, so choose a well drained, airy spot. Order roses now, and put them in as soon as they arrive. In planting, have the graft under the soil; otherwise it will dry out and may kill the plant. Be sure to firm the plants well when planting.

Greenhouse temperature. Greenhouse temperatures become important now and should be controlled at night. If you have two houses, maintain one at 50 degrees at night and the other at 60. Many plants need a hit of extra heat and many prefer the cooler house. Drafts must be avoided because they cause mildew. From now on provide ventilation from the top of the house only.

Bulbs for potting. Narcissus, hyacinth, tulip and iris bulbs should be potted now for greenhouse forcing. Use a good soil, adding a 5-inch pot of bone-meal to a bushel of soil. Pot or flat the bulbs but keep the nose of the bulb just out of the soil. All bulbs can be planted almost touching each other. Firm them well and set the pots or flats in a trench outdoors. The trench should be about 12 inches deep. Water the bulbs thoroughly, cover them with half an inch of sand and then with the soil that was dug out to make the trench. Additional covering of leaves or hay will be required in the later fall to keep out frost and so facilitate the digging during the winter.

Chrysanthemums. The chrysanthemum flowers are in bud now and will take a lot of feeding until color shows. At this point of growing chrysanthemum plants, manure water is best. Dissolve any good garden fertilizer in water, 3 heaping tablespoons to 3 gallons of water, and water the mums with it every 5 days. If the plants are dry, water first and feed later in the day. After the chrysanthemums have been cut, store the stock plants in a frostproof frame or a very cool green-house. The frame can be frost proofed by banking leaves around it.

When the remainder of the chysanthemums have been removed, the chrysanthemum soil is excellent for growing winter flowering snapdragons, or mari-golds, stocks, leptosyne and pansies, but add some fertilizer to replace the plant food used by the mums.

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