The leaves are changing, the air is cooling and everything is pumpkin spice. That means it’s time for Noon Edition’s annual fall gardening show.
What are the best methods to transplant your plants? What plants will do best now that summer is over? How can you store your vegetables after harvest?
This week, local gardening experts Don Adamson and Helen May answered all questions about gardening this fall.
Parts of the state are in a drought. How bad is it?
Don: A lot of people don’t realize this is going to affect us throughout the winter because often we do not get that much snow in the winter and a lot of plants need to be watered in the winter. Especially with the drought we’re having, this is a factor people forget.
Are there things we can do now to help the plants?
Don: Water, water, water. People need to get used to doing deep watering rather than just daily little bits of watering. Put a lot of water on when you put it on so it will last longer and you don’t have to do it nearly as often. Soak the ground when you’re watering.
Helen: A deep watering is much better for the plants because it gets down where the real roots are. Anything that’s been planted this year, you need to be especially careful of because you’ll lose it in the winter if you don’t keep it watered now while it’s so dry.
What are the rules when it comes to trimming?
Helen: Anything that blooms quite early, like lilacs and forsythia, you don’t want to prune now. You want to prune right after it finishes blooming because if you prune now, you’ll cut off all the flower buds that formed this summer on the new growth. A lot of really woody things like trees are better pruned later when they’re more dormant. They’re less apt to problems with infections in cuts if the trees becoming dormant or is dormant. Anything that blooms late in the summer, like Rose of Sharon, can be pruned in the spring.
Should we be mulching before the winter?
Don: It helps to hold the moisture around plants, so it would help to mulch. Most people think of that in the spring. Mulching will help keep the moisture around the roots. It’s important to not pile the mulch up against the trunks of trees because this can cause rotting on the bark and everything so it’s best to keep the mulch away from the bark.
What should we do about snakes?
Don: Too often, people want to get rid of them. My daughter, she had a black snake that she just left in her garden and she never had any mice problems or anything. And then it got killed, and she had all kinds of mice and critters like that. So the snakes are very helpful if you can identify the good ones.
Helen May, retired Co-Owner of Mays Greenhouse
Don Adamson, retired Manager of Bloomington Valley Nursery
Questions and responses were edited for clarity.