Boy are we thankful for all of the recent rains we have been having! Our days are starting to cool off now, with highs in the upper 70's and don't forget the first weekend of the month to set your clocks *back* an hour.
The shorter days and incoming cool fronts we are starting to experience, confirm the changing of the seasons. Our first real freeze is not far away. Our first freeze usually happens around Nov. 15th and if you have any young plants in your garden you need to take cautions to protect them.
Your lawn also needs special attention during this time to help it handle the winter months.
With a little bit of planning now you can bust into spring with a bloom of color and happiness everywhere!
For most people, winter days are dark and dreary with very little color. So why not add some of your own color? The best way to add a quick splash is to plant a few pansies! Pansies are a very hardy winter flower and are the #1 choice for blooming bedding plants. These are tough plants, although they look very delicate and even their name doesn't make them sound any tougher! Pansies are one of the few plants that can handle temps down to the single digits. And best of all they are available in a wide range of colors so you can choose your favorite.
If you plan on planting bulbs for spring flowers, remember that tulips and hyacinth need to be placed in the fridge for 45 to 60 days before planting. Daffodils are also stunning in East Texas.
As your lawn slows down in its growing cycle, keep it mowed at the same height. If you don't like the dormant look of your Bermuda lawn during this season, then you can overseed it with Winter Ryegrass. Ryegrass will remain green during the entire cool season. As next spring arrives, the ryegrass will die out as the weather warms and your Bermuda comes back to life and starts to green up. A 50lb bag of reygrass covers approx. 10,000 sq. feet. Here at Athens Farm & Garden, we offer it already packaged in 5lb & 10lb bags for smaller areas. To know how much to purchase to cover your entire yard, measure the length x width.
Once you notice your lawn is showing more leaves than grass, its time to remove the leaves, especially if they are wet. Wet leaves block out the beneficial sun light and keep your grass wet and this greatly increases the chance of your lawn developing diseases and fungus. Mow your lawn regularly to shred the leaves or if you have a compost bin, rake them all up and dump them in the bin. Remember that grass clippings and fallen leaves make great additions to your compost pile.
Late fall and early winter is an ideal time to adjust highly acidic lawn and garden soils. Most grasses, except centipede, and most vegetable garden plants prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH. Unfortunately for most of us in East Texas, we have soils that are normally highly acidic and can limit plant growth. Its recommended to have your soil tested to see if you need to add lime during this time and to know how much lime is required.
Don't forget, you can still apply your Easy Gro Winterizer to help protect your lawns' root system throughout the winter and help it green up quicker in the spring.
If you have any tropical plants, they cannot even stand a light freeze so you should move them inside. Houseplants often can tolerate temps to about 40 degrees, but if its going to go any lower keep those inside as well. Place your plants in a sunny location so they can still enjoy the suns' rays throughout the day. Also cut back on your fertilizer and water just enough to keep the soil moist. As a precaution, don't water so much that the water drains out into your saucer or you might end up rotting the roots in the bottom of the pot.
Any plants that might be to delicate for a frost should be covered with a frost preventative fabric or simply use an old sheet
Make sure to harvest all of your fall veggies before a hard freeze kills off the plant.
Other bedding plants that add a bit of color are violas, dianthus, snapdragons, ornamental kale and calendula.