Planting by the signs

he Autumnal Equinox is at 3:50 a.m. Monday and with it the autumn – or fall – season officially arrives. We’re going to have increasingly more darkness for a while longer, but this time three months from now, when Christmas is knocking at the door, the days will start to slowly get longer again.

As The Preacher said in third chapter of Ecclesiastes: “To everything there is a season…”

 

Planting over in unprotected gardens

According to Home Gardening in Kentucky, planting in the unprotected garden is over for this year. Although it’s been hot, and frost seems far off, statistically speaking it’s unlikely anything planted now will make it to harvest.

Therefore, unless it’s in a low tunnel, cold frame or green house, we’re through planting for the year

 

Planning simple cold frame

I plan to throw together a simple cold frame consisting of a square wooden “frame” with an old storm window glass for the cover and see if I can extend the season into the late fall and perhaps early winter since I write about that a lot.

With such a contrivance one can leave the top open or off during the warmth of the day then close it when it gets cool at night to trap in the heat and moisture.

The last time I tried a cold frame was way back before the April 3, 1974 tornado when Supergardener Wayne Parrish and I were raising some tomato plants to sell at his long-gone store in scenic downtown Bridgeport. 

 

What about watering?

As Boss Hogg used to say about a variety of situations on the long-gone “Dukes of Hazzard” show, we find ourselves on the “ho’ns of a dilemma” regarding watering. Unless something unexpected happened rain-wise since Wednesday morning when I wrote this and when you read it, we are in something of a drought – whether it has been declared such by the authorities.

Both gardens and summer flowers are on the downhill side of their lifespans now and before spending a lot on water you need to weigh the benefits against the cost. Is the investment worth a few more tomatoes or flowers? How long can you keep these annuals going?

What you do, however, need to water is any trees or shrubs you’ve planted this summer. Their roots aren’t likely deep enough yet to fend for themselves and they’ll dry us quickly in this blistering heat. Keep them watered and if you plant any trees or shrubs, do the same with them.

 

Winter talk

I didn’t get any early predictions from you this week.

So, just as it was last week, I have on hand a report from Fogwarn Cindy Howard, who recruited some other fog counters for this season and a reader who’s sighted two solid black woolly worms. That means, if you’ve forgotten, the winter will be bad from beginning to end while every fog in August is a predictor of a snow in winter.

Next week I’ll share some “prediction” tips from the Farmers’ Almanac. And, if you’d like to join the fun by making a prediction, I’d be glad to share your prognostication with print and digital subscribers to your hometown newspaper. All my contact information is above so you can be in touch that way or just drop it by the newspaper, 1216 Wilkinson Blvd. to the attention of Hannah Brown. She’ll see that I get your prediction for inclusion in the column.

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