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by Cliff Bennett

October 10, 2013

If your one of those gardeners that like it on the hot side, this has been your year. I for one am always looking forward to Fall and the cooler days and crisp cool nights. The next change out of seasons also brings the beginning of major changes in our gardens. It means the end/harvest time for most of our summer crops as well the beginning of fall color to many of our trees and shrubs. As I had mentioned in the last months column, a good time to shop and select trees for those of you who place fall color at the top of the list. Fall is also a great time to watch for sales at your local nurseries since many are wanting to reduce inventory going into the so-call off season.

For those of you that are kind enough to read my garden column each month, will find that I will repeat particular garden issues. Some of us are experiencing problems for the first time so I will address them more than once so that all of us get the help we need. One is most all tomato growers experience Blossom End Rot. This is a black area on the end of the tomato that is very common especially when the temperatures are hot like this summer has been. The black lesion is caused from a calcium deficiency. It is relatively easy to fix and you can do so by simply spraying the plants with a product called Stop Rot or Yield Booster. They are a source of liquid calcium that helps to resolve the issue quickly. The tomatoes you do have with the black area is still good to eat, just cut out the bad area or give those to the neighbors you don’t care for.

This time of the year is also a great time to plant that new lawn or re-vamp the old one. One thing remember when planting a new lawn and that is you reap what you sow. Like painting, the preparation is the hard part and it all gets covered up but the short cuts will come back and haunt you every time. I strongly recommend preparing the soil properly, and installing the irrigation properly, it will pay off in the long run. It will actually save you money as well. Keep one thing in mind and that is either sod or seed, the prep work is the same. It all leads to a happier, healthier lawn that uses less water, less fertilizer,less weed control and less fungicide.

Less use of chemicals is good for everyone especially pets and children who spend the most time on the grass. All good garden centers will help you in the project from beginning to end.

Many even have hand-outs to help you as well some offer tools usually less than rental places. Remember what I always say, if they cannot answer your questions or will not take the time to answer your questions, take your business elsewhere. Go a place that has the knowledge and will help you grow that perfect lawn that you will enjoy for years to come. Many people think that lawns are a waste on energy, water and time. I disagree, I love my lawn and I also find that mowing is not only good exercise but relaxing in a way that it allows you to think without interruptions. There’s nothing like a beautiful green lawn.

Those of you who like to keep it going as long as you can, it is now the time to plant your fall veggies. It is a good time to plant your lettuces , broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, brussell sprouts, onions, spinach and many types of herbs. Those of you with limited space, add in some winter color such as pansies and violas, snapdragons, ornamental cabbage and kale mums and calendulas. Primroses will come along in short time. This is a nice way to make a veggie garden come to life and add variety. I recommend a new dose of good organic fertilizer every time you re-plant your garden space.

Heads-up you petunia lovers (like me). If you are experiencing a lack of blooms or no blooms suddenly and just at a time your petunia baskets are at or near there peak, sorry but you have worms again. Yeah, those darn budworms can strip a huge basket in a matter of days if you let them. Go get them and don’t delay. I use spinosid or Capt. Jacks Deadbug or BT on our baskets downtown Grants Pass. It works really well. The flowers are back in just a week or so,(more like or so). I like to keep things positive. You also have to stay on them. I find that if you do not, they will get the best of you. Watch for pepper like droppings, that is a sure sign you have worms. You do not have to wait for damage, spray when you see the droppings.

Time for Cool New Plants:

Miscanthussinensis “gold bar”

Dense and very dramatic gold striping accents every leaf. Bright green leaves striped from head to toe. Burgundy inflorences provide interesting winter accent.Grows 4ft. to 5ft. and only 20inches wide.Great texture and perfect for containers that need an upright habit. Takes full sun and deer resistant, very hardy to -20 degrees. Excellent for water features and ponds.

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Hydrangea intergrifolia ‘Taiping Shan’

This new evergreen vine will beautifully cover and vertical surface with glossy foliage on vigorous stems. It will cling by aerial roots. New foliage is glossy green with a bronze cast held to the stems by red petrioles. Mature plants will produce large white lace-cap flowers in early summer. Needs shade to partial shade especially here in the Rogue Valley. Grows to 30ft. Hardy to 0 degrees.

See Ya, Cliff

� 2013 - Cliff Bennett - All Rights Reserve

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Cliff and his wife Roxanne have owned and operated Chets Garden Center downtown Grants Pass, Oregon at 5th and H st. for the last 21 years. Cliff has an extensive background in plants. Owned a large commercial landscaping company in San Diego for 23 years specializing in hotels and shopping centers. Cliff and Roxanne are very active in the community and are always doing what they can to help beatify the downtown area such as hanging flower baskets etc.

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Those of you who like to keep it going as long as you can, it is now the time to plant your fall veggies. It is a good time to plant your lettuces , broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, brussell sprouts, onions, spinach and many types of herbs.