GARDENER’S CHECKLIST: Week of October 14, 2021 –


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The bright red fruit on this ornamental crabapple is edible, but due to the lack of sweetness, they are best used to make jams and jellies...or to feed the birds.

Harvest some fruit from ornamental varieties of fruit trees, including quince, crabapple, cherry, and plum They are not as sweet as their larger fruited relatives, but still make tasty jellies when cooked with added sugar. Be aware that cooking times for these fruit can be quite long.
Rent a mechanical slit-seeder if over-seeding an existing lawn that has become a little sparse.  A slit-seeder has slicing-type blades that cut through the grass creating shallow furrows in which seeds are deposited.  A slit-seeder gives better results that a broadcast seeder since it places the seed in direct contact with the soil.  Rental firms and some hardware stores rent slit-seeders.
Spending a little time edging flower beds or shrub borders can really sharpen their appearance while halting the invasion of lawn grass and weeds.
Use a forceful spray of water to dislodge pests from houseplants before bringing the plants indoors.  Another option is to spray the plants with insecticidal soap, but keep the plants out of direct sunlight after the application.  Also, some plants are sensitive to soap sprays.  Read the label for information on safe application before using insecticidal soap.
Aerate lawn areas where soils have become compacted as a result of excessive foot traffic. Use a core-type aerator.  Aeration can also relieve thatch problems in lawns.  However, a mechanical de-thatcher does a better job of removing thatch.  Core-type aerators and de-thatching machines are available at most rental firms.  This is an ideal time for aerating or de-thatching lawns since temperatures are moderating, soil moisture levels are up, and grasses are developing new roots.
Peruse the internet looking for good plant sources.  I use Google search and just type in the name for plants I can’t find locally.  However, local garden centers are pretty good at locating and getting specific plants for me.  It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Plant large bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and hyacinths about eight inches apart.  Crocus, grape hyacinths and other mid-sized bulbs should be planted four inches apart, while the small bulbs of scillas, snowdrops, and winter aconite need only be spaced about two or three inches apart.
Finish dividing and replanting perennials, including daylilies and peonies.  With the arrival of seasonable temperatures, soils will begin to cool.  Cool soil slows root growth and makes establishment of transplants more difficult; so, complete these tasks ASAP.
Besides trees, leaf peepers will also enjoy the colorful fall foliage of shrubs, such as this blueberry bush.
Lower the mowing height of lawns by one half inch now and continue to gradually lower the mowing height every few weeks to a final height of no less than two inches.  The two-inch cutting height will be low enough to prevent grass from matting under snow but tall enough to prevent injury to the crown of grass plants during the winter.  Hmm.  When did mowing the lawn get so complicated?  It must have been after we relegated sheep to the pasture.
Break apart garlic bulbs, select the largest cloves, and plant the individual cloves four to six inches apart with the base of the cloves three inches below ground.  Rows should be about sixteen inches apart.   Once the ground begins to freeze, cover the planted rows with a six inch layer of straw.
Rake up leaves and spread them over garden soils and then turn them under using a spading fork or a tiller if the garden is very large.  This is a good way to increase the amount of organic matter in the soil.

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