GARDENING BY RONELLA: September a good time to focus on lawn
by Ronella Stagner, Columnist
Sep 11, 2013 | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There’s not a lot you can do at this time of year about your flower garden, but you can do a lot toward making your lawn the envy of your neighborhood. The following information is good for both repair work on an old lawn and also for a new lawn started from scratch.

If you have a lawn with bare spots or diseased spots, use a very heavy rake and pull up all the dead grass. The idea is to give seeds a chance on bare soil. That old idea of waiting for a snow to sow seeds on top of snow is a waste of seeds and your time. I imagine the guy who sells grass seeds started that tale.

If the soil, which is now bare, is poor, sprinkle a bit of compost or some top soil to enrich the clay and work it in the soil. Now you can seed the bare spot, then rake lightly and cover with some clean straw.

For at least three weeks, water, water, and water. Once you have some new grass, set your mower to 1½ to 3 inches. If you want to fertilize this new grass, or the old grass, use a high nitrogen fertilizer and use it sparingly.

A list of fall vegetables to plant in early September includes lettuce, mustard greens, spinach and turnips.

One good idea you might consider now is to mark the spots for planting fall bulbs. In fact, you might work the soil and add a little fertilizer. Remember that the time to plant tulips is about the end of November when it is just too cold to work outside. You can remember the time by just thinking to plant tulips at Thanksgiving.

There is not much you can do about this summer’s flower garden but now is the time to make plans for a better garden next year. Get after the evergreens, order new roses, order the bulbs you wish each spring that you had ordered. You still have time to order bulbs to plant the middle of October and tulips for November. Clean up the edges of your flowerbeds now to avoid grass growing over the edge this winter.

Be sure to keep watered any newly planted or transplanted items. Since they will be getting their first root growth now, you need to keep the soil moist.

If you have never put your garden on paper, now is a good time to do so. It will give you time to plan changes which you want to make during the winter.

If you must transplant peonies, the best time is mid-October and in an upcoming article, we will go into detail about this scary job. It is not that hard but you must follow some hard and fast rules.

If you are buying new peonies, remember that the most expensive may not be the best. It most likely means that it is the newest. Some old varieties may be just what you want and aren’t so expensive. Also remember that there are many colors to choose from going from dark red to pure white.

Many gardeners like to plant perennials in fall and if planted early enough to get roots established before a freeze, this works well and is my preferred time to plant perennials. If you wait to plant them or move them until the ground begins to freeze, you are just “heeling them in”.

When the outside temperature drops to 55 degrees in fall, it’s time to bring them inside and it’s getting close to being there.

I remember so well when Ma brought in her many pots of plants from the front porch. It took Pa quite a lot of work getting ready for them. She put them on planks in tiers in front of a small window of her “big room” where the fireplace kept them from freezing. Each fall, Pa got those long planks out of storage in the barn and he and Ma brought those big heavy pots of ferns and other plants inside for the winter. The windows in the old house were small and the window where she kept her flowers faced the front porch so they got very little sun in winter but they always came through in fine shape.

At this time of year, we had to be mindful of venomous snakes. They had only copperheads and rattlesnakes on their farm. With dried leaves and brown weeds and flowers, those snakes could be overlooked. Ma’s constant reminder was, “Watch where you step, Honey”, but I didn’t need reminding.

A few words of wisdom regarding venomous snakes: all venomous snakes in Kentucky are pit vipers. That is they have pits on each side of their heads. They also have vertical pupils. That little bit of information is for those who get close enough to notice. The diamond shaped head is not always an indication of a venomous snake. Neither does a rattlesnake always rattle.

I am scaring myself so it seems a good idea to drop that subject.

Please feel free to call me at 270-522-3632.
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