How to Buy Mums (Hardy Chrysanthemum)

OK, you might be thinking to yourself that this headline "How to Buy Mums" is about a topic we don't even need to discuss. Really, how hard can it be? You go to the nursery, pick out a full bushy plant full of blooms. You walk to the check out counter buy it and go home to plant it. If that's what you think then let me add one more thing to the purchase of your mums, don't buy the plants when in bloom! The Secret of How to Buy Mums The secret to long lasting chrysanthemum blooms in the fall is to buy your plants from the nursery when they are still in tight buds. If you look around at all the other mums on sale you can identify the colors you like then purchase plants that have little to no blooming. That way when you get them home…

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Fall and Winter Gardening

So many of us gardeners tend to think of one thing when it comes to the vegetable garden - tomatoes! I know I do, although in recent years I've become very partial to peppers. The garden doesn't have to just be about those summer vegetables. In many areas you can continue to garden well into the winter months. Here in Tennessee we are fortunate to have a relatively mild winter that allows us to grow cool season crops deep into the fall and early winter without having to take special precautions. Gardeners can extend the season throughout the winter by adding protective measures. However long you have where you are it is important to give your crops enough time to grow. This often means you have to start your plants when it doesn't feel natural to be growing them. Cool season greens in August and September? That's what it takes.…

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Enjoying the Fall Garden

Fall is a great time of the year. It's always been my favorite season because of the fall colors, the cooler weather, and there are always events to enjoy. The vegetable garden is enjoys the cooler weather too. Gone now are the peppers and tomatoes, which both succumbed to frost, but instead we have kale, pak choi, mustard, and Brussels sprouts. All of those fall grown plantings enjoy the cooler temperatures and in fact have improved flavor due to the frosty temperatures. Growing greens in the fall in a Tennessee garden is a fairly simple thing to do. The Challenge of a Fall Garden The greatest challenge to growing a fall garden is pests. Until the frosts come many insects are trying to gather as much nutrition as possible to help them overwinter. Caterpillars are all over the place. Cabbage loopers are happy to eat anything green, not just cabbage.…

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What You Shouldn’t Do With Your Fall Leaves

Fall is well underway and we all know that with fall comes mountains of leaves! The beautiful color changes can quickly transition into a thick carpet of smothering leaves on the ground. Many homeowners are smart and use this natural resource in the garden but others do one thing that drives this gardener crazy. What is it that you shouldn't do with fall leaves? Burn them. Why is burning leaves a bad thing? Two reasons: it releases pollutants into the air and it is extremely wasteful. Smoke and particulates get released into the air and decrease the air quality. Last year a neighbor burned his leaves and the wind brought the smoke right into my house. You don't want to breathe that kind of air. Burning leaves doesn't just cause pollution but it also wastes a valuable resource. Think about it. Have you ever been in a forest and looked…

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A Few Observations of the Fall Garden

Fall, as I've said before, is probably my favorite time of year. I enjoy the processes involved with closing down the garden, the cooler weather, and the changes in the leaves. It's also a great time to garden with its own set of unique challenges. For planting trees, shrubs, and bulbs there is no better time than autumn. For growing the best tasting greens with high flavor content, again, there is no better time than autumn. It's a fun time of year with falling leaves raked into piles (who doesn't like jumping into one of those?), fall festivals, carving pumpkins, and delicious apple cider. It is an ideal season for so many things. As they say, getting there is half the fun. Watching the changes take place and doing the tasks involved is all part of the process of enjoying fall. In the garden it is easy to see the…

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3 Chores to Do in Fall for Spring!

It's that time of year again, time to think about spring! Yes, I said that right. Spring! Fall is almost here but if you want to maximize the potential of your garden next year fall is the best time to get some work done. The autumn leaves will be changing soon and now is the best time to get some garden preparation accomplished in the cooler weather. What preparations can you do in fall for a good spring garden? (All supplies pictured in this post were provided by Lowe's through Lowe's Creative Ideas!) Mulch in the Fall Mulching your garden beds is one of the best things you can do for your perennials and trees. Mulch insulates the soil from the cold weather can help borderline plants overwinter better. It also protects the soil from compaction and adds organic matter to the ground over time. Cover each bed with a…

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A Few Gardening Tips Before Fall Arrives

You can feel it in the air can't you? The coolness of an approaching autumn. The each passing day is getting noticeably shorter. We're beginning that transitional period from the hot summer growing season to the fall growing season and that can mean a lot of changes in the garden. The vegetable garden may still be going full speed ahead at the moment but it is time to prepare for the arrival of the fall gardening season. Here are some gardening tips for you to use to prepare for fall gardening: Continue harvesting everything you can from your vegetable garden through the fall. Put away canned vegetables or pack them in the freezer so you can savor them this winter when fresh vegetables are not available. You will think very fondly of your garden in January when you are cooking garden beans on the stove! While you are harvesting be…

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5 Fallish Things To Do!

The weather is changing, the shadows are getting longer, and of course the leaves are beginning to become more colorful which opens the door to a new season of gardening.  Every season has it's own specific chores and things to do.  Winter is for planning, spring is for starting, summer is for maintenance and harvesting, and fall is for harvesting! Of all the seasons fall is probably my favorite time of the year.  The days are refreshingly cool, the leaves are bright and colorful, and it is a joy to be out accomplishing garden chores in that kind of weather.  So let's plan ahead and see what we have to look forward to this fall! 5 Fall Garden Things to Do! Take care of all those leaves.  Leaves are an awesome resource.  When they change, drop, and decay they enrich the soil. Leaves can sometimes go where you don't want…

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A Crop of Fall Potatoes

This afternoon I went outdoors in the beautiful 60 degree weather and harvested our potato crop.  Truth be told its a rather small harvest of potatoes but considering that I didn't intentionally plant them I am quite pleased!  When you leave behind a few potatoes from the spring/early summer harvest they grow into a nice fall crop.  Growing potatoes is extremely easy to do and can be done in containers or the ground.  Our harvest consists of my favorite potato, the 'Yukon Gold', as well as Adirondack Blue and some red potatoes. They all taste great but the Yukon Gold has a very buttery flavor when cooked that just makes my mouth water when thinking about it! We'll use the small taters as fried potatoes in some grape seed oil while the larger ones we'll save and use for baked potatoes or potato soup this winter. I made sure to leave behind…

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5 Signs of Autumn’s Arrival

The autumn equinox is this weekend which means fall will be officially here but along the way nature has been telling us that fall is here already.  Let's take a peek at some of the signs of fall around my garden. 5 Signs of Autumn's Arrival The annual discussion of what causes allergies begins when the golden rod blooms.  Goldenrod is completely innocent when it comes to your nasal issues.  The real culprit is ragweed.  Ragweed pollinates sends its pollen to other plants (and your nose) through the wind but goldenrod relies on its attractive golden plumes to  bring in beneficial pollinators! Don't blame the goldenrod, its just a sign of fall! Goldenrod (Solidago) Ragweed Other weeds begin to sprout this time of year too.  Cool season weeds like chickweed get their start when the weather gets more suitable to their liking.  Chickweed is also one of those plants that…

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