Growin’ Green

Time For ‘Crafty’ Folks To Gather Material

By Brent Gray


For you “crafty” folks, now is the time to gather armloads of fall flowers, grasses, and other materials from your garden, fields, or woods. Bunching together with rubber bands and hanging in a hot, dry, dark place for a week or two can dry these materials. Couple with lichens, acorns, moss, cones, and other items to create beautiful wreaths, topiaries, swags, garlands, or other crafts. There’s a wealth of natural materials in the fall that can be used for dried floral crafts. You’re only limited by your imagination.
 
Selecting A Tree For Fall Color
When selecting a tree for the landscape, we usually consider the size tree or maybe its flowering potential. We sometimes overlook one attribute that would make an impact in the landscape during the fall and winter. I’m talking about fall and winter color, which could be leaves or fruit.
Think about the attractiveness of the fruit on the crabapples, hollies, American beautyberries, and many others. We all know of the fall color of the maples. But what about the fall foliage color of our native trees like the sourwood, black gum and sweet gum? I don’t care what the persnickety folks say about the sweet gum and its “litter ball” problem – in the right place, I love it! No other tree exhibits the range of foliage color as the sweet gum, and it’s all on one tree! The best time to plant trees and shrubs is during their dormant time.
 
Vegetables
Most of the state made it through the recent cold front with little damage to the vegetables in the garden. Gardeners in counties touching Tennessee had more damage, but even there many gardens survived the first frost.  Prune away the frost damaged leaves and apply a fungicide to help keep your plants healthy. The forecast for November is for higher than normal temperatures so this may be another year we can pick fresh tomatoes for Thanks-giving.
Spinach growers are reporting problems achieving a stand this fall. The lower than normal rain fall  with occasional showers may be contributing to seedling death. Spinach seeds are encased in tissue formed from the calyx of the flower which contains a germination inhibitor. The seeds have to be kept moist for several days in a row to leach the inhibitor away and start the germination process.  Spinach can be soaked over night in room temperature water (like okra is done) to enhance   germination. Keep-ing the seeds wet enough  in the garden is difficult since the seedlings can develop root rot if the moisture levels are too high.
Asparagus ferns should be left until frost kills them. The ferns are capturing  energy and transferring the carbohydrates made to the crowns to provide energy for next Spring’s spears.
Oil seed radish is one of the crops recommended for green manure or cover cropping  The radishes produce a long, thick root which penetrates deeply into the soil. Their foliage is fed to animals. Oil seed are very closely related to daikon radishes. Daikon radishes are meant to be eaten by people and provide the same ground penetrating benefits touted for oil seed radishes. Omny and April Cross have grown well in Mississippi.
 
Horticulture Tips
Lelia Kelly, David Nagel

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