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Garden Talk

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"GardenTalk", a regular feature for The Gazette, brings to you the combined experience and expertise of Holly Lake's dedicated gardeners and others. A continuing focus will be subjects of interest to anyone who has ever bought a packet of seeds or dug a hole in the ground for a plant, as well as the dedicated and sharp-eyed observers of nature. "GardenTalk" will not only inform you each issue but solicits your ideas and personal gardening experiences which you may wish to pass on to others. The hope is that "GardenTalk" will enrich us all as well as help make Holly Lake even more beautiful.
GardenTalk
By Lucy Germany, Wood Co. Master Gardener

For Your Fall Garden-Be Square!
It's way too hot to talk about: a. roses...b.vegetables...c.bulbs...d.anything that grows in a garden. It's the time for weeds-weeds rule! Croton, a dozen kinds of grasses, goldenrod, etc. etc. on into dreariness all seem to thrive on ¼" of rain every two months. They grow, bud, bloom(but the blooms aren't worth much), seed and finally give up. By that time it's winter and nothing grows. But right now in the kind of mini-break in the seasons-Sept. 15 through October 15- it'll be the time to prepare beds and plant seeds. Now most people-myself included-believe that the best way to plant seeds is to throw them every which way and let nature take its course. But actually it makes a lot more sense to have boundaries-a certain number of square feet designated as a garden-whether flowering plants or vegetables. That way you can "dress" the soil-add mulch, chips, manure, etc. and distribute it effectively. That way you can put a fence around it to keep the deer out if you are bothered with those critters. If you order seeds online or from catalogues, you will want to broadcast them over a prepared bed (using layers of the aforementioned ingredients). If you rake the seeds in, your good seeds won't germinate but the undesirable seeds will. Always the way-the bad win, the good sleep. The designated planting area will alleviate the problem of putting in seeds at random and forgetting where you sowed them or even what they are supposed to be. Be sure to keep the soul moist during the germination period-ten to twenty days-and as soon as the plans have come up to become seedlings you can back off on the watering because they will be able to survive dry periods. To reseed annuals you already have growing in your garden wait two weeks after the bloom has faded to cut the heads and scatter the seeds. Be warned about fertilizer-use it sparingly if at All and only when planting. Fertilizing wildflowers after the plants are established will result in larger amounts of foliage at the expense of blooms. Also oversized plants tend to get heavy and droop. If you want to mix blooming plants with native grasses, try Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem , Switchgrass and Indiangrass, all of which can be ordered online or from catalogues. For bloom try Indian Blanket, Butterfly Weed, Purple Coneflower, Penstemon, Coreopsis, Mexican Hat, Clasping Coneflower and Black Eyed Susan. You can doubtless think of dozens more but these are starters. Remember-do this in mid September or later when the thermometer ceases to be an enemy!