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GARDENER’S CHECKLIST: Week of September 15, 2022

We may be moving from summer to fall, but Ron shows us that there's still plenty to do in the garden.

* Pinch out the tips of Brussels sprouts. In response, the plants will re-direct their energy to development of the sprouts. Some gardeners like to remove the leaves below the developing sprouts, but this is not necessary to encourage maturation. Sprouts taste best after the plants have been exposed to some very cool temperatures.

Pinch out the shoot tip of Brussels sprouts to promote development of the sprouts.

* Keep an eye or two on weather forecasts over the coming weeks, since we are entering fall frost time. When frost is predicted, harvest pumpkins and winter squash before they are exposed to frost. Otherwise, their storage life will be dramatically shortened.

*Warn children not to take sweet, juicy foods outdoors to munch on. Not that I am against kids eating fresh fruit, but this is the time of year when the diet of yellow jackets and other wasps turns from “meat to sweet.” In other words, these stinging insects change their food preferences from proteins to carbohydrates. As such, they are attracted to high carbohydrate foods, including ripe fruit.

* Don’t fret if you failed to train sweet autumn clematis to a trellis. It also makes a terrific ground cover. Ours is now in bloom and creeping its way through a flower border. Spring is the best time to plant this beauty, so put that on your shopping list for next year’s garden purchases.

* Take advantage of rain-softened soil to grub out Oriental bittersweet, non-native honeysuckle shrubs, Japanese barberry, briars, and other invasive plants.

* Bring in pots or hanging baskets of fuchsia, ivy geranium, and lantana. Cut back the branches to lengths of about ten inches and then place the plants in a cool but well lighted location, such as near a basement window. Allow the plants to rest. Water only when the soil feels bone dry.  Hmm, how dry is bone dry? Just water about once a month!

* Caulk around windows if they are not tightly sealed. As nights get cooler, a lot of insects begin looking for a winter retreat and the crevices around window frames allow for easy entry into our homes. I like company in winter but I prefer to choose my friends.

Save those clementine crates. They make great flats for growing seedlings in spring.

* Turn the calendar to the month of December and write a note to save those little wooden crates in which clementines are sold. These boxes make great flats for growing vegetable and flower seedlings that are started indoors.

* Order a copy of the 2023 UMass Garden Calendar. The calendar continues its tradition of inspiring colorful images and daily gardening tips. The 2023 calendar also focuses on gardening practices promoting soil health and enhancing carbon fixation and storage. For information on placing an order, go to:  https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/publications-resources/umass-extensions-garden-calendar

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The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.