Ann Wright: Master Gardener’s Fall plant sale — TODAY!
With the change in temperatures and fall-like weather, gardeners, among many, are doing the happy dance!
The delightful weather we’ve experienced the last several days has made gardening hearts glad; fall is in the air, and it’s a great time to be outside.
Now is the ideal time to plant natives, other ornamental perennials and cool season vegetables. Fall days are generally cooler, shorter and kinder to natives and other perennials.
Plants put into the landscape in the fall loose less moisture through the leaves than in summer, and some of the heat of summer is retained in the soil which gives plant roots a chance to become established as the rains of winter set in.
Once winter rains begin, roots established in the fall continue to grow a more extensive root system and support future leaf growth. This establishes a stronger plant, better able to tolerate the next year’s hot summer months.
Further top growth will then continue next spring before the plant will seek summer dormancy.
The Nevada County Master Gardener’s fall plant sale is TODAY from 9 a.m. to noon at the demonstration garden on the Nevada Irrigation District grounds at 1036 W. Main St. in Grass Valley.
A variety of perennials, native plants and grasses will be available as well as vegetables. Some natives available at the sale will be milkweed, California fuschia, canyon snow iris (Iris douglasiana) and western spice bush.
Ornamentals such as hydrangea, forsythia and coral bells will also be for sale. Cool season vegetables available include lettuces, arugula, kale, chard and other greens.
Check the Master Gardener website (http://www.ncmg.ucanr.org) for a more complete list of plants for sale. Come early for the best selection — cash and checks only, please.
Other than planning and planting fall gardens, other tips for September include:
When planning native plant beds, choose plants that have similar soil water and light requirements.
Winter annuals planted now bloom better next spring. At the end of the month, sow seeds of California poppy, clarkia, larkspur and sweet peas.
Prepare the beds for wildflowers now. Weeds restrict the growth of wildflowers, so to control weeds, soak the soil thoroughly to germinate weed seeds. Then hoe down or pull the weeds in preparation for wildflower seeding. Repeat the process.
Continue to clear property of fire fuel such as dead branches and woody debris. Clean out rain gutters, and trim tree branches that touch the house or roof.
Fertilize flowering annuals, perennials and fall-planted vegetables for a strong start. Use a complete balanced fertilizer at planting time and for long season crops, again in 3 to 4 weeks.
Renew mulch around roses and other ornamentals. Divide crowded clumps of perennials.
Plan to attend the final workshops of the season — Sept. 30 — “Using Native Plants to Attract Birds to Your Yard”; Oct. 14 — “Fear the Rust: Garden Tool Maintenance”; Nov. 4 — “The Art and Science of Pruning Fruit Trees.”
For questions about home gardening or any Master Gardener activities, call the hotline at 530-273-0919 or go to the website at http://www.ncmg.ucanr.org.
Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener.
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