Fall Reflection and Changes

Carol Morton
Adams County Master Gardener

Fall has arrived with cooler temperatures and the constant chirping of crickets and humming of cicada. Home gardeners have been busy harvesting fruits and vegetables and preserving them for the winter months ahead. There doesn't seem to be anything more enjoyable than opening a jar of homegrown vegetables, jams or fruit in the middle of winter.

Fall is a time of reflection and changes. Looking back over these past several months, we can contemplate our successes and failures in this year's garden. Unlike last year, we had to worry about drought conditions again which not only affected our crops, but also stressed many trees, shrubs and perennials. We are still seeing the results of the drought two years ago and with this year's lack of rain, we need to be prepared for problems in our landscapes next year.

Trees that were attacked by insects or diseases such as leaf spot, powdery mildew, leaf scorch need to be watered. They should be given at least 1 inch of water every week until the ground freezes, if we do not have sufficient rain. Place a 5 gallon bucket with small holes at the base of the tree. This will allow the water to reach roots without runoff. 

Better yet, use several buckets around the perimeter of the tree. Rake up and destroy fallen leaves as diseases will over winter and splash onto the new growth next spring. You might want to spray the tree with a fungicide before bud break in the spring to give added protection. Follow with additional sprays as stated on the label.

Home gardeners can empathize with the farmer with the unpredictable weather patterns we've experienced over the past several years. We have been from one extreme to another and all that we do to prepare our gardens and landscapes for another growing season, just may not be enough.

Fall reflection should bring about changes. Good gardening practices will not always insure good crops, disease and pest free plants, but they will provide the best possible conditions for a successful growing season. Using the right plants in the right spot, rotating crops, improving air circulation, improving soil conditions, mulching and monitoring the garden will give the gardener a good start during those dry and wet seasons. Our Extension Office offers free gardening information that will assist the home gardener in planning for next year's growing season.

This Fall brings about another change. I will be retiring this year to become a 'Snowbird' during the cold, winter months. I look forward to learning more about Zone 8 and the beautiful plants available in the warmer climates. I've enjoyed meeting and assisting many Adams County residents these past 3 years with gardening problems.

I appreciate the many good comments received on the weekly news column and Garden Thyme newsletter. The news column will continue in the capable hands of Master Gardeners Frank and Sue Williams. Several of our Master Gardeners will continue to contribute articles and I will probably submit one or two. The Garden Thyme quarterly newsletter will hopefully continue after the new Horticulture Agent comes on board.

I will be returning next spring and summer as a volunteer Master Gardener to help the new Horticulture Agent where needed and I hope to see many of our clients again. Happy Gardening!

Read other fall related gardening articles

Read other articles by Carol Morton