October Gardening 2016

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

There is a definite feel of fall now on Fishers Island. The wind has shifted to the North West and the water is a deep “September Blue”. As a child, I used to always hate it when those brief, “September Days” would emerge towards the end of August, as a signal that the idyllic summer was soon to come to an end. This year the cool weather is almost welcome after the hot and dry summer we have experienced here on the Island. A few of my plants have suddenly perked up with the cooler temperatures and the bit of rain we have had this past month. The roses have produced new flowers and the nasturtiums that were quite sad this summer are now brightly blooming. The Autumn Joy has turned a lovely pink and there are a few flowers on the hydrangeas.

This fall, I am going to do something I have never done before and plant a cover crop in my vegetable garden. Last spring, I sent a soil sample to The University Of Connecticut Department of Plant Science and it came back that the soil needed more potassium. Unfortunately, my husband had already put the wood ashes from the fireplace on the lilacs, so I could not use them in the vegetable garden. I should have added a 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 fertilizer, but things got busy and my garden went without the needed nutrient. I am sure that is one of the reasons, along with the drought, that the vegetables were not as good this year. I am planting, at Johnny’s Seeds recommendation, a cover crop of Hairy Vetch and Mammoth Red Clover. In the spring, we will turn the cover crop over into the soil and add hardwood ashes from the fireplace, along with decomposed fruits and vegetables in the compost pile and hope for a crop of healthy and delicious plants!

Fall Reminder List

  • Cut back decaying plants
  • Weed all garden beds
  • Make notes of plants you want to add to your garden next spring
  • Planting and transplanting should be completed by November 1st.
  • Order bulbs to plant or force and finish planting by mid November

Give houseplants a good spray of insecticidal soap and bring inside before the temperature outside drops below the inside temperature. Let plants “rest” (do not feed) until there are ten hours of sunlight in mid-February and the growing season starts up again.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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