Autumn Has Arrived!!

Jannie Vaught,

Along with rain and schoolhouse Lily, it has been a long hot dry summer. But as I remember Autumn is good here in the Hill Country. What I’m planting, it is “Roots and Shoots”. Beets, carrots, turnips, and rutabaga. garlic, bulbing onions, and Artichoke are coming back after their end of summer trim back. Greens are; Collards, mustard, kale, and lots of lettuce from seed and starts and Swiss chard. Now the cauliflower and broccoli and cabbage are starts and big enough to get planted. If you had blossom end rot on tomatoes, peppers, and other summer vegetables it is time to add some garden lime and bone meal. Then again in the early spring before planting.

Time to get some Wildflower seeds and begin the work of planting them. If you have fruit trees the question is do you feed them now? Central Texas Gardener tells us to not feed or heavy water now as you do not want to bring on a new leaf flush when they are beginning to go to sleep for the winter. And wait until January to begin trimming trees and then spray with dormant oil. Some had insect problems, Sharpshooters and other pests that cause yellow leaf and poor vitality. Best to trim and treat when the leaves are gone and you can see into the tree branches. When the temperatures drop severely I do add a layer of mulch or last year’s leaves as compost and root protection especially to young or small trees. If you haven’t transplanted the house plants you may need bigger pots and new soil to keep them thriving.

It is also time to prune Christmas Cacti, Schlumbergera trumcata. These are long-lived cacti with beautiful flowers that arrive for our holidays. They can be outside but in indirect sunlight, They love a porch table or even inside in a window that has filtered light. The trimmed pieces can be rooted for more plants from the original to be added to the happy bunch or given as gifts. Place the cuttings in a glass of clear water just so the cut end is in water, keep the water fresh and soon you will see roots, and then you can re-pot. You will find them for sale in many nurseries and even grocery stores. Often they will be in flower and coming right out of a greenhouse and then the flowers fall off. Don’t think it is dead. keep it in filtered light and don’t overwater treat them like a succulent. And as they will live many years you will have a flowering Christmas Cactus next year. They make great holiday centerpieces and are like old friends joining you on the holidays.

Now its time to plant that fall garden!

Growing green with Jannie