Time to start those fall garden chores | Lifestyles

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Soon it will be time to bring all the houseplants indoors as the nights are getting colder.

Check the plants for pests and repot if necessary. When moving indoor plants from place to place, there is always a period of adaptation to the new climate. Plants can easily lose 10% of their leaves as they adjust to the spot, especially Ficus – so don’t worry.

Normally, plants on the porch need more water as they face additional evaporation from the wind, so reduce the water as needed once you bring them inside. Going indoors is less stressful than going out in the spring, as our indoor temperatures and humidity are more stable than outdoors, and generally less windy too!

Pesky pests

Some insects can be pests throughout the season. The featured pest is the corn rootworm. Only people who live in rural agricultural areas can be familiar with this phytophagous pest. In the vegetable garden, you may see them in the fall devouring the parts of your plants and eating the pollen sought by the bees.

The photo shows “Jennifer Rebecca”, a reliable reflowering iris, choked by beetles. It blooms in the spring and, under good growing conditions, will bloom again in the fall. When you have cornfields nearby, it doesn’t matter if they rebloom when that happens!

The NRC beetle begins in cornfields, damaging silk and feeding on pollen. When the corn dries up, they move to greener pastures.

We have debris

It’s a good time to remind yourself of the best way to get rid of debris in your vegetable garden. Vine crops – which include melon, squash, pumpkin and tomato plants – are probably the most disease-infected plants in the garden. The best advice is to remove them at the end of the season and take them to your local compost site.

Plants that have fewer disease problems, such as peas, green beans, leafy greens and peppers, can be tilled or composted at home. Most of our insect pests overwinter as adults or eggs in the ground or on plant debris. By using clean growing methods, you reduce the chances of problems repeating themselves next year.

Rye out loud

If the goal is to add organic matter, here’s a better suggestion than using diseased insect-laden material: grow annual rye! This is the perfect time to start growing your own fertilizer and cultivating your soil. There are many crops that can be grown to be plowed or tilled for the benefit of the soil. This is called green manure crops. Legume crops like peas, alfalfa and annual rye are popular.

When you buy your seed, make sure it’s annual rye and not perennial rye – big difference. Decide where you need to fertilize; usually the vegetable garden. The grass will need to be tilled, tilled, or mowed later, so only scatter the seeds where you can later perform one of these critical tasks. Rake the grass seed lightly to create tiny ridges of soil to help the seed stay in place. Water lightly every day, twice a day in case of sun.

Annual rye germinates quickly, often in less than a week. Seeds can be scattered around your vegetable plants. It is not necessary to clean the plants in the garden first. By the time you’re ready to tackle plowing or mowing, your vegetable plants will be history. When the grass begins to develop seed heads, it’s the optimal time to mow or plow. This is a critical step. If the seeds are allowed to develop, mature and disperse, they will germinate next year and may remain for several seasons; you don’t want that!

Managed correctly, you can grow more nitrogenous matter than your garden plants could ever consume. Tilling plant material also helps add organic matter to the soil that is needed for optimal drainage. It also improves soil texture and provides food for worms.

The Mankato Farmers Market is open 8:00 a.m. to noon Saturday and 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday in the Best Buy parking lot.

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