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IN THE GARDEN: Fall vegetable planting time

It's time to plant peas and other fall vegetables. Keep reading for other September garden duties. iStock image

Where in the world has the year gone? Our young helpers are back in school sharing how they got to help you in the garden, and you have long list of things to do in September.

1. It’s fall vegetable planting time. Choose from a variety, including these delicious suggestions: Asian greens, beets, Chinese cabbage, carrots, chard, collards, corn, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard greens, peas, shallots, and turnips.

2. Set out your vegetable plants such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, endive, lettuce, and mustard.

3. With the heat, be sure to check your shoes before putting your feet in them. This is prime scorpion-hides-in-shoes-then-stings-you-when-you insert-your-feet season.

4. Plant flower/ornamental seeds such as alyssum (Lobularia maritima), calendula (Calendula officinalis), cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), delphinium/larkspur (Delphinium), hollyhock (Alcea), Johnny jump-up (Viola tricolor), liatris/blazing star (Liatris spicata), love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena), pansy (Viola tricolor var. hortensis), poppy (Papaver somniferum), snapdragon (Antirrhinum), stock and sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus).

5. Do you still have the seeds that you gathered earlier this year? Begin to think and plan where you want to plant wildflowers. Remember when planning, if you are going to put out corn gluten, do NOT plan to plant wildflower seeds in that same location. Plant (plant/throw/seed bomb/scatter) wildflower seeds in late September, throughout October, and in early November.

6. Set out artichoke crown transplants.

7. Divide perennials such as daylilies, bearded iris, Shasta daisies, violets, wood ferns, liriope, and cannas. You can share with family, friends, and fellow gardeners. Before you divide your irises, cut the leaves at a slight diagonal about 6 inches off the ground. This will help them to be even healthier and more vibrant next flowering season. Give them a couple of days to get used to their new hairdo and then divide.

8. You knew we were going to say it: It's prime time to check the mulch around your plants. We still have plenty of heat left on the ol’ calendar, and we need to protect our plants. Those of you who were blessed with rain, double check your mulch. The rains might have washed away some of the mulch or redistributed it.

PLANTS SEND SMOKE SIGNALS

Distressed plants can communicate with other plants and insects for help.

Did you know that what we recognize as the smell of fresh-cut grass is actually a chemical signal called green leaf volatiles (GLV)?

Did you know that some plants, when being munched on by certain caterpillars, can signal to said caterpillar’s predators, “Hey, come and get your dinner and save me." This signal is prompted by the saliva of the munching caterpillar. Isn’t God cool!

Did you know that if a plant is distressed, it can communicate to other plants through its root system that it’s not feeling well? Then, the other plants will decrease the amount of nutrients they are absorbing from the soil so the distressed plant can have more and heal.

These are a few examples of the fascinating modes that plants use to send up smoke signals. Discover how plants can communicate their distress and receive aid from insects and plants. Join us from 1-2 p.m. Sept. 23 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 909 Avenue D in Marble Falls, for a Green Thumb program on the topic sponsored by the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association. Til next time. Keep your souls and soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

"In the Garden" is written by father-daughter duo Bill and Martelle Luedecke and Bill Luedecke. Contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or luedeckephotography@gmail.com. Contact Bill at 512-577-1463 or bill@texasland.net.

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