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franklin county times

Colder weather is coming soon

Sitting on the porch rocking, I can see a change in the leaves on the trees. If you will look the tops and about halfway down, the leaves will have a yellow hue about them. Bartlett pear trees are changing all the way, with some yellow leaves falling.

I know we will have more hot weather, but it makes my bones feel so good when there is a little heat. I’m looking forward to snow this winter: we need a little cold and freeze to kill some of the insects that get to us when we are the garden digging in the flower beds.

Speaking of the fall and winter coming upon us, we need to start pruning and mulching as much as we can to save us time so we don’t get behind. One sure way is to start at one end of the yard and work all the way around until you finish. This way you will not miss brush and limbs that need to be out of the beds.

Now is the time to save some seed from the bushes. Be sure they are dry before putting them away in the garden shed. If they have any moisture in them, they will mold, and you want have enough seed to sow in your beds for spring.

If you have a hot or cold house, you might want to start planting seed in cups so they will sprout for transplanting in the spring. If you start this process, it takes seeds about six weeks to start showing a leaf or two. Always wait until the ground is a little warm to plant; you do not want the roots to go into shock when planted.

Mulch all plants before winter – about 2-3 inches is good for our area. Remember in spring to pull away from the base of the plants so the stem and roots can get a little air. Water well before mulching – and I know you think I am crazy, but if it is a dry winter, you should water; some plants have to have water just like we do. Container gardens need half as much water in the winder as the summer months. If you want container gardens left outside, you can do that by using burlap bags or fabric to wrap around the pots to keep the roots from freezing.

For herbs, now is the time to harvest them and dry them outside – on paper bags, not plastic. Plastic will burn the herbs from heat. Paper is the best.

When completely dry, seal jars with lids and turn every-so-often to keep the herbs from forming a mass, all stuck together. Remember, fresh herbs are so much better than the dry ones from the market; when cooking with them, use half as much.

When getting your herbs ready for the winter, if they are in containers, raise each pot up and be sure you do not have ants in the bottom, if you need to replant them. Ants will kill your herbs for sure.

While you are doing this, it is a good time to put all pots together: plastic ones in the middle and clay on the outside. You may wrap all the pots with burlap or you can wrap the outside ones to protect from the cold.