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Playing in the dirt: Scare up some good gardening


Sharon Carrigan

Sharon Carrigan



Sharon Carrigan



Boo! It's October, and I'll bet you've got a pumpkin, gourd, corn or nuts in a strategic spot for these perennial fall decorations. If you spent a small fortune for these beauties, do I have a tip for you. Grow them yourself. If you are now bemoaning the fact that you have no idea where to start, I'll tell you, the Master Gardener class will teach you all you need to know. Registration will begin in January, and classes in February. Now, in all honesty, you need a couple of things along with the classes. You will first need a place to grow things with at least eight hours of sun. Pots will do for some things. Second, you will need time. If you go ahead and plan now, you'll have enough time to grow all but the nut trees for fall 2018 decorating.  


If you want to grow your own nuts, you'll need more time and patience, but some of our favorite nuts will grow in our zone. Depending on the size of the tree you plant and variety, you will likely need several years to see a nut yield. But the pumpkins, corn and gourds are all annuals (plant, grow and harvest every year). Come join us for learning, fun, and fellowship. 


Now, I know you're about to get a knot your knickers waiting for the tips for October, so here you go: 


n Plant: Plant spring flowering bulbs this month, except for tulips and hyacinths. Place these in the refrigerator for six weeks before planting in late December or early January. Pot up basil, chives, parsley, rosemary, sage and sweet marjoram for that sunny kitchen window. Wisteria and trumpet vine can be planted this month. (Neither of these vines have many manners, so plant at your own peril.)  


Annuals to plant are pansies, violas, pinks, flowering cabbage and kale, English daisy. Wildflowers: cornflowers, larkspur and Queen's Anne lace. Perennials: asters, salvia, hollyhock, daylilies, baby's breath, iris and Shasta daisy. 


n Fertilize: Foliar feed all plantings and lawns. 


n Prune: Prune back annuals like blue salvia and dianthus to the ground and mulch; they may go through the winter and bloom again. 


n Miscellaneous: Dig up caladiums now with foliage intact, allow to dry, remove dried foliage and store in peat moss in a cool dark place for replanting next year. Force paper-white, narcissus, lily of the valley, jonquil or hyacinth bulbs for indoor show. Enjoy the blooms in this way. Place leaves in a compost bin. 


Sharon Carrigan of Columbus shares monthly gardening tips on behalf of the Lowndes County Master Gardeners. For more information on Master Gardeners, contact the Extension Service, 662-328-2111.



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