Vegetable Garden Cleanup
The party\'s just about over, and it\'s time to start cleaning up the vegetable garden. Remove old vines of squash, cucumbers, and beans that have finished producing and compost them. Pull out any plastic mulch and other garden structures and store them for winter. Continue harvesting tomatoes and fall crops of broccoli and lettuce.
The early varieties of apples are ready to eat. The way to tell if they are ready is by coloring and taste. Go ahead and bite into a few apples. The flavor should be crisp, juicy, and a bit tart. After harvest, the flavor will sweeten and the texture softens. Save any damaged fruits for sauces and cider. Pick up and compost dropped or diseased fruits.
If your daylilies didn\'t bloom well this summer, consider digging and dividing them this fall. With a sharp spade, dig up the whole clump, cut it into wedge-shaped sections, and replant them in soil amended with compost. Keep them well watered, and they\'ll bloom for you next year.
Cut Back Flowering Baskets
Plants in hanging baskets, such as fuschias and ivy geraniums, should be cut back now and brought indoors if you want to try to overwinter them. Cut back all stems to 8 to 10 inches long, check and spray for any insect pests, hang the baskets in a bright, sunny location, and water them occasionally. If growth gets leggy during the winter, pinch the stems back again.
Select Rose of Sharon
Now is a good time to take notice of a great fall-blooming shrub, rose of Sharon. Rose of Sharon grows into a 6 foot tall shrub with colorful flowers starting to bloom in September. It's hardy to zone 4. Check local nurseries for sales on this shrub and plant it in a full-sun location in well-drained soil. They grow best when planted as a specimen plant in the lawn or landscape.