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Gardening with Laurie: Cooler mornings bring good news for gardeners

Sept. 8, 2011 at 4:08 a.m.


BY LAURIE GARRETSON Slowly, but surely, I feel fall-like weather is approaching.

If you've paid attention to how it feels when you walk outside in the mornings, you know what I mean. The mornings have been cool and humidity-free.

Extended forecasts don't show any 100-degree temperatures, but they also don't show any rain either.

Lower temperatures will help us considerably even with no rain.

Fall gardening time is here. With the temperatures slightly dropping, maybe we gardeners will finally feel more like getting out in the garden and getting something accomplished.

By now, most of us have gotten our fall tomatoes in the ground. If you want tomatoes this season and still haven't planted any, you had better get to it. Whether growing them in containers or the ground, they need to be planted.

The heat and drought seem to have postponed many gardeners from starting their fall gardens. Who wants to think about planting anything when it's so dry and hot?

So, if you're still inclined to grow some type of vegetation this season, now's a good time to get busy.

Each season, before planting anything in the ground, it is always good to work compost and fertilizer back into the soil. Whether planting vegetables, shrubs, perennials or colorful annuals, these additions will help to provide any plants with the nutrients needed to grow in all conditions especially during difficult times, such as droughts.

The drought and intense heat has affected all of us. The cooler temperatures will make things better, but there is no relief in sight from the drought.

As gardeners, most of us realize just how connected all parts of nature are to each other.

Take bees for example: these little helpers are vital to the human race. Who would want to take over their pollinating job if something were to happen to them.

The bee population has been in trouble for a while now, even before this drought. This is something that should concern all of us.

Have you noticed how the extreme weather conditions have affected all the insects and animal life? Weather conditions - rain, wind, temperature and humidity - must surely be critical factors that affect and dictate how severe or how moderate the development of certain insects and animals will be.

In our current situation, it is important that we supply water and nectar for the birds and the bees.

Hummingbirds are due to pass through our area in the next few weeks and will need all the nectar they can find.

Because of heat and drought, there will unfortunately be fewer flowers available to them. Keep your hummingbird feeders full of clean sugar water.

Keep shallow containers of water available for butterflies and bees. A plastic plant saucer filled with gravel or small rocks makes it easy for these little creatures to get to the water.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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