Fall is right around the corner! It’s a good time to take advantage of the cooler temperatures to do some maintenance jobs in the garden and lawn.
As vegetable plants in the garden are spent, remove them. It might be tempting to leave them for mulch but this is not a good idea. Even growing, healthy-looking plants can have disease or be infested. It’s better to remove them and cover the area with good compost. No need to till it; tilling simply brings more weed seeds to the surface to grow in your nice compost. The compost will work its way in over winter. Trim down still-producing tomato plants to only the producing vines.
The lawn should be looking a little better now that the extremely hot weather has passed. This is a great time to augment the grass and soil. Purchase a few bags of high quality topsoil; just one level up from the $1 bags, there’s no need to buy the pricey name brand. When looking for topsoil, driest is best. If it’s been raining, stay away from soil stored outside; find the nice dry bags inside. Get yourself a couple pounds of grass seed while you’re there. Look for higher percentages of Blue Grass. Spread the soil evenly over the lawn and smooth in with the back of a regular lawn rake. Let the soil water in. If there’s no regular rain, water in yourself. Spread out the grass seed. Water again and do so lightly every day till the seed sprouts, usually 7-10 days. Grass grows best in cool temperatures, so you will have a great lawn that will flourish next year.
Now is your last chance to trim to all your bushes. You don’t want to trim bushes too late in the year, as the new growth will not be strong enough to survive the winter. So trim down a little more than you normally would, so they’ll get through the winter with all their late growth attached.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO