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Time for New Pots?
Are you thinking about adding some new pots to your container garden collection for next year? Perhaps the ones you have are looking a little tired or maybe had some hail damage last year? Although the summer is coming to a close and you might not be really thinking about next year yet, now might be a good time to look for new pots.

There are lots of choices of materials for containers: glazed ceramic, terra cotta or clay, plastic, fiberglass, just to name a few. Glazed ceramic are my favorite because they are available in so many styles and colors. They come in a large variety of sizes, textures, patterns, and there are many glaze options. Each pot has some variance from the next as each one is glazed individually. The inside of the pot can absorb water from the potting soil, but the glass glaze on the outside keeps it from evaporating. The water is then released back into the soil which creates an extra buffer for the plants in the container. The downside to glazed ceramic pots is that they are heavy and breakable (not exactly fragile, but they can get broken).

Typically, you can find some good end-of-season deals on pottery at the area nurseries starting in September. If you like glazed ceramic pottery too, I recently acquired some new inventory - especially some large sizes. Contact me if you're interested! I also have a few sets of Vietnamese Black Clay which are industrial strength pots.

ceramics
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What I'm doing in my yard...
  • Monitoring my water schedule. I try to juggle my tolerance for brown grass with my tolerance for a high water bill. When turf grass goes brown in the heat of the summer, it's not dead, it has gone dormant. The cooler temperatures and rain we've had the past couple of days will help green up the grass again so I can turn off my sprinklers for a couple of days to save on the water bill. I just have to remember to turn it back on again! 

  • pumpkinSpraying the pumpkins for powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is a fungus which looks just like its name: a dry, white powder settled on the leaves. Many plants in the cucurbit (squash) family are susceptible including pumpkins, squash, cucumbers and melons. Within just a few days, the leaves turn brown and die. If the infection is bad enough, the plant will die. Powdery mildew is a late-season infection usually arriving in August. For the past few years, powdery mildew has arrived at my house just after we leave on our family vacation! The best control is good management - removing leaves with signs of mildew as soon as you see them. The next step in control I like to use is to spray the leaves with a mixture of 1 part milk and 1 part water. I spray thoroughly in the evenings to avoid leaf scorch. The milk changes the pH on the leaves which discourages the fungus. My pumpkin isn't large enough to win any awards at the fair, but it will make a good carving pumpkin.
  • Deadheading (removing spent flowers) and pulling weeds - my near constant summer chore. When I can, I try to remove the weeds before they can set seeds. This helps to control my weed problem next year. Right now, I have a very bad case of bindweed in the front yard which is discouraging me. 

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What I should be doing in my yard...
  • window_boxMaking some notes about how my plants did this year, especially the plants in my container gardens and my vegetable garden. I don't expect myself to remember from year to year how the plants performed and I don't want to keep making the same mistake. For example, the red Begonia in this window box looks fantastic, but the Streptocarpella surrounding it only bloomed once. I'm also going to make a note that next year I only want powdery mildew resistant varieties of pumpkins.   

  • I had some of my perennials marked for dividing or relocating last spring but I didn't get the job done. Fall is also a good time for planting, so I hope to get back to this task. I especially have some Bearded Iris that need dividing.
  • Turning/harvesting the compost pile. *sigh* That's still on my to-do list!

spacer.gifIf you have questions about what you're doing or what you should be doing, ask meI won't pretend I have all the answers, but I always like to talk about plants!
               --Stephanie