Master Gardner Tips
For the Week of Sept. 20, 2021
September 22, 2021
Volunteering at community gardens: With fall approaching there are many garden tasks to be completed and many community gardens in need of care, including the Scotts Bluff Court House front garden fall cleanup; removing tall grasses at the Guadalupe center rain/pollinator garden; picking produce at the Evergreen Green House in Gering on Wednesdays; and many more. Call your local extension office to see how you can help in the gardens and be less isolated during this time. It’s a great way to make a difference in your community.
Enjoying deadheading: Deadheading is a task many gardeners enjoy. Unlike weeding, it focuses on successes, giving us a chance to pay attention to passing beauty. Be sure to have your camera with you to get a picture of the bees and butterflies enjoying your work. This maybe the time to take a repurposed milk jug or bag with and put some of the seeds heads in to gather seeds for your next garden or share with others.
A good use for leaves and yard waste: Fall is right around the corner, as well as the falling leaves that go with it. Composting takes advantage of a natural process, nature’s way of transforming plant “waste” into what gardeners often refer to as “black gold”. If you can just make a pile of your fallen leaves, stems and other yard waste in a back corner you are giving homes to any number of insects that need a place to overwinter, most butterflies overwinter in what we call yard waste.
Layering trees and shrubs: Fall is a great time for planting trees and shrubs, do you have some spots that needs more layering? Start at the ground with a living ground cover, a layer of native perennials, followed with a layer of shrubs under that tree, look to nature for your guide. Most birds roost just 4-6 feet from the ground, so having different layers of groundcovers, grasses, taller perennials, shrubs, vines and trees is essential for protection from the elements and from predators.
Collect now, enjoy later: Collect now for the pleasure of the garden inside this winter. It’s best to collect flowers on cool mornings, after the dew dries. Stripping the leaves from the stem helps reduce the drying time. Seedpods should be collected soon after they mature. Arrange the stems and bind them with a rubber band while you are collecting. Branches that are tied with a rubber band will accommodate the shrinking stems. Keep the bundles relatively small. Then hang them upside down.