Here’s a quick list of what needs to get done in your garden in October:
This Garden Tip comes from Espoma:
Savvy gardeners are known for not letting anything go to waste. They are the compost kings and queens. They are smart about how they water. They use every inch of their garden to plant something amazing. So when it comes to seeds, why would that be any different? Saving seeds for vegetables is simple and wallet-friendly. It allows gardeners to be sustainable within their own garden.
Saving Seeds Basics
Saving seeds is easy to do. Its three simple steps: harvest the seeds from the vegetables, dry the seeds and store the seeds. Of course there’s a little more to know, but it’s truly that straightforward. Depending on the vegetable you want seeds from, there’s a little bit of washing to do too. We have outlined three popular vegetables to get you started.
Peppers are the easiest vegetables to get seeds from. When they have changed colors and are ready to eat, the seeds are ready as well. Cut the peppers open, scoop out the seeds onto a ceramic or glass plate and lay them out to dry. Make sure the seeds are lying flat, not stacked on top of each other. Twice a day move the seeds around to ensure they aren’t sticking together. When they break, not bend, in your hand they are ready for storage. Be sure to use ceramic or glass as the seeds will stick to paper.
At the end of the season, pick off overly ripe cucumbers and bring them inside. Cut the cucumber open lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. To get the excess goop and coating off, rise and swirl seeds in a sieve gently. Spread them on wax paper to dry. Mix them occasionally to ensure even drying. Store when the seeds feel rough but not slippery.
Lettuce plants need to flower before you can harvest their seeds. One lettuce plant can produce a lot of seeds, so you don’t need to worry about all of them. When the flower heads are dried out and have puffs of white, the seeds are ready to be harvested. Pinch off the flower heads and collect them in a bag. Bring them to a table and break them open so the seeds fall out. Some of the flower may stick to the seed, it is fine. It won’t disrupt the germination of the next season. Allow the seeds to dry and store.
Airtight containers work best for all seeds described. If taken care of, these seeds can last a few years! Keep them at room temperature and they will be ready to go when planting season begins.
Here’s a quick list of steps from Proven Winners for keeping your plants over the Winter season:
1. Round Up Your Plants
2. Repot the Plants
3. Groom, Prune and Check for Insects
4. Apply a Preventative Insecticide
5. Water the Plants
6. Bring the Plants Inside
Tips for Success
Lady Bug and Green Lacewing Eggs
Effective Organic Pest Control
*PLEASE NOTE – DO NOT TREAT PLANTS WITH BOTH LIVE LADY BUGS OR GREEN LACEWING EGGS AND INSECTICIDES!
Always keep used container of Lady Bugs/Green Lacewing eggs out of direct sunlight and as cool as possible. Best if kept in a refrigerated at 35-40 degrees as they will hibernate at this temperature.
Directions for releasing Lady Bugs: water garden area before releasing bugs. Since lady Bugs do not fly at night it is best to release them after sundown, if not they will immediately fly away. Shake them out of container at the base of the plants that have aphids as the bugs will crawl up. Release 1/3 the first night, another 1/3 two nights later and the last 1/3 two nights after that. Always keep unused bugs in refrigerator to keep them dormant. As long as the lady Bugs have a food source they will stay but once the food – your aphids are gone so are the lady Bugs.
GREEN LACEWING EGGS
Green Lacewings are predators of many species of pest insects and mites. These attractive, pale green insects are an effective natural enemy of aphids, mites, whiteflies, mealbugs, leafhoppers trips, and all types of moth and butterfly eggs and caterpillars.
Lacewing adults are ½ to ¾ inch long. They have transparent, pale green wings and bright metallic gold eyes (also known as “Golden Eyes”). Adult Lacewings are not themselves predaceous (predatory insect), but feed on honeydew, nectar and pollen. They lay tiny pale green eggs on hair like stalks attached to the underside of leaves. In several days the lacewing larvae hatch. These larvae are the active searchers, immediately beginning to move over the plant in search of food. Because they are such voracious aphid eaters, consuming as many as 1,000 aphids each day, they are called “Aphid Lions”. They also devour a great deal of other insects. Do not feel discouraged because you have difficulty locating the Lacewings once they are released, the larvae are very secretive and do most of their foraging at night when water is available.
Directions for releasing Green Lacewing eggs: you will receive the Lacewings as dormant eggs and ready for hatching. Once they hatch they are HUNGRY! Using the whole container since they will be ready to hatch once warmed up, sprinkle them around your trees and plants. If placing in trees you can place a small amount in small paper cups and staple them to the leaves. The Lacewing will crawl out and up into the tree (or plant). The larvae will feed and devour everything in sight for about 3 weeks, then they will roll up into a little white pupae and emerge as an adult in about 1 week ready to lay eggs and start all over again! Yea!
Recommendations: WATER WASHING: in the event your plants are already heavily infested with aphids or other harmful insects, it is advisable to “water wash” your plants first. This involves spraying the plants with a strong stream of water, thus knocking most of the insects to the ground. The Lacewing larvae will establish themselves more quickly and prevent further re-infestations.