Laboring on Labor Day …or Not

   Written by on August 25, 2016 at 10:07 am

logo - walk in gardenLabor Day is one of those long weekend opportunities to take a mini vacation – get the grass cut and then head out for fun and frolic, or at the very least a cookout in the backyard.

Well, providing the weather is agreeable, and it is predicted to be beautiful, I’m planning to spend a lot of time piddling in the yard. You know how there are little corners and niches that you particularly enjoy? Well, I haven’t visited them except in passing on the lawn mower all summer. So this Labor Day weekend, I’m going to leisurely labor (my definition of piddling) in those neglected but well-loved spots.

If, however, you feel compelled to really labor on Labor Day weekend, here are a few suggestions for the last weekend of summer. (Really? You’re gonna labor?) Get ready for fall:

Get all the flower and planting beds cleaned up and ready. Pull up the fading annuals, add mulch and get the beds back in shape. Use an additional two inches or more of mulch to replace what broke down over the summer.

Ragweed and crabgrass are flowering right now, so get them pulled up before they go to seed.

Get some seedlings started. It’s time to think about fall greens that like the cooler temperatures. Try to offer them some shade and keep them moist which will keep the soil temperature down a bit.

Take some cuttings of annual herbs like basil or ornan1entals like coleus. Both make great houseplants that can be put outside next spring. Fresh basil in your tomato (home canned, of course) soup in January? You betcha!

Hope you took advantage of all the fresh produce over the summer and froze or canned a lot. If not, sit down with the seed books and start planning next year’s vegetable garden.

Think about planting something besides shrubs and trees this fall. Some perennials are great to plant now. If you plant now, the plants will set a larger root system before going dormant. You might even want to shop some fall plant sales.

Take a good look at your lawn. September is a good month to overseed to fix some of those bare spots. Or, on the other hand, expanding your garden areas so there’s less to mow can also be a good fall project.

Plant some red clover! It’s an annual cover crop that will protect and nourish the soil in your plant beds, and then can be mowed down or tilled in the spring.

Here’s a fun one: turn your compost pile. Don’t you love to stir up…..stuff? Be careful what you throw on the pile, though. Make sure your green and brown materials are free of weeds and disease.

Make some lasagna in the yard! Sure, make some new planting beds by laying down alternating layers of green and brown organic materials. Start with a layer of newspaper or cardboard to kill the grass underneath; this will keep you from having to till! Soon, leaves will just fall from the trees right on top of your new beds and, presto! bingo! you’re mulched.

Now that’s what I call labor-saving.

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