Garden Plants And Indoor Plants

By Kent Higgins

Fall is a good time, before frost, to pot up a few chosen plants for continued bloom in the house long after freezing weather has brought an end to the garden season. Ageratum, lobelia, sweet alyssum, dwarf marigolds, and petunias or almost any annual having good, clean, compact foliage and sturdy stems with a promising crop of buds and young blooms can be potted and used for a house plant.

Specimens that had a late start in the garden and now are coming into maturity are good prospects. Use shallow pots that are just large enough to hold most of the root system. Do the potting only when the soil is quite moist so that the earth will hold the roots in a compact ball.

Very little soil other than that which is dug with the plant will be needed. but if additional earth is used it should be a screened, sandy loam. Before potting. be sure to put a few small pieces of broken pottery in the bottom of the pot for drainage and add a thin layer of sphagnum moss on top to prevent earth from getting through the drainage hole.

Water right after potting and place the plants out of direct sun for a few days until they are adjusted to the pot, then bring them indoors. If kept in a cool but bright place in the house, the browallias will bloom throughout the entire winter; ageratum and others will remain in good condition for many weeks.

Bulb Harvest

The harvesting of the tender garden bulbs and tubers such as gladiolus, dahlias, cannas, tuberous begonias, Peruvian daffodils, tuberoses and others will occupy the gardener's time and attention after light frost nips their tops, but before hard frosts kill the foliage.

All of these bulbs should be dug with great care just like caring for spathoglottis so that they will not be cut or injured by the spade or fork. The tops of glads, dahlias and cannas should be cut off close to the ground before these plants are dug; the tops of the others should be kept intact to allow the food which is in the leaves and stems to be transported and stored in the bulbs and tubers. Additional comments regarding curing and care of all the tender tubers and bulbs will be discussed next month.

October is an ideal time to construct new garden beds that will be stocked with plants next spring. If the new flower bed is to be planted with annuals, the soil (a good loam topsoil) should be at least 12 inches deep. Eighteen to 24 inches is desirable for perennials. Also, when preparing these new beds, work a good layer of barnyard manure into the soil to increase the organic content and fertility.

October is a good time to be gardening and a good time to enjoy these last blooms of the season. - 29857

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