Love this cool weather! And now that it is cooling off, it’s good to get out in the yard. Time to catch up on those chores neglected when it was too blessed hot. Time to get everything tidied up and looking lovely for the holiday season ahead, and all those family visits. Basically, I try to “work forward,” so to speak, and eliminate potential problems from the yard that might add to holiday season stress.
Work Forward and Avert Disaster
As we all know, you can put off dealing with some things off for months, or even years, before the problem becomes a full-blown disaster. Since these disasters usually erupt at the worst possible time, getting pesky problems dealt with while they are tiny matters is a good idea.
Work on Irrigation
If you have an irrigation system, you may have problems that you don’t even know about. “Out of sight, out of mind” is an apt saying for this potential geyser system (and potential whopping great water bill!) Give your irrigation system a good going over this month.
First, open any below ground water piping box with care. Honey bees and snakes alike do love those ideal man-made dwelling spots. Do not try to deal with either of these wildlife problems on your own! There are bee and snake removal experts to do the job. The Southern Arizona Bee-Keepers are a non-profit group that can help you find a removal expert.
Now on to the irrigation. Replace clogged or missing emitters. Goof plugs are easy to use. Fix any leaks. Reduce irrigation frequency to the autumn mode if you haven’t already. Replace the back-up battery in your timer (controller) if you haven’t done so in more than a year. I used to teach how to do all this as a hands-on workshop, and still have the teaching kit. If you wish a hands on tutorial at your own home, please use the “Contact Us” form.
Don’t have an irrigation system? Autumn is a good time to install one. It is less stressful for plants to have their roots disturbed in their less-active growing season. There is lots of DIY help out there.
If you are not a DIY person – November is the perfect time to call around and see if you can get a deal! Landscaping companies need to keep their crews busy and the good workers employed and may reduce their prices just to have the job.
Work Forward on Weeds
If you get any rain, catch and remove winter weeds as they germinate. If you aren’t sure if it is a weed or wildflower, keep an eye on it. Once it blooms you’ll know and if it is a weed, yank it before it produces seeds.
Watch for First Frost
No, not Jack Frost (wink emoticon), First Frost is a gardening term for when you can expect it to freeze in your area – on average. Mother Nature is fickle and average means there will be some to either side. Since I have readers across the Southwest I will ask you to call your local County Cooperative Extension office and get the date for your area.
Frost can easily kill tiny young seedlings, so if you have less than a month before First Frost in your area, don’t plant seeds. You can still plant grown seedlings of colorful annuals or vegetables from the nursery. For winter flower ideas, see my post on this topic – here.
Watch for Harvest
Some types of citrus may be ripe. You have five to six weeks in late autumn (generally November) to enjoy tangerines. Most other citrus ripens later. Citrus are ripe when they fall into your hand with a very gentle tug. Do not yank or cut them off, they will not have reached their full ripeness. Store unharvested fruit right on the tree.
Harvest and enjoy pecans. Pecans right off the tree are delightful and far better tasting than store-bought. Meanwhile, harvest and enjoy the last of the pomegranates.
Take Some Time to Enjoy
Do not forget to take a few moments off from helping your yard – to help your body. Take some time to sit in your yard and enjoy our sweet Southwest autumn weather. Do soak up a little vitamin D ahead of time as we work forward into the holiday season.
If you live in Southern Arizona, please come to one of my free lectures that I mention on my Gardening With Soule Facebook page. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including “Southwest Fruit and Vegetable Gardening” (Cool Springs Press). This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there I will get a few pennies.
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