KC Gardens

This week in the Patton garden

Raking leaves — avoid it!
Raking leaves — avoid it!

From Dennis Patton:

This past week has been slower in the Patton garden. Time was short between keeping up with the kiddo and work. Ugh, those night meetings! But they are part of the job. Here are a few chores that did get accomplished that you might want to consider adding to your To Do list.

Mowing Frequently

I despise raking. The best place for a leaf rake is hanging in the garage. Although getting it out would not hurt me, as I do need the exercise. With that being said, I let my lawn mower do the work. I prefer to mulch mow my leaves instead of raking and stuffing them into a paper bag or composting.

The key to mulch mowing is to mow more frequently so that piles of leaves do not collect on the lawn. Then I simply run my mower over the leaves letting them be chopped and returned to the soil. I will practice this leaf disposal method as long as I see green grass behind the mower. Once the leave chips start piling up on the lawn it is time to start bagging and composting.

Spot Weed Control

Clover, dandelions and germinating chickweed and henbit seem to be having a wonderful fall. The great summer weather and ample fall moisture have been great for good germination. Now is a great time to mix up a little broadleaf herbicide and spot-spray those pesky weeds. Don’t worry about the freeze last week; these weeds will still be growing once the temperatures start to warm.

In the Patton garden I never use broadleaf herbicides in the springtime. The reason is drift. Lawn herbicides applied on a warm, windy spring day harm non-target trees and shrubs. This is one of the most common problems we see at the Extension Gardening Hotline every spring. Fall applications still drift, but the non-target plants are dormant or going dormant and less likely to be effected by the drift.

Spading the Garden

Soil preparation of the vegetable garden is best done in the fall so that it can naturally breakdown over winter. Come spring the soil is ready to be raked and planted for another year. I like to hand spade the garden and add a couple inches of organic matter for soil improvements. While this is work, I have found by doing a little at a time the job still gets done. After coming home from work I will spade until I say “that is enough.” Then I pick it back up on another day. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

There you have it, a few chores that have been accomplished in the garden. I hope this helps provide you a little inspiration to get out and enjoy what’s left of another season in the garden. Already on next week’s list: putting the containers away for the winter. Stay tuned.