Magazine article Sunset

Mountain Checklist

Magazine article Sunset

Mountain Checklist

Article excerpt

PLANTING AND HARVEST

* Harvest crops. Cantaloupes are ready to pick when the skin is well netted and the fruit slips easily from the vine. Pick watermelons when tendrils near the fruit start to brown, and winter squash when the rind colors up and hardens. Pick cucumbers and summer squash any time: they're excellent when young and tender. Ripe kernels of corn should be milky inside - if the liquid is watery, the corn is immature; if pasty, the corn is past its prime. Harvest raspberries when the sun is high and berries are warm to the touch. If a light frost threatens, protect eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes under floating row covers.

* Plant lawns. Early fall is ideal for seeding a lawn or laying sod. Keep the turf well watered until cold weather stops its growth.

* Plant bulbs. Set out bulbs of crocus, daffodils, hyacinth, Iris reticulata, scilla, and tulips. To protect them from soil temperature fluctuations, plant large daffodil and tulip bulbs 10 to 12 inches deep; small bulbs 5 inches deep. If daffodils and tulips were crowded last spring, lift, divide, and replant them.

* Plant perennials. Set out perennials like campanula, candytuft, catmint, coreopsis, delphinium, dianthus, foxglove, gaillardia, geum, penstemon, phlox, salvia, and yarrow. Water them well. If the ground in your garden freezes hard every winter, spread organic mulch around plants to insulate the roots and keep the freezing soil from heaving plants out of the ground.

MAINTENANCE

* Clean the greenhouse. Scrub out seedbeds and flats with a weak solution of bleach and water. Then check and replace weather-stripping, broken glass, and torn plastic. Finally, check vents, filters, and heaters, replacing or repairing broken components before winter comes.

* Divide perennials. In all but the very highest elevations, lift and divide crowded clumps of bleeding heart, daylilies, hostas, peonies, and Shasta daisies. …

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