September 23 is the Autumnal Equinox. The Autumnal Equinox occurs when the sun is directly in line with the equator. On this day, the day and the night are of equal length.
From now until the Winter Solstice on December 21, the hours of dark will be longer than the hours of daylight every day. Right now, our day length is about 12 hours. On December 21, the Winter Solstice, the day length will only be about 9 and a half hours. By contrast, on the Summer Solstice, next June, our day length will be a little over 13 and three-quarter hours. (Golly, I miss summer already…)
Here’s the First Thing to Do
My houseplants will need to be brought in sometime during the next few weeks so what I’ll do now is move all my sun-lovers to shady spots outside so they can get used to the lower light levels they’ll encounter indoors. They’ll adjust much easier to less light outside while they still have Mother Nature’s humidity and fresh breezes.
I’ll do a visual check of all my plants to ensure I’m not bringing in any unwanted pests. Scale, mealybug, spider mites can become much worse indoors where there are no natural predators so treat them now, if necessary. Horticultural oils or Neem oils are good organic sprays. You can read Doug’s blog last week for more information on bringing your plants in.
Now is NOT a good time to repot, by the way. It’s hard enough for a plant to adjust to the hot, dry air and lower light of indoors without giving them a new pot to adjust to, as well.
A Few Things to do Outside
Outdoors, I’ll cut back tired dying foliage on some of my perennials—if the foliage looks good, I’ll leave it alone. I won’t do any pruning of outdoor trees or shrubs, however. Speaking of cutting things back, this fall when I’m ready to put my gardening tools away, I’m going to clean them, then bring them in to give to Sharp Again to have my pruners, loppers, and lawnmower blades sharpened so when I pull them out next spring, they’re ready to go. Sharp Again is here the second Sunday of every month—check our website for details. They also do scissors and kitchen knives.
If you save the seeds from some of your summer-blooming annuals like marigolds or zinnias, now is the time to start collecting seed heads. I air-dry them for a few days, then put them into a zippered plastic bag.
This is a great time to decide where I’ll plant more spring-blooming bulbs. Even though I don’t want to plant them before mid-October, the selection is great now so I’m going to get mine before they start selling out.
I’m also going to go through my vegetable garden and begin pulling up the foliage on the spent plants. It’s best to keep weeds and debris clear of the garden, as they can give insects a place to lay eggs or host diseases just waiting to attack next summer’s veggies. I have some broccoli and kale plants ready to tuck in—since they’re not prone to the same problems that summer veggies are.
And, I’m going to make time to go buy a few more fall decorations before the Christmas stuff shows up—probably next week!