This past weekend was the first official day of fall—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 the night will be longer than the hours of daylight every day. Right now, our day length is right about 12 hours. On 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…).
My houseplants have been fat and happy this summer, but they will need to be brought in sometime during the next three or four weeks, so now is when I begin getting ready for that. The first thing I’ll do is move all my sun-lovers to shady spots so they can get used to the lower light levels they’ll encounter indoors. They’ll adjust much easier outside to less light while they still have Mother Natures’ humidity and fresh breezes to comfort them.
I’ll begin doing a visual check of all my plants to make sure I’m not bringing in any unwanted visitors. Scale, mealy bug, spider mites can become much worse indoors where there are no natural predators so treat them now, if necessary. Horticultural oil is an excellent organic spray.
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.
Outdoors, I’m beginning to cut back any tired, dying foliage on some of my perennials. If the foliage looks good, I’ll leave it a little longer. Speaking of cutting things back, this fall, when I’m ready to put my gardening tools away, I’m going to bring them in to our Farmers Market (every Thursday from 10 until 2) to Sharp Again to have my pruners, loppers, and lawn mower blades sharpened so when I pull them out next spring, they’re ready to go.
If you save the seeds from some of your summer-blooming annuals, now is the time to start collecting seed heads. I air-dry them for a few days, then put into a zippered plastic bag.
Right now I’m deciding where to tuck in some 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 going to tuck some more crocus in the lawn. As much as I can’t stand the cold gray winter days, I love those little early-blooming reminders that spring is on the way. And, of course, as the deer tour my yard every spring, to see what looks good, I have to tuck in some more deer-proof alliums and daffodils to remind them to look elsewhere!
And, I’m going to make time to buy a few more fall decorations before the Christmas stuff shows up—probably next week!