Start preparing your landscape for a cold to very cold winter. Record low temperatures have been recorded recently throughout the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Also, the Ulawun volcano
of Papua New Guinea erupted in early August sending volcanic ash into
the stratosphere. Those high elevation particles can block the sun's
energy for up to three years, exacerbating the prevailing cooling trend.
Week 1 -
Sow Swiss Chard now. This
beet cousin is a potentially perennial vegetable.
Sow Poppies now in sunny,
well-drained sites to enjoy their beautiful spring blooms.
Houseplants which spent the
summer outdoors should be acclimated gradually to lower light intensities.
Use anti-transpirants to minimize leaf-drop when they are returned indoors
before a freeze.
Plant Strawberries in full
sun, in raised beds filled with sandy, acidic materials. Bare-root plants
are a bargain, but tricky.
Plant Garlic cloves in very
well-drained sites in full sun.
Plant perennial cultivars
of Daffodils, but never 'King Alfred', immediately.
Week 2 -
Fertilize Bermuda and St.
Augustine lawns with a 3-1-2 ratio, winterizing fertilizer and water it
Time for final application
of pyrethroid granules to control insects in the landscape.
Have floating row cover,
old blankets, tarps, etc. available to protect vegetable garden
in case an early freeze occurs. Polyethylene plastic, by itself,
is useless, with no insulative properties.
Transplant hardy annuals
like Texas Bluebonnet, Ornamental Kale, Snapdragon, Johnny-Jump-Up, Pansy,
Pinks and Phlox.
Sow: Beets, Collards, Leaf
Lettuce and Parsley in sunny plots.
Week 3 -
Time to move tropical plants
back into the house or greenhouse. Apply insecticidal drenches to remove
pests a few days before pots are brought inside.
Sow seeds of Texas Grano
1015y ('Texas Supersweet') onions in shallow containers of soil-less, well-drained
potting medium. Protect from severe cold and plant in ground in early February,
Plant Ranunculus in the garden
or in pots which will be over-wintered in a coldframe or cool greenhouse.
Week 4 -
Deeply mulch subtropical
perennials like Chilean Jasmine, China Doll, Firebush, Firecracker Bush,
Pride-of-Barbados, Plumbago and Poinsettia.
Start Freesia and Paperwhite
Narcissus in pots. Keep them cool but protected from freezing.
Defoliate young specimens
of Indian-named hybrid Crepe Myrtles if they are not showing colorful fall