Fall Gardening Season

The fall gardening season is a time for reading up on horticultural topics and maintenance tasks like raspberry pruning.

| September/October 1980

Autumn arrives in a golden haze. After still-hot September days, feel the cool of fall nights, hinting of the approaching cold. Heft the weight of a pear in your palm, bite a crisp apple and taste the tart juice, and—as tendrils of wood smoke embroider the dusk—gather in the garden's bounty ... your well-earned reward for the toil of the summer past, your protective talisman against the coming winter's dark chill.

News for the Tropics  

All too often, the needs and interests of folks who live in zones of unusual temperature and weather—such as the tropics—are neglected. Well, here's a treat for all of our friends in semitropical climates: There are several organizations—and one publication—that cater to your special interests! One of the best sources of "down south" information is Marian Van Atta's newsletter Living Off the Land.

Each issue features an article on the culture of a particular tropical fruit or vegetable—complete with recipes—as well as shorter pieces, letters to the editor, a seed exchange, and much more. Growers of tropical fruits and vegetables (and that can include northerners who are fortunate enough to have greenhouses) may also wish to associate with one of the clubs devoted to the exchange of information about these delicacies. Contact the California Rare Fruit Growers, the Rare Fruit Council International, or the Southern Fruit Council.

It's The Berries

Autumn is, among other things, raspberry pruning time. Cut back the bearing canes of both the black- and red-fruited plants as soon as all the berries have been picked  to eliminate vegetable matter on which diseases can overwinter.

Regular dormant pruning—for the purpose of thinning your patch—can also be done after leaf fall ... although some supplementary cutting (of winter-killed canes) may still be needed come early spring. Simply trim the laterals back to 6-12 inches ... and cut any canes that have not been pinched back to a 30-inch length. Remember that sanitation in the berry patch is the best defense against disease ... and the best guarantee of loads of succulent fruit next year!

The Gardener's Bookshelf  

We've just had a chance to inspect one of those "can't do without" gardening books. The volume was Park's Success With Seeds by Ann Reilly, and we found it very impressive! Within its 368 pages are descriptions of over 500 varieties of flowers and vegetables—from the familiar to the exotic—with detailed instructions for growing the plants from seed and cultural directions for keeping them healthy. You'll find both Latin and common names, hardiness zones, suggestions for the use of various plants in landscaping, and—especially useful—pictures of the mature flora and of their seedlings ... a feature which should help you avoid weeding mistakes! A sound introductory text covers the intricacies of raising plants from seed. The book is a whale of a buy from the George W. Park Seed Company.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!