COLUMN: Almanac's October snow forecast a call to action

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By Cheryl Steenerson

Will someone please quit winding the clock? Time is moving way too fast. It’s almost October, though you couldn’t much tell it by the weather we’re having now.

I brought out the Old Farmer’s Almanac to see what was forecast for October. On the plus side, it calls for 2.5 inches of rain. Rain showers, mixed with warm and sunny days, make up most of the month. One exciting note for the 21st through the 29th is snow showers. Kind of hard to imagine that right now.

October seems to be the time when we have four seasons in one month. Since anything is possible, time is running out to prepare your plants for winter. If you haven’t yet brought in those houseplants get cracking,

Houseplants that have spent the summer on the porch should be hosed off to make sure the insects stay outside. You may even want to re-pot a few to make sure that they have plenty of fertile soil to live off of during the winter.

Plants that stay outside, but need a little protection for winter, can have their trunks wrapped with burlap or a burlap fence to keep out the real cold. Lawn care during this time of year is supposed to be simple.

This is the time when we are supposed to aerate your lawn’s soil. All of our summer chores have packed down that soil. An aerator is a walk behind little machine that sends tiny spikes into the soil to let it breath again. You might want to wait until we get a little rain so the spikes will actually break the soil.

September’s high temperatures and lack of rain has pretty much killed my popcorn. The beans, though still blooming, are dieing of thirst. Well, I’ve had plenty of beans and tomatoes this season, so I can’t complain. I still have hundreds of green tomatoes, but I’m pulling them at the first sign of color to relieve the stress on the plant. It’s my sweet potatoes that are causing me the most disappointment.

You may remember that these are really old heirloom sweet potatoes. I’d never grown sweet potatoes. I planted a 10 feet by 15 feet plot of them and they flourished. What a beautiful ground cover they created. Then, the drought hit. Now, I’m waiting for the ground to become a little less concrete-like, before I dig them up. We’ll see what kind of harvest survives.

I’m also waiting to plant my garlic and more asparagus. Both should have been in by now, but I couldn’t get the soil broken up and I didn’t want to have to water so much. I’m really hoping Mother Nature will pull through for us so I can get them in the ground.

The cooler nights have been nice. I like to hang out on the porch with the critters to watch the night sky and listen to the sounds. It is now fully dark by the time I get home from work and I’ve noticed a new addition to the porch when I pull up.

I’m usually greeted by a cat or two, but lately Mr. Toad has taken up residence. He’s like a greeter at Walmart, watching everyone go by him. All three dogs and both cats have gotten used to him, and believe it or not they all like each other.

We all sit on the porch, within a 5-foot space. Yes, they have 17 acres of room, but they all want to be where I am, including Mr. Toad. What a picture we make. I never have a camera when I want it. Now, get out there and prepare for winter. We can only hope we get enough rain to help everything perk up before the really cold stuff hits. Until then, keep watering.

Happy growing!

Cheryl Steenerson is a gardening columnist for The Anderson News.