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Summer is over – what do I do with my garden now?

To most people Labor Day weekend signifies the end of summer, time to get the yard ready for winter, pick the vegetables that have been growing all season and have one last barbecue. To all ...

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To most people Labor Day weekend signifies the end of summer, time to get the yard ready for winter, pick the vegetables that have been growing all season and have one last barbecue. To all of this, I say bull! Get motivated! Now is time to plant your fall crop, evaluate what worked and what didn't this year, and plan your gardening goals for next year.

Writing down your goals for next year is very important. If any of you are like me, you can't remember what you did yesterday, much less last year. List your likes and dislikes as well as your thoughts on other people's gardens. What did you like? What looked terrible? Every year I am able to rule out three or four plants just by seeing them in a neighbor's garden. This is also a great way for first-time gardeners to get an idea of plant size and presentation.

Now is also the time to think about tulips. Right now I'm wondering about how many more tulips I need to plant this year. Although I sprinkled dried blood meal every two weeks to keep squirrels away, I always end up loosing a handful to animals.

There are probably more than a million varieties of tulips. Try to pick both early and late varieties to ensure you have tulips throughout the entire season, which usually begins in April. I have a yellow and red combination in front of my house with black and purple bulbs lining the beds by the driveway. Plant your tulips in very deliberate bunches and rows, it creates a gorgeous look, especially if you pick colors that will stand out and accent your home. The most important thing to remember when planting is to face the part that is turning green, the stem, upward. I can't tell you how many people have told me their tulips never bloomed because they didn't realize that the stem had to be facing up towards to sunlight. To get the right depth, use a bulb planter.

Right now your vegetable garden should be in full bloom. Almost everyday you will be able to harvest something, whether it be a few tomatoes, an eggplant or cucumber. Keep the garden well weeded and watered, as Long Island is still averaging very warm, humid temperatures.

Keeping your current flower and vegetable garden in mind, as well as any changes you intend to make outside such as new lawn furniture, more flower pots or a deck, consider what you want next year.

The following is a list of questions that may help you determine what you need to do to prepare.

1. What did I absolutely love about my garden this year?

2. Out of the things that I loved, what do I want to use again?

3. What didn't work in my garden?

4. Is this something I can improve next year?

5. What did I admire most in a neighbor's garden this year?

6. Would any of these things work in my garden? If yes, what?

This list will provide you with the basic information necessary to help you create an even greater garden next year. Good Luck!!!

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at

See you next week! Enjoy your garden

Upcoming Meetings & Events

Long Island Horticulture Society
"Creating a Country Garden" - slide lecture
September 20, 8 p.m.
Cost: members: $20 a year
visitors and guests: $5, payable at
the door
For more information, please contact: Patricia Speciner,

The Cider House
Saturday, September 23 - Tuesday, October 31
Hick's Nursery
100 Jericho Tpke
For more information, please call: