Let it Grow: Cooler temperatures challenge gardeners

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Cooler temperatures always bring out the real gardener in me. It&8217;s hard to break a sweat on a 75-degree day, but I try.

Some of the things that you&8217;ve put off all summer because of the sweltering heat can be done with ease right now.

It would be a good time to get out that old hoe and remove some of those weeds in your planting beds. While you&8217;re doing that you might want to have several small paper sacks and a pen with you. As you&8217;re weeding you can be looking for seeds to save for next year. Perhaps you have butterfly bushes or faded blooms on your hydrangeas. Go ahead and cut the old blooms off, place them in your paper bag and label the bags with your pen right away. Don&8217;t put this off like I did a few years ago.

Last week, I was rambling through some old boxes of stuff looking for some things to donate to Habitat for Humanity and found something that looked like tiny black needles. It took me a while but I finally found the source of these little things. As it turned out, they were Echinacea seeds that I had collected from some nursery stock over five years ago.

I&8217;m not sure if the seeds are even viable at this point and, because I didn&8217;t place them in a container and mark it, I have no idea what type or color they are. While you&8217;re putting the seeds in the bag, mark them! It also helps to put all of your dried seeds in one place so you can remember where they all are at planting time.

Cooler temps also lend an opportunity for other surprises in the garden. Snakes!

Sometimes, snakes will come out of their hibernation holes and sun themselves to store warmth for the evening.

All snakes are beneficial to our ecosystem and should be left alone. If you encounter a poisonous snake in your garden, try to make it go away by pushing it gently with your hoe. Make sure the snake is headed in the right direction though…away from you and your garden.

Of all the species of snakes that live here in Shelby County, there are only three genuses and six species of poisonous snakes. Be kind to them and let them kill off the rodents in your garden. They are only there to eat