September 18, 2014

Technically, we are in our Indian summer. We’ve had our first, very light, frost. The days are holding warm but that blush of fall color is spreading through the city. Pumpkins are just starting to turn color. Corn stalks are drying out. Before we know it, our trees will be afire with carmine and gold.

If fog moves in on little cat feet (thank you, Carl Sandberg) I’d say fall comes in like a big dog, barking and wagging its tail.

We enjoyed visiting the Spokane Interstate Fair last Sunday. We saw photos and llamas and goats and rabbits. But of course I was most interested in the flowers. I noticed quite a lot of competition in sunflowers and snapdragons, but the field is wide open for other blossoms. I’ve never entered the county fair, but now I’m pondering my options for next year. Wouldn’t it be great if I could have Award Winning coneflowers or blue flax?

Gardeners across Washington State are invited to take part in a survey of stink bugs this fall. One species, the Brown Marmorated, is becoming an agricultural pest. WSU researchers need to collect data on where these bugs are and also what other species of stink bugs are distributed around the state. If you capture a stink bug, freeze it for at least 24 hours and mail it in a sturdy container such as an old pill bottle. Include details on where you captured it, the date, and what plant(s) it was on. Samples can be dropped off at a local Master Gardener office or mailed to Mike Bush, Extension Entomologist, 2403 S. 18th St, Suite 100, Union Gap, WA 98903.

I’m happy to say that my transplants all appear to be bearing up. The new look in Bed 6 is taking shape. Yet, I’ve begun the slightly sad process of cutting things back. The blackberries have had their first trim. The kale has come out. I have time yet to enjoy my beautiful sunflowers, but alas, the end is in sight.

My green beans are coming in. I’ve frozen several containers. The next big batch is for my food bank. And once my pumpkins are showing a clearer color, I’ll move them to my front porch to continue ripening.

Indoor Forest
I had previously transplanted an oregano seedling inside, but it didn’t survive my summer vacation. I’m trying it again with a larger plant. Also, I soon will be bringing my bay laurel plant inside for the winter.

I heard an unfamiliar bird call in my yard this week, a loud rising note that carried distinct tones of anxiety. Looking around, I saw a single goldfinch among the sunflowers. Usually they move in small groups and chatter constantly. This one must have been calling out, trying to get back with its flock.

Until next week, may you enjoy the warm afternoons of autumn.


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