Autumn at last? – 10/4/2019

The fourth day of October and the first day in forever that it will finally be less than 90f (32+c) during the heat of the day. The last time this area hit 90 on October 1 was the October before Pearl Harbor. And though we have had two brief showers this week, it is still bone dry with full outdoor burn bans in effect. It has been hot, dry, and brittle here while other parts of our country have experienced record rain falls and flooding, and a record snowfall.

Our average first frost date is October 10. It has happened only once that early since I have lived here and I am certain it is going to be well after that this year. It has been too hot to put the garden to bed for the winter and too early to plant the garlic and potato onions that need to wait for much cooler weather.

Like in past years, I had put a Jade plant, a Dracena, and a hanging spider plant on the front, north facing porch for the summer.

The back of the house faces south so the kitchen and both baths have south facing windows that hold 2 small philodendron, three holiday cacti, an aloe, and a ponytail palm cluster.

Last winter, I bought the tiny succulent in the nobby glass candle holder in the above picture and this spring, I divided the aloe. Then fell prey to the outdoor display at the grocer of a concrete looking pot of succulents, realized that two tiny hen and chicks had survived the winter outdoors, was gifted a most gorgeous succulent dish garden in a hand thrown bowl, and bought a yellow flowering Kalanchoe. The second aloe pot was moved to the porch, the purchased and gifted succulents added to the same table, though the Kalanchoe was re-potted from the tacky plastic pot it came in to a ceramic one and a matching pot purchased to plant the hen and chicks.

The spider plant “babies” were potted in a second hanging pot and hung on the opposite side of the entry way and then a friend gifted me a different variety of already rooted “babies” so I added them to the new pot. Now I have two spider plants that will need to come inside when frost threatens. The jade plant and the Dracena have places that they overwinter indoors, but now there are succulents to bring in as well.

The area in front of the south facing doors to the back deck is where the big guy follows the sun on cool days. He has already taken to lying there for short periods of time now that the sun is beginning to move to the south of the house during the day and casting light in his spot. It gets too hot now and he doesn’t stay there long, but that is his spot.

The corner in front of the hutch, in “his spot” is where the jade usually goes, but that is the door that opens onto the deck that wasn’t usable for two years until this spring, so I can’t put the succulents there.

A some shuffling in my craft area, along with a bit of decluttering this summer cleared a small folding bookshelf that is about the same width as the kitchen cabinets on the opposite side of the french doors, so it was placed against the cabinet in front of the semi-fixed side of the doors. Though there is no frost in our near future, it is supposed to dip into the lower 40’s f (5 to 6c) at night later this week. The spider plants can withstand that, but I didn’t want to risk the succulents and Dracena, all tropical plants, so each pot was brought in, sprayed down with a water spray to rid them of stink bugs and spiders, thoroughly watered and put in their over winter spots.

In that spot, they will be warm, get sun for about half the day, and be where I can monitor the plants for mites and scale, a problem that the spider plants and aloe seem to suffer in the winter indoors. There are hanging hooks in the utility room window that will get the spider plants later. I will trim back any damaged foliage, most of the longer “babies,” spray them with a very strong stream of water outdoors before they are brought in and hung in the windows. I love my houseplants as much as my gardens.

Maybe with the cooler days, the spent plants in the garden can be trimmed back or pulled, the asparagus tops cut to the ground and mulched, and the bed for the garlic and onions prepared for planting in late November. I will continue to harvest peppers and beans as long as they provide and will bring in the pumpkins once I can find them in the vines, probably not until a frost kills back the growth.

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