The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

REMEMBERING THE LORE OF SAINT MATTHEW’S DAY: We celebrate Saint Matthew’s Day on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 and this is officially when autumn begins, although the first full day of autumn will be September 22. The lore of Saint Matthew’s Day says that we can expect the dews and rains to become colder after his special day. This makes good common sense because in doing the match, it will be the arrival of the autumn equinox!

THE BRIGHT HARVEST MOON OF SEPTEMBER TONIGHT: The brightest moon of the year will rise on the eastern horizon tonight after sunset. This annual moon occurs each September and is the full moon closest to the arrival of autumn or shortly thereafter. The few nights before and after the harvest moon are the brightest of the year. Before the days of John Deere and International Harvester harvest machinery with headlights, air conditioners, heaters and stereos, the Harvest Moon allowed farmers to have extra light to harvest crops at night.

COUNTY FAIR TIME IN CAROLINA: Mid-September is the season of the larger count fairs in this northwestern North Carolina area. These fairs are great entertainment values for every member of the family. There is plenty of fun at every county fair where thrilling rides for every age group are spinning, twisting, turning and flying. Fairs offer plenty of free entertainment in the form of agricultural exhibits as well as domestic exhibits, pig races, stage shows, fireworks, fried turkey legs, corn dogs, donut hamburgers, elephant ears, fried Snicker bars and Twinkies and something new in weird foods every year. Flower exhibits are also popular. Some of the larger fairs in our area are the Cabarrus County Fair in Concord, Davidson County Fair in Lexington, Alamance County Fair in Burlington, Central Carolina Fair in Greensboro, Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem and N.C. State Fair in Raleigh. For a real treat you can board Amtrak in Lexington for a day rail trip to the N.C. State Fair.

LAST CHANCE TO PLANT A ROW OF TURNIPS: As mid-September arrives, this is your last opportunity to sow a row of purple top turnips, the cooler nights of

September will promote quick growth and you can harvest turnips by Thanksgiving. Turnip seeds are small and a few go a long way. Don’t sow them thick so that they will have plenty of space to develop turnips.

PLANTING DAFFODILS FOR SPRING BEAUTY: Daffodils are a simple bulb to plant now for pretty, cheerful, yellow flowers in early spring. An easy way to plant them is to dig a trench about 10-inches deep and place the freshly dug up soil in a bucket or wheelbarrow. Place the bulbs about four to five inches apart with root end downwards. After placing the bulbs, cover them with a layer of potting medium and then cover with the remaining soil in the bucket or wheelbarrow. The bulb depth should be four times the height of the bulbs. No fertilizer is needed when planting the bulbs because the bulb itself has enough nutrients in it for the first season of growth. Next year after the daffodils bloom, leave the foliage for six weeks or until the foliage turns yellow and wilts. This adds sunshine and nutrients to provide for next seasons bulbs.

RECYCLING POTTING SOIL FOR AUTUMN ANNUALS: You can now plant pansies, oriental cabbage, kale and mums for autumn color. The soil in the containers where your summer annuals grew can be recycled and used for autumn annuals by adding a 50-percent mixture of new medium to the old and mixing it up in the containers.

THE SPLENDOR OF A BEAUTIFUL SEPTEMBER: As the middle of September sneaks upon us, we welcome the cooler evening sand what they offer us during this comfortable time of year.

THE NIGHT OF SEPTEMBER’S HARVEST MOON: Tonight will be a bright night in Carolina if the sky remains clear because it is the night of the beautiful harvest moon. This is a bright moon because of less humidity in the air. For many years before technology-loaded John Deere’s with lights on the front, top and rear; with stereos, heat and air-conditioning; farmers used the light of this moon to finish their harvests late into the night. We remember a harvest moon shining on the coastal loamy soil of eastern North Carolina and on the clay soil of the Piedmont. Shine on, Shine on, Harvest moon on me and my gal.

THE TENT CATERPILLARS HAVE HAD THEIR HEYDAY: We mentioned earlier this month about the invasion of tent caterpillars and our hope that they would not be as bad as last year. We regret that they seem to be even worse this summer. They seemed to attack trees in yards last year but this year they have infested tender leaves on trees even in the wooded areas. They cover whole trees with their creepy web-like nets. It’s impossible to get them from tops of trees. They make trees look bad but they don’t seem to damage trees.

STILL TIME TO PLANT GREENS AND ONION SETS: The cool nights at the middle of the month of September means that onion sets and greens will thrive and grow very quickly, but they do need to be planted soon to allow time for an abundant harvest late into fall and even into winter if protected with a layer of leaves.

COLOR IS COMING TO THE MAPLES AND DOGWOODS: Autumn arrives next week and the leaves on the maples are turning golden as well as dogwood leaves are turning deep red. The air on the porch is comfortable making the crickets sound off with loud chirps. Most people are looking forward to the arrival of autumn and the lower temperatures.

Ray Baird

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