It’s been an unusual summer for us, for weeks drier and hotter than usual. Now is a good time to start checking out our gardens to see what needs to be done. It’s time to remove weeds as well as plants that haven’t developed well or have passed their flowering period.

irrigation

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Soak your garden beds deeply, especially in full sun. Young and old trees need it more, as do freshly transplanted plants.

weed

Not only are weeds unsightly, they steal water, nutrients, and light. Remove weeds and cover beds with fresh mulch. (You can lay down paper or cardboard and mulch over it to prevent weeds.)

As you weed, observe what to do in each planting area. If you have weeds in a driveway or gravel, you can “solarize” by putting clear plastic sheets on top to “boil” the weeds.

trees and shrubs

No more fertilizer until next spring. They will harden before winter.

Especially deeply water the elders and the youngest. Look for dead, damaged, diseased wood and suction cups and prune them.

Vegetables and herbs

If this has given you poor results, you should send in a soil sample. Go to the soil research lab website (www.extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden), the Duluth expansion office (218-733-2870), or Virginia (218-749-7120) for the required form .

Harvest your garlic and let it harden in an airy, sheltered place. Order garlic bulbs for planting in late September or early October.

When the land is harvested, improve the soil with compost and work it into the soil. Mulch the soil surface with straw (make a thick layer), seedless hay or newspaper and lay the soil on top to keep it in place.

Mulch stimulates natural growing conditions, maintains soil moisture and prevents weeds from growing.

Rotate your crops. Planting plants in different garden locations each year prevents the nutrient deficiency and breaks the cycles of pests and diseases so that the garden soil remains healthy.

You can freeze or dry many herbs, such as parsley, rosemary, and chives. They can also be made into pesto that can be frozen.

Flower gardens

Daylilies can be divided and transplanted when they have completed their flowering cycle.

Peonies can be shared in late August through September if needed. Plant the “eyes” no deeper than 1 to 2 inches below the surface of the soil.

Order your flower bulbs for fall planting. Daffodils are usually successful because rodents and other pests avoid them. There are also many types.

Houseplants

It’s a good time to check out your houseplants. If, like mine, they were “vacationing” outdoors, they probably need some fresh soil. If they don’t need to be repotted, simply remove the top two inches of soil and apply fresh potting soil. Go to a shaded place for at least five days, then bring them inside. This prevents leaves from falling as they get used to less light.

race

This is the perfect time for lawn renovation, planting, and reseeding.

Hopefully we have a nice autumn with cooler temperatures and much-needed rain – but not too much. We are so happy to have this change of seasons. Nature always brings surprises and we always have something growing!

Donna Tini is a master gardener who lives on Long Lake near Eveleth. She is retired but retains the title of professional grandmother. She enjoys her book club, does handicrafts, bakes and of course in the garden in the change of seasons. She is a new home and garden columnist whose column is currently scheduled to appear on the third Friday of each month.