Dr. Dirt: Colorful leaves and tomatoes

INDIANAPOLIS - Sunday was a windy day, but everyone was either in front of their TV or in Lucas Oil Stadium awaiting the football game of the century.  Meanwhile, tree leaves were falling.

Yes, the fall parade of leaf color is here. The lawn mower can shred tree leaves and recycle them into the lawn.

Shredded leaves also make good compost material and mulch. Looking ahead a few days it is possible to see some frost. Green tomatoes can be picked and separated into three groups: grass green, milky green and ripening.

Place each group in a plastic bag and store them in the garage where they will slowly ripen over the next two months. The higher the temperature, the faster tomatoes ripen.  Of course, they will not have the same quality of vine ripened tomatoes, but they are tomatoes. 

The wind has eliminated most of the yellow dead needles from white pine trees.  Pine needles make great mulch. There is still time to plant pansies and flowering kale and cabbage plants. And, don't forget the spring flowering bulbs that need to go into the ground now for a spring flower show. There is still plenty of time to plant tulip bulbs. Box elder bugs along with stink bugs and lady bugs are still headed for houses looking for a place to spend the winter.

Caulk cracks and openings around the house to keep them out! Hit those broadleaf lawn weeds before the daily temperatures go below 50 degrees. Lawn weeds are doing very well at this time.

Persimmons are ripe and delicious in pudding and other goodies. Denny Smith has an old, but tasty persimmon recipe that he's willing to share, just send him an e-mail at denny@wibc.com.  I'm sure you will enjoy it! 

There is a pretty good black walnut crop this year. They are really good when added to brownies.

Happy Gardening,

Dr. Dirt

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