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Know what to bother watering as fall approaches

When it’s hot and dry day after day, it is a good time to decide what, if anything, you really want to water.

In the spring, there were lots of small pots around Dirt Cottage because the rains supplemented my whatever-I-have-time-for watering schedule. It was fun to pinch off blooms and waste time fussing with the plants.

Now that we’re getting closer to fall, those blooms that delighted are getting a teensy bit tiresome. Instead of fussing over all of them, about half of the plants went to the compost bin in the backyard last weekend.

The big pots remain, simply because it takes less time to water one big pot than four little ones. Bigger containers also hold their moisture longer.

I still water the veggies that are producing, but their days are numbered. I might put in a second crop of peas and lettuce if the weather breaks, but not while we’re seeing 90s and little rain.

The lawn is getting a little crispy, but I’m tired of mowing. It gets no water from me.

Some of my neighbors have pulled out the sprinklers, but it really won’t hurt your lawn to go dry. It will simply go dormant.

I do give the flower and tree beds a good, deep soaking each week. I put the hose on trickle and give each area 45 minutes to an hour. Hint: Use a kitchen timer if you tend to be the sort who might leave the hose going all night.

If you can stand the heat, this is actually a good time to pull weeds. If they don’t come up with a good tug, give them a drink of water and then pull. If it’s too hot and sticky even for that, pull out the long handled clippers and just snip the plants off at the base. You probably won’t kill them, but it will make you feel better.

I usually succumb to the siren’s song of bright fall annuals at some point in September. I’ll start eyeing the big pots of chrysanthemums at stores, their come-hither blooms all but batting their eyelashes.

Then some weekend soon, I’ll go to a local nursery that grows them and plunk down a few dollars to doll up the porch. But not while we’re still seeing too many days in the 90s. Big, bold blossoms needs lots of water and, well, I’m just not in the mood.

Anne Gregory is a garden putterer, not a gardening expert, and writer and editor. Garden photos (JPEGs, please) and tips may be sent to (please put “The Dirt” in the subject line) or 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.