Kevin Twomey, the former owner of T & T Seeds, returns to talk about what to do in fall.

Kevin not only sold seeds and plants for several decades, but he gardens personally and has a first-hand knowledge of what goes on in the soil. He talks about the time to harvest root vegetables and how to preserve herbs over winter. Temperamental dill (it either won’t go away or won’t grow at all) likes it dry with full sunlight he says, but he has even grown it in a container. You can root basis easily in some water and keep on harvesting or freeze the leaves for use later in the season.

We then turn to houseplants and what they need to stay healthy until next spring. Right now, most houseplants need a rest. Water sparingly and don’t fertilize until February when you can increase the water. These dark days ahead make it impossible for the plants to use the fertilizer and salts will just build up in the container. Remember to move your plants if they seem unhappy. They may need less or more light and will let your know their preference by their reaction.

Yellow leaves often mean overwatering. Check the soil before pouring on the water – you might just be drowning the plant, which needs oxygen around its roots as well as moisture to thrive. Soggy soil is not breathable.

Dig up summer bulbs such as dahlia, gladiolas and canna. Shake of the soil, let them dry off in the open air and then pack them loosely in peat moss. Store in a cool place (5 to 10 C is best, but they will survive if a little warmer, although they may begin to sprout early). This is also the time to deprive poinsettias of light for 12 hours a day over the next six week. Even a garbage bag cover every night will work if you don’t have a dark place to let them hide out.

Next year is the Year of the Garden and the colour of choice to help celebrate is red. Try petunias, celosia, salvia, geraniums . . . oh, yes, geraniums. You can story them over winter with dry roots or cuttings or just tick the pot away. Don’t water.

But DO water outdoor perennials, shrubs and trees this fall. They have been suffering drought and will need help to get through the winter.