The final Meet a Master Gardener event of the year at the Aiken County Farmers Market will be held on Oct. 6, and it will be very special! We call it “Fall Education Day,” and there will be gardening events for everyone.


Fall has always been a great time to work in the garden. This month, we will be celebrating along with the Farmers Market “Fall Festival.”


The Master Gardeners will perform a number of demonstrations including potting soil growth comparisons, plant food comparisons, proper pot size growth demonstration, mole and vole control, rain gardens, composting, soil sampling, dividing perennials, pruning shrubs, year-round planters and propagation from stem cuttings. As usual, the Meet a Master Gardener information booth will be there to answer your immediate problems.


Joining us this month are the CSRA Blue Bird Society, Beekeepers, Camellia Society, the Orchid Society and CoCoRaHS. CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, nonprofit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow).


There will be three free seminars to help with your fall gardening – at 9 a.m., Aiken’s Camellias by Lee Poe and Jim Dickson; at 10 a.m., Pruning Shrubs and Trees by Sid Mullis and 11 a.m., Winter Lawn Care and Over-seeding by Bill Hayes.


Jim Dickson and Lee Poe are former presidents of the Camellia Society. Sid Mullis is the Richmond County Extension coordinator and writes regular lawn and garden articles for the Augusta Chronicle. The final speaker was chosen at random from the telephone book.


There will be free refreshments, a “free to a good home” table with a variety of garden related items and a door prize drawing every hour. Prizes have been donated by many local businesses including Aiken Farm Supply, Aiken Landscaping Supply, Argo Land Development, Birds & Butterflies, Carolina Eastern, Carolina Fresh Farms, Costa Layman Farms, Country Boy Farm Yard, Between the Edges, Mister’s Green Thumb Nursery, Nurseries Caroliniana, Palmetto Nursery, Shady Characters Nursery, True Value Hardware (Laurens) and Weeks Farm & Garden Supply.


The Farmers Market will offer a large variety of vendors, featuring the incomparable locally grown fresh produce, dairy products, meats, plants and herbs. Apples are also available from locally grown orchards. If you have never visited our great outdoor market, this is your chance to do so and also get answers about your gardening problems.


In former articles, I’ve mentioned that if you had just one gardening book to refer to, it should be the Gardening Almanac for Aiken and Vicinity.” This Master Gardener almanac was written for newcomers and native residents alike. It includes gardening information for areas within 75 miles of Aiken and removes all of the mysteries of how to grow great lawns and gardens. This year’s edition, the sixth, has just a limited number of copies left. They will be available at the Farmers Market on Oct. 6.


Our next Lunchbox Lecture will be held at noon on Oct. 15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 2724 Whiskey Road. Katie Giacalone will teach us her gardening techniques with a presentation entitled “Is Your Yard a Carolina Yard?” Learn how to apply environmentally friendly gardening techniques to create an attractive, healthy yard.


In the final lecture of this year’s Lunch Box Series, you will learn how to have a yard that meets your needs, enhances your neighborhood and helps protect South Carolina’s natural beauty and natural resources. A Carolina Yard also reduces the costs and time spent on maintenance while protecting local waterways. Find out if your yard measures up!


As the hot weather cools to a reasonable temperature for humans to return to the outdoors, there are still garden chores to perform. It’s time to put down that pre-emergence herbicide to control winter weeds. The poa annua will be germinating shortly, and the wild garlic and onion will follow shortly after. The winter broadleaf varieties will show up later in December and pester us until spring. We know that we can’t get all of them but 65 to 70 percent is still worthwhile. For Bermuda and zoysia lawns use any of the available products listed for winter annual weeds. For centipede and St. Augustine lawns, we don’t have the same products available. Some of these herbicide types (DNA) can damage the stolon roots which are above ground. Use the time-tested atrazine, siduron or isoxaben for these two turf grasses.


See you at the Farmers Market on Oct. 6!


Bill Hayes has been in Aiken since 1982 after moving from Chicago, Ill. He was in the chemical process industry for more than 40 years before retiring in 1999.