Monthly task lists help to grow and maintain your gardens, indoors and out.
Scan these tips from gardening expert, Melinda Myers, and follow those that apply to your particular landscape to help increase your success while making gardening easier, less stressful and fun.
• Continue removing and recycling fall leaves from groundcover and planting beds. Large leaves mat down and trap moisture increasing the risk of disease and winter dieback.
• Gather and save left over seeds for next year's garden. Place in an airtight container and store in a consistently cool place like the refrigerator.
• Empty and store annual, glazed and terra cotta containers for winter. Clean pots now an you'll save time during the busy planting season next spring.
• Collect, store and clean garden tools. Organize now for a seamless start to next season.
• Gather liquid fertilizers and pesticides from both sheds and unheated garages. Inventory and store these and other pesticides in a secure location away for pets and children. Keep liquids out of direct sun and in a frost-free location. Move granules to a secure, dry space for storage.
• Continue to water new plantings and evergreens as needed until the ground freezes. Then drain and store your garden hoses for winter. Proper winter storage can help extend their life.
• Purchase a good snow shovel and plant-friendly de-icing salt. Removing the snow before salting saves you money and reduces salt damage to the lawn and nearby landscape.
• Keep planting spring flowering bulbs until the ground freezes.
• Purchase a few extra spring flowering bulbs for forcing this winter. They'll need 15 weeks of 35 to 45 degree temperatures. Use forced bulbs to brighten your indoor decor or outside in window boxes, on the patio or front steps.
• Leave pest-free perennials, especially those subject to winter kill, standing for winter. This increases winter hardiness, provides food and shelter for birds and beneficial insects and adds beauty to your winter landscape.
• Leave the stems intact or place markers by butterfly weed, balloon flower and other late emerging perennials. Or plant bulbs next to these perennials to mark their location and prevent accidental damage in the spring.
• Mulch borderline hardy perennials and bulbs after the ground freezes. This is usually after a week of freezing temperatures. Cover the plantings with evergreen boughs or straw for added insulation and to prevent frost heaving that occurs when soil alternately freezes and thaws over winter.
• Consider planting an indoor herb or vegetable garden. leafy crops like lettuce and spinach and root crops like radishes as well as many herbs will survive most indoor growing conditions.
• Cut fall-bearing raspberries to the ground. This eliminates the summer crop, but encourages a larger and earlier fall crop next year.
• Wait until after a week of freezing temperatures to protect non-hardy (grafted roses) for winter. Mulching and covering too early can lead to heat buildup, disease problems and death of plants.
• Start applying repellents to plantings that are favored by deer and rabbits before feeding begins. Reapply after heavy rains or as specified on the label directions.
• Prevent snow load damage on arborvitae and upright junipers. Wrap with bird netting or loosely tie stems together with strips of cloth.
• Install wind, sun and salt screens. Burlap, weed barrier fabrics or other barriers can protect new plantings and sensitive plants from winter damage.
• Continue cutting the grass as long as it grows. Shred leaves as you mow and leave them on the lawn adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil. As long as you can see the grass blades through the leaf pieces, the lawn will be fine.
• There is still time to make your last fall application of lawn fertilizer. Apply an organic nitrogen fertilizer in early November before the ground freezes and snow begins to fall.
• Wrap holiday plants in paper and plastic sleeves when transporting them from the garden center to your home or from your home to a friend's house. Warm the car first and never leave the plants sit in a cold car where they can be damaged or killed.
• Watch for white flies, aphids, mites and any other insects that may have moved indoors on your plants. These pests suck out plant juices, causing the leaves to yellow and eventually brown.
• Check houseplants for salt buildup. This appears as a crusty, white substance on the soil surface or as white stains on clay pots. Scrape off the crusty salt buildup on the soil then leach the soil by watering thoroughly. Wait 20 minutes and water thoroughly again. This helps dilute and wash the salts out of the soil.
Written by gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s monthly gardening tips with you!