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Monthly gardening reminders

Posted by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:19 PM
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by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:19 PM
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michiganmom116
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Gardening tasks and projects for January

Because the world has such a multitude of microclimates, it would be impossible for me to create a list of gardening tasks that would cover everyone. Therefore I am writing this monthly list based on general weather patterns for the northern United States. Much of the information may also be useful for other areas of the world in coming months.
Snow on holly

Please feed the birds and other small creatures which may not be able to find food due to snow on the ground or other causes. For only a few dollars you can feed an enormous number of birds.
If there is snow on the ground and you don't have a feeder, a simple piece of plywood, a scrap of carpet or even cardboard will create a very good feeding area. It's easy to clean it off turn it over if it happens to get covered by a fresh snowfall.
You don't have to be a bird watcher to enjoy the feeling that you get when you've helped out one of God's creatures.

We had a few warm days recently, and some of my bulbs got the foolish idea that spring was near. Probably not a good idea since more icy weather is almost sure to come.
Add a little compost and a thick layer of mulch to protect the tender new growth. This is an excellent use for the branches of your discarded Christmas tree.

In the event of snow, be sure to shake or brush off the white stuff from the branches of your evergreens and shrubs. The light fluffy snow poses no real threat, but if it should become wet and frozen, the weight dramatically increases. Branches are more brittle when the plants are dormant, and the weight of the snow may snap them off.

Dormant spraying of fruit trees, Cotoneaster, Dogwoods, etc. should be done this month.

It's a good time to prune most of your deciduous trees and shrubs.

Forsythia, Jasmine and Quince sprays can be cut and brought into the house now for forcing. The warmth in the home will bring some early bloom to your room.

Fireplace ashes should be saved to use a fertilizer for your Iris and other alkaline soil plants.

If the ground is workable at all (not frozen and not too wet), now is an excellent time to turn the soil. Not only will this expose insect eggs to the effects of winter and hungry birds, the freezing will help to break apart heavy clods of dirt.

Don't forget your house plants! Dust on the foliage can clog the leaf pores, so clean them up a little with a damp cloth, or a quick shower under the tap. Actively growing plants will benefit from a shot of liquid plant food. On very cold nights, it is a good time to close the curtains or blinds between the window and your house plants.
Make certain that your plants have sufficient humidity, by setting them on a tray filled with clean pebbles, and a little water, or by simply setting a cup of water nearby.

You can force Hyacinth, Paper white Narcissus, and Lily of the valley bulbs into bloom indoors, in a shallow bowl of water, or in pots this month. If you can't have spring yet.... fake it!

Keep a close eye open for insects on your house plants. If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse, be sure to check those plants carefully too.

Extra time this month might well be spent getting the garden tools ready for spring. Sharpen and oil tools such as shovels, shears, mowers and the like.
Power tools such as weedeaters and power mowers may benefit from a good tune-up.
Could the wheelbarrow use a fresh coat of paint?

It's not to early to begin to think of a strategy for new spring plantings. You might want to create a small map of your garden, and use it as a guide for ordering plants and seeds from the catalogs which will be arriving in the mail soon.


Hmmmmm..... so you thought there was nothing to do in the garden this month.....


michiganmom116
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:38 PM

The tasks and garden chores of February

January 28 ,1999
Even though it may still be cold, damp and miserable outdoors, an occasional dose of sunshine could certainly put the gardening bug into you. With a little luck, Mother Nature will send a few blossoms your way this month. We are now at a time when we can no longer put off those garden projects, waiting for a nice day...... Don't be caught off guard though, winter is far from being over! If exceptionally cold weather is forecast, provide protection to early flowering or tender plants by covering them with some type of cloth material. Remove the covering as soon as the weather moderates again.
Lonely Little Mushroom
Shrubs and trees

Deciduous shrubs and trees are still dormant enough to transplant this month, once the buds have begun to swell, it will be to late.
Click these links for information on transplanting azaleas or moving specimen plants.

Trees which weren't fed last fall should be deep fed by punching a series of 1-2 inch holes two feet apart around the drip line and filled with an appropriate food. A mulch of well composted manure is also an excellent treat for your tree.

Mid to late February is the time to fertilize shrubs and evergreens. Use an acid type rhododendron fertilizer to feed evergreens, conifers, broad leaf evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.
Use an all-purpose fertilizer to feed roses and other deciduous trees and shrubs. If you use dry type fertilizers, be sure to water it in thoroughly.

Prune your summer flowering shrubs now but be aware that spring bloomers have already produced their buds last fall, and pruning them now will result in the loss of flowers. Forsythia, quince, spirea and other early spring flowering shrubs should be pruned a little later, after they have finished flowering.
Pruning to improve the shape of the plant, as well as to open up the center of the plant to good air circulation and sun exposure. Always start your pruning by removing all dead, decayed or broken branches.
Click these links for information on pruning roses or general procedures.

It's a good time to stroll around and trim back any branches that were damaged by the ravages of winter.

If you haven't yet applied your dormant fruit spray, DO IT NOW!!

Perennials, annuals, and bulbs

Plants which may have been pushed out of the ground by frost heave should be pressed firmly back into place.

Plant daylilies, bleeding hearts, and plantain lilies this month.

Deciduous vines such as honeysuckle should be pruned and shaped.

Most perennials may be divided and moved up until they begin to show new growth.

Check your stored plants such as fuschias and geraniums, and if they are shriveled water them lightly.

Summer flowering bulbs may try to start into growth if they are subjected to heat. They should be kept very dry, and stored at 45 degrees F. If they are shriveling, put them into slightly damp peat moss, but keep them cool!

If you plan to grow lobelia, ageratum, verbena, petunia, vinca, or other slowing plants from scratch, the seeds should be started indoors in the later part of the month. For more information see growing plants from seeds.

Climbing roses should be thinned out to get rid of last years tangled growth.

Fruits and veggies

Rhubarb, horseradish, asparagus and artichokes can be planted this month.

Kiwis and grapes must be pruned by Valentines day to prevent sap 'bleeding'.

Strawberries can be planted as soon as they become available.

Cane fruits (raspberries and blackberries), with the exception of everbearers should have all the canes which produced fruit last year removed.

If you grow currants, remove all trunks which are over 3 years old.

The vegetable garden should get its first tilling (if weather permits) to allow the weather to aid you in breaking up the dirt clods. Exposed weeds and seeds hopefully will perish. See Creating a new garden.

Odds and ends

House plants may notice the longer days, and begin growing. You can begin feeding them again, but use a dilute 50% fertilizer mix until the growth is robust.

Continue feeding our feathered friends, you'll want them to stick around to help you in insect control when the weather warms again.

Did you check your garden tools yet? Don't wait 'til the spring rush to get your mower back in shape!

In the event of snow, be sure to shake or brush off the white stuff from the branches of your evergreens and shrubs.

It's time to turn the compost pile!


michiganmom116
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:38 PM

The tasks and garden chores of March

March 1, 1999
March is the month when many of the beautiful spring flowering perennials begin to flower. Aubrietia, Candytuft, Rock Cress, Bergenia, Snowdrops, Witch-hazel and many others will be brightening your days.
With Spring just around the corner, it is time to get serious and get the garden ready! The fickle weather of March makes it impossible to set dates and schedules for planting, so proceed with caution!
Crocus flower
The busy month of March Shrubs and trees

In most areas it is still possible to do dormant spraying of fruit trees until the 15th, after that date dilute the spray by 1/2.
Spraying should be done on a still day with the temperature above 40 degrees F. Late March and early April is a good time to transplant shrubs and trees. As soon as the soil is workable, but before buds have swelled or broken open, you can move shrubs and trees.

Fertilize shrubs and trees if this wasn't done in February. Use an acid type rhododendron fertilizer to feed evergreens, conifers, broad leaf evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.

Use an all-purpose fertilizer to feed roses and other deciduous trees and shrubs. If you use granular type fertilizers, be sure to water it in thoroughly.

Finish pruning fruit trees this month - before the buds swell.

Perennials, annuals, and bulbs

There is often a strong temptation to start removing winter mulches from your flower beds....
WAIT!!! Pull the mulch off gradually as the plants show signs of new growth. The purpose of winter mulch is to act as a protector from sudden changes of temperature and chilling winds, so keep in mind that it is still winter.
Acclimatize your plants by removing the mulch over a period of days, allowing the light and air to reach the new growth slowly. It is much better to remove the mulch a little later than to remove it to early.

Roses can be pruned this month. See the pruning roses page details on how to prune the various types of roses.
Severe pruning results in nicer long stemmed flowers and more compact bushes.
Begin to spray roses for blackspot.

Feed roses.

Sow seeds of summer blooming annuals indoors. Click for tips

Seeds which were started indoors last month may be transplanted from the flats into peat pots and given dilute fertilizer.

If you have a greenhouse, it is time to take cuttings of 'wintered over' plants such as Coleus, Chrysanthemums, Geraniums, and other perennials.

Alternating thawing and freezing can tear plant roots and even force the plant right out of it's hole. If you notice any plants that have heaved, push them back into the earth, and tamp lightly with your foot.

Divide and transplant summer blooming perennials and fertilize established ones as soon as new growth appears.

Plant tender bulbs and tubers (gladiola, lilies and dahlias). You may continue planting additional bulbs every two weeks until mid June to ensure a continuous source of bloom.

Prune winter Jasmine after flowering; cut honeysuckle back to 3ft.

Cut back established penstemons. Divide snowdrops while in leaf.

Remove all dead blooms from bulbs.

Fertilize any bulbs that have finished blooming with bone meal or bulb booster.

Plant Primroses and Pansies

Pinch off tips of Sweet Pea seedlings and Mums, when they are 4 inches tall.

Fruits and veggies

Take a little time to prepare the vegetable garden soil for planting.
The addition of well-rotted manure, processed manure, peat moss or compost are good additives for building compost humus in the soil.

Peas and sweet peas may be planted right now as well as perennial vegetables like Asparagus, Rhubarb, Horseradish and artichokes. Eggplant, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions, early potatoes, and radish seeds may be planted in the garden about mid month.

Spinach, Chard, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and other hardy vegetables can be seeded or set out late in the month.

Plant Strawberries, Blueberries, Currants, Loganberries, Boysenberries, Grapes and fruit trees.

Add some steer manure around your Rhubarb.

Time to start tomatoes, lettuce, and many other vegetables from seed.

House Plants

House plants will react to longer days and brighter light at this time by putting out new growth. The end of this month is a good time to pinch them back to generate new growth and to thicken them.
You can then begin fertilizing again with a dilute solution of soluble house plant food.

Turn your houseplants a quarter turn each week to make sure all sides of the plant receive adequate light, and to keep the shape of the plant balanced.

Mist or spray your houseplants to clean away the winters dust, prevent Spider Mites and add a little humidity.

Remain vigilante in watching for insects and pests. It is much easier to win a 'bug war' if you are aware of the infestation in it's early stages.

Odds and ends

The most dreaded tasks of all is weeding, but it is one that really needs to be accomplished before the weeds have a chance to flower and go to seed.
Remember once the weeds go to seed you can be fighting that weed seed for up to seven years or more. Most weeds can simply be pulled or cultivated out of the garden while they are young.

Turn the compost pile, adding any course mulch which was removed from the garden to it.

Keep an eye out for Aphids (spray off with water) and Cutworms (Cutworm Dust).

Repair damaged areas of the lawn.... Dethatch, rake or aerate. Apply Dolomite Lime to sweeten the soil if needed.
Most lawns will need a spring feeding but if thatching or liming needs to be done, do those jobs first..
If moss is a problem, a combination fertilizer and moss killer can be applied, to do both jobs in one easy application.
Over-seeding can be done as the last step, after the lawn has been fertilized.

Test your soil for pH to see if any amendments are necessary.
A general rule of thumb is to add 4 lbs. of lime per 100 sq. ft. of garden for every pH point below 6.5, or 1 lb. of sulfur per 100 sq. ft. for every pH point above 7.5.
Sawdust, composted oak leaves, wood chips, peat moss, cottonseed meal, and leaf mold lower the pH while ashes of hardwoods, bone meal, crushed marble, and crushed oyster shells raise the pH. The best way to adjust pH is gradually, over several seasons.

March is a good time to note areas of poor drainage. If there are pools of water in your yard that do not drain. Fill in the low spot or scoop out a channel for the water to drain away.

Clean out all of your birdhouses now, so that they will be ready when the birds return.

Repair any fencing, arbors, or trellis work that is weak or has broken over the winter ... before you get too busy!

Check the plants under the eaves of the house and under tall evergreens to see that they have sufficient moisture.


michiganmom116
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:39 PM

April Garden Tasks and Projects

March 28, 1999


At long last, spring has arrived! (or has it?) As you look out upon your garden, does the nagging question of "where do I even begin" sound familiar? There is so much to do in every corner of the yard this month that it is difficult to know where to start.
In my opinion, the first and foremost thing to do is to stand back for a moment, and simply enjoy the beauty that Mother Nature has given us.... Listen to the birds as they sing you a spring melody... dream a little, and then put on the gardening gloves and head out to make your dream garden a reality!


Ranunculus


Here are a few April garden projects that you can do to help keep your garden looking its best the rest of this season.
As you begin your quest for the perfect garden, don't overdo it! It's probably been a few months since you gave those muscles and bones a good workout, so start out slowly and avoid that Monday morning backache.


Because the world has such a multitude of microclimates, it would be impossible for me to create a list of gardening tasks that would cover everyone. Therefore I am writing this monthly list based on general weather patterns for the northern United States (zones 6-8). Much of the information may also be useful for other areas of the world in coming months.

Shrubs and trees
There still is time to plant trees and shrubs. However, by mid month it will be a little late to transplant large trees or shrubs, so do them now.
The months of March, April and May are ideal for pruning evergreens. So if you have a Juniper, Cypress or conifer that need shearing or pruning this is a good time to accomplish this task. Remove all dead, diseased, and undesirable wood. However, do not prune back into the bare wood part of the plant.
Prune your Forsythia after it finishes flowering.
Broadleaf and needle leaf evergreens benefit most from lightly spreading a high nitrogen fertilizer around their bases.
Perennials, annuals, and bulbs
April is the month for planting summer flowering bulbs like dahlias, gladiolas and lilies. Mix bulb fertilizer, processed manure and peat moss into the planting soil. Tuberous Begonias and Canna should not be set outdoors until all danger of frost has passed, so wait until next month.
Plant annual seeds of asters, cosmos, marigolds, zinnias in the garden.
When all frost danger has passed you can move your stored fuchsias and geraniums outdoors. Trim them back, feed and re-pot if necessary. Water them well.
When they have finished blooming, you should deadhead your spring flowering bulbs. Do not cut off the green foliage yet! These green leaves continue to grow for a few weeks, and provide the bulb with food for flowering next year.
Divide perennials like Daylilies, Delphiniums, iris, chrysanthemums, Daisies,and Phlox. The additional plants you create can be traded or given to friends, or moved to a new area of the garden.
Hybrid Tea Roses should be fertilized prior to buds beginning to bloom. Using a systemic fertilizer will help prevent insect infestation later in the summer, as it feeds your rose.
Plant new rosebushes before growth starts and buds swell.
If you have a pond or pool you should set aquatic plants any time after the middle of the month.
Control weeds and aerate the soil by cultivating between the rows of plants.
April is a great time to select and plant fruit trees and berry plants. Fruits and berries do best when planted in full sun.
Plant perennial vegetables like asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, etc. It's also time to plant peas, carrots, beets, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. Root crops like potatoes, radishes, parsnips and onions can be planted at anytime. Late this month you can plant beans and corn. Warmer weather crops like tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peppers should not be planted until next month.
As your direct-seeded crops sprout, be sure to keep them thinned out to avoid crowding.
Cut out all the dead canes from your raspberry patch. The new canes that will bear this year's fruit should have new, swollen buds along the edges. Thin these to five canes per foot of row to allow good air circulation and prevent overcrowding.
When danger of frost has passed, uncover strawberry beds and keep them well watered.
The application of a spring type of lawn fertilizer should perk up the lawn and improve its over-all color and appearance. If there is moss growing in the lawn, use spring lawn fertilizer that has the moss-killer included, so you can do both jobs in one easy application.
Spring is also a good time to thatch and over-seed the lawn. Thatch buildup can smother your lawn and provide an environment for diseases. Remove thatch with a brisk raking, or with a dethatching machine. Over seeding will help fill-in the lawn and deter the re-growth of moss and weeds. Use about one pound of quality grass seed for every 300 square feet of lawn area. Apply a light compost or soil over the seed to keep it moist and in place.
Aerating the lawn will allow water to penetrate deeper into the lawn soil and reduce the need to water during the dryer months ahead. Use a garden fork and punch holes over the surface of your lawn.
As mowing becomes necessary, be certain that the blade is sharp to prevent tearing the grass tips. (Did you get the mower tuned up and sharpened back in January when I suggested it????) Set the blade on your lawnmower to cut the grass at 2 1/2 inches to avoid scalping. (A mulching blade will eliminate the need to rake or bag the clippings, prevent thatch buildup, and the clippings will provide food for the lawn.)
Rotate your houseplants so that each side receives it's share of light, for even growth and a balanced shape.
As the sun's rays strengthen, some plants, such as African Violets, may need to be moved away from a south-facing window to avoid leaf scorch.
Spring cleaning your plants will keep them beautiful and help to avoid diseases. Remove any spent flowers, dead leaves or branches, or any yellowing leaves. Rinse the dust from the leaves with the kitchen sprayer. Clean leaves allow the plant to breathe!
Pinching back the tips of foliage plants will stimulate new growth and make your plant fuller and bushier.
If you keep a Coleus as a house plant you can still start cuttings for transplant to the garden. Use a sharp clean knife to cut the stem just below a leaf node. Remove the lowest leaves, dip the cut end into a rooting hormone and insert it into some fresh, sterile potting soil. These cuttings will be ready to use as a bright garden accent by early June.

Odds and ends
It seems that different states can't agree to a universal Arbor Day, but more than likely the day exists in your individual state or country, at some point in this month.... Plant a tree!
Although we think of this as a rainy month, it can fool us. Keep transplanted flowers well watered during dry spells.
Be sure to take a little time to check the plants in containers and those under the eaves of the house and under tall evergreens to see that they are getting enough water.
If you receive mail-order plants or can't resist the urge to pick up a few perennials before you are ready, make a trench and heel them into the ground in a protected area.
Driving around the neighborhood, ar visiting a local nursery may give you some great ideas of what you'd like to have blooming in your yard at this time next year.
Take a stroll in the woods or the park at least once each season to enjoy a little bit of Mother Natures gardening handiwork!
Remember that whatever you accomplish in the garden now will definitely cut down on yard maintenance later this season!


michiganmom116
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Gardening in the Merry Month of May

April 30, 1999
The month of May is a time when the weather can either turn your garden into an Eden, or a wasteland. Be aware of the weather forecasts and trends.

Gardening guides and hardiness zones are based on past years averages, and can't predict a freak frost or snowstorm, or a prolonged spring drought. If a frost or cold weather is in the forecast, protect your tender plants with a mulch, newspapers, light cloth or some type of overnight protection or a frost cap made with clear poly film tented over the plants. (Be sure to remove the plastic tent as soon as the danger is over or your plants will bake in the sun).

On the other extreme, if the weather is sunny and dry, don't neglect your watering. Most flowers and shrubs need about an inch of water each week to perform well, and newly planted seedlings will perish if their roots are allowed to dry out.

May is also a time of gardening inspirations and dreams. Look around yourself and notice what your neighbors are growing in their gardens and what they are creating in their landscapes. Think of how you might utilize some of their ideas along with your own brainstorms to make your garden just a lil bit better.

Here are a few May gardening projects that you can do to help keep your garden looking its best the rest of this season.



Salmon berry bloom



Because the world has such a multitude of microclimates, it would be impossible for me to create a list of gardening tasks that would cover everyone. Therefore I am writing this monthly list based on general weather patterns for the northern United States (zones 6-8). Much of the information may also be useful for other areas of the world in coming months.

Shrubs and trees

It's still not too late to fertilize your trees and shrubs. Use a 'Rhododendron' or an 'Evergreen' type of plant food to feed evergreens and acid loving plants like Rhododendrons, Camellias, Azaleas, and Junipers, etc. Use an all-purpose garden fertilizer (10-10-10) to feed roses, deciduous shrubs and trees. Be sure to water the fertilizer in thoroughly after it is applied.

Early flowering deciduous shrubs such as Forsythias, Weigela, and Spiraea should be pruned back when they have finished blooming. Cut back a third of the oldest canes to ground level, then cut back one third of the remaining branches by one third of their height.

Remove the wilting seedheads from Rhododendrons and Azaleas, so that the plants energy can go to foliage growth and next years flowers, rather than seeds.

Work lime in the soil around your Hydrangeas to produce pink flowers or Aluminum Sulphate for blue.

Remove any sucker growths from fruit trees as soon as they appear.

Keep a vigilante eye on the roses. Keep them sprayed for aphids and other pests and diseases such as black spot.

Pines and other conifers can be kept to a compact size by pinching off the new growth 'candles'.

Lilacs should be pruned lightly after they finish blooming, removing sucker growths and dead blooms.. Feed lilacs in May with a good all purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer after they have finished blooming. If your soil has an acidic pH, work a little lime into the soil as well.

Perennials, annuals, and bulbs

Dahlias, Gladiolas, tuberous Begonias, Lilies and Cannas and other summer flowering bulbs can be planted this month. Gladiolas bulbs may be planted at 2 week increments until the first of July to provide you with cut flowers until the first frost.

Delphiniums, Phlox, Daylilies, Carnations, Aubrietia, Candytuft, Basket of Gold, Primroses, Coral Bells and Saxifraga and other summer flowering perennials may all be set into the garden any time in May.

Break off wilting Tulip or Daffodil heads but continue to feed and care for the plants until the foliage has died back naturally. Old plantings of Daffodils may be divided and moved when they have finished blooming, but treat them as growing plants and use care to protect the foliage and roots. Water them thoroughly after transplanting. It is best not to dig or move other spring flowering bulbs until their foliage has ripened and died back.

Pansies, Snapdragons, Dianthus, Petunias, Geraniums, Fuchsias and Impatiens should be ready to plant by mid month. Toward the end of the month, it should be warm enough to plant out the more tender annuals like Salvia, Zinnias, Marigolds, Lobelia.

Lightly sidedress perennials with an all-purpose 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 fertilizer. Avoid spilling the fertilizer on the plant, and use care not to damage the shallow roots when you cultivate it into the soil. Setting the stakes next to your taller flowers early in the season, will help to support the plant against winds as well as making it easier to 'train'.

Promptly remove spent flowers from any plant unless your intent is to harvest the seeds. It consumes the plants energy to produce the seeds, and in many species of plants (especially annuals), removing the dead flowers will promote further blooms.

Carrots, lettuce, potatoes, corn, beans, peas and most popular vegetables (with the exception of the warmer weather crops) can be seeded or planted into the vegetable garden at any time now.

Wait until mid to late May before planting the warmer weather crops like tomatoes, squash, cucumber, pumpkins and peppers.

With a little luck, you may begin to see the first fruit on your strawberries by late this month. The birds will enjoy them very much if you don't provide some protective netting over them. Newly planted strawberries should have the blossoms picked off until they become well established.

Gourds may be planted late in the month, if your growing season is long enough. .

Lawn

May is a good month to repair your lawn. Fill in the bare spots by slightly loosening surface of the soil and sow a good quality lawn seed over the area evenly. Tamp the seed in gently and water. Keep the patch moist by covering with light mulch of lawn clippings. This is the time to eliminate lawn weeds by hand pulling, or the application of a 'weed and feed' fertilizer.... before they go to seed!.

Setting your mower for a higher cut during the spring months will help the grass to grow in fuller and help choke out the weeds.

House Plants

Check to see if your house plants are rootbound. Water them thoroughly and carefully remove them from their pots. If the roots have compacted around the outside of the rootball, it is time to repot. Carefully examine your houseplants for pests and problems. It is much easier to fight an insect infestation or disease in it's early stages than to wait....

As the growth rate of your house plants increases with the seasons, adjust your feeding schedule to provide additional food. Feed your plants a good all purpose house plant food at half of the manufacturers recommended rates, increasing the proportion slightly to accommodate growth spurts. Overuse of fertilizers can cause root and foliage burn, as well as the death of the plant.

Mist your plants regularly. This adds to the humidity, keeps the leaves cleaner and healthier, and helps to prevent spider mites.

Odds and ends

Slugs and snails are out in full force right now. Be sure to take steps to control them now, before they have a chance to reproduce and devastate your garden.

The first flowers you'll see will be your weeds. Work to eliminate the weeds (roots and all), before they have a chance to go to seed, or you will be fighting them for years to come!

If the weather refuses to cooperate with your gardening plans, and your seeds have refused to germinate due to cold and wet conditions, you may want to consider replanting a reserve crop (Just in case....)

The compost pile should be getting a lot of use these days, both in utilizing this prime garden resource, and adding fresh garden refuse to it. The compost pile should be kept damp. Frequent turning will turn your garden waste into flower food much faster.


michiganmom116
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Gardening in the month of June

May 16, 1999
Beginning this month I will try to get the monthly Gardening tips online a little earlier to help those folks who are lucky enough to live in areas where the weather is actually spring-like already. These guideliness are based on gardening practices in the Pacific Northwest.
If your climate is more temperate, you probably should have already completed some of these tasks. If you still have snow,,, ick! you have my sincere sympathy, better wait a couple weeks to do these.



African Daisy
Here are a few June gardening tasks and projects that you can do to help keep your garden looking it's best for the rest of this season.
Has your spring been somewhat less than a sunny, gardeners delight? Haven't had enough time to get the garden looking quite right yet? 'Color Spots' may be your quickest and easiest way of catching up with the neighbors.
Color Spots are easy care, blooming size annuals which the nurseries have grown in 4" pots. They have taken care of the feeding, pinching and early care for you. The result is a nicely branched plant, blooming and ready to set in the garden. You will be able to see what your flower will look like before you even pick it out, and have have some early summer colors before the sun sets. Prepare the soil; water the new plants before you remove them from the pot; plant the color spots at the recommended spacing on the label; water them again.
Result: I N S T A N T  C O L O R !

Pinch back any annuals, Fuchsias, Geraniums, Cosmos or any other plants that might be getting a little leggy.

Pinch your Chrysanthemum's to encourage them to be bushier and have more blossoms. Pinch them again, every 6 inches or so, as they grow.

This is an excellent month to pick out a few new perennials, and put them into the garden.

Divide spring flowering perennials like, Primroses, Arabis, and Aubrietia.

Once the soil has warmed, you may sow seeds for perennials directly into the garden.

Check your roses for mildew, aphid, black-spot or other insect or disease problems and if they appear take steps to control them right away.

Roses will need to be fertilized each month through the summer.

Make sure your climbing roses are securely tied into position. Prune them after blooming.

Deadhead your annuals to encourage more flowers.

Remove dead foliage from your spring flowering bulbs, but only after it has died back naturally.

Sow seeds for Flowering Kale and Flowering Cabbage for colorful plants next fall and winter.

Stake tall flowers to keep them from blowing over in the wind. Add a stake to each planting hole as you're transplanting, and tie the stem loosely to the stake as the plant grows.

As the weather dries out, your container plants may need daily watering especially if the pots are exposed to the drying sunlight.

Gladiolus corms can still be planted for successive blooms.

Tuberous Begonias can now be safely planted outdoors.

Once the foliage of Daffodils has died back, you may divide and move the bulbs to a new spot. Daffodil clusters should be divided up every 3 years to ensure good blooming.

This is a good month for shearing, pinching or pruning Junipers, Cypress or Conifers. If you've been cultivating a special Christmas tree, sculpt it now.

Fertilize flowering shrubs like Rhododendrons, Camellias and Azaleas immediately after they have finished flowering with a 'Rhododendron' or 'Evergreen' type fertilizer.

Dead head the developing seed pods from your Rhododendrons and Azaleas to improve next years bloom. Be careful not to damage next years buds which may be hidden just below the pod.

It's hedge trimming time!

Start any of the warm weather vegetables (Corn, Beans, Peppers, Egg Plant, Tomatoes, Squash, Pumpkins, etc.) as soon as possible.

Tap your tomatoe plants to encourage pollination; water every day and start feeding them weekly once fruits set.

Protect your fruit from the birds with netting.

After natural fruit drop in late June, thin fruits on apple, pear, peach, and apricot trees carefully to produce larger, better fruit. Peach trees need 50 to 75 leaves per fruit to manufacture food for both fruit production and tree maintenance. Apple trees need 30 to 40 leaves per fruit. Continue thinning your vegetable seedlings to provide ample room for growth.

Mound the soil up around your potato plants. It does no harm to the plant if the soil covers the stem. Tubers near the surface which are exposed to sunlight will turn green and poisonous. As early potatoes begin to die back, reduce watering.

Allow one or two runners to develop from the most productive strawberry plants.

Plant your Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, and Cauliflower for next winter's harvest.

Prune suckers and water sprouts from all fruit trees.

Fertilize the lawn this month. Use a complete lawn fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

If your lawn suddenly looks yellow or dies out in patches, the cause is probably due to an insect or disease problem such as Crane flies.

If the weather becomes hot and dry raise the cutting height of the mower.

It's not too late to reseed or over-seed the lawn. Be certain to keep newly seeded areas well watered.

Apply moss killers before temperatures reach 65 degrees.

Control Dandelions and other lawn weeds.

House plants can soon be moved outside to a shady, protected spot.

Continue to watch for insect or disease damage and take the necessary steps to control the problem.

Warmer and drier weather means it will be necessary to water and mist your house plants more often.

Feed your house plants with 1/2 the recommended strength of a good soluble Houseplant fertilizer.

Odds and ends

At exactly 12:00 Noon, on June 15th, set your sundial for 12:00 to get the most accurate time reading throughout the summer.

Be alert to slug and snail damage... Seek and destroy ALL slugs!

Keep the weeds pulled, before they have a chance to flower and go to seed again. Otherwise, you will be fighting newly germinated weed seed for the next several years.

Change the water in your bird bath regularly. Standing water may become a breeding ground for mosquito larvae.

Continue to watch for insect or disease damage throughout the garden, and take the necessary steps to control the problem.


michiganmom116
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Gardening in the month of July

June 12, 1999
July is a time when you can sit back for a moment and enjoy the fruits of your labor in the garden. While there are still other ongoing tasks to perform in the garden, your primary concern will be assuring an ample supply of water for your plants.



Monarch Butterfly
Here are a few July gardening tasks and projects that you can do to help keep your garden looking it's best for the rest of this season.


Watering the garden
The amount of water that your garden will need is going to depend on the weather conditions in your area. The primary rule of summer watering is to water thoroughly and deeply each time and to allow the soil dry out between waterings. Deep watering will allow the plant's roots to grow deeper, where they are less likely to dry out, as well as the added benefit of anchoring the plant into the ground better. Light, surface watering actually wastes water, because the water never actually reaches the root zone of the plant, and the moisture rapidly evaporates from the top inch of soil.
The best way to tell if your plants are receiving enough water is to take a trowel or shovel and dig down a few inches. The soil should be moist at least 3 or 4 inches deep to insure that the water is reaching the root zone of the plants. Of course, if you planted drought resistant plants in your garden, you won't have to water as often, but the principal of deep watering still applies. As the weather dries out, your container plants may need daily watering, especially if the pots are exposed to the drying sunlight. Push your finger into the soil in your container plantings at least once a day (more often on hot, dry days) to feel for moisture and be certain that plants are getting enough water. Apply water until it runs out the drainage holes.

Try to do your watering during the morning hours so that the leaves can dry off a bit before the hot sun hits them. Evening watering is sometimes acceptable if the temperatures are warm enough to insure that foliage dries before the temperature drops at night. (Wet foliage makes plants more susceptible to fungus and disease.)

Continue to dead head (remove dead flowers) your annuals to encourage continued blooming.

If your annuals have died off, pull them out and add them to the compost pile.

Replant that spot with hardy annuals or perennials, such as Pansies, Calendulas, or Armeria.

Get a second bloom from faded annuals by cutting them back by one half their height, then fertilize them with a liquid 5-10-10 fertilizer.

Roses will need to be fertilized each month through the summer. In colder areas, allow shrub roses to ripen by discontinuing feeding them at the end of the month.

Fertilize container gardens regularly with a liquid all purpose plant food.

Chrysanthemums should be lightly fertilized every two weeks. Discontinue pinching your mums in mid month so they will be able to develop flower buds for the fall. To promote 'trophy size' flowers, allow only one or two main shoots to develop. Remove all side buds as they begin to develop.

To produce the largest Dahlia flowers (especially 'Dinner plate' Dahlias), the main stems should be kept free of side shoots, allowing only the main terminal bud to develop. Be sure to provide adequate support to prevent wind damage.

Bearded Iris may be divided and replanted when they have finished blooming. Discard all shriveled and diseased parts

Sweet peas may tend to fizzle out with the hot summer weather, but with heavy mulching to keep the roots cool and moist you can prolong the flowering season by a few more weeks. A little mid-day shade will also help to maintain the quality of the flowers and prolong the blooming season.

Verbenas, Euonymus, Pachysandra, Ivy, and climbing roses are some of plants that will root fairly quickly by layering them into the warm soil. Fasten a section of the stem containing one or more "eyes" down onto cultivated soil with a horseshoe shaped piece of wire and cover it with additional soil. By summers end, the stem should be rooted sufficiently to sever it from the parent plant and replant into another area of the garden..

Sow seeds of Hollyhocks, English daisies, Foxgloves, Violas, Canterbury bells, and Sweet William into the garden now for next year's bloom.

Geranium cuttings may be made in late July to start plants for indoor bloom during the winter months, and for setting into the garden next spring. You may need to provide supplemental lighting with fluorescent grow lights for really good winter blooms indoors.

Summer blooming shrubs should be pruned for shape after they have finished flowering. Remove any dead or diseased branches.

Fertilize flowering shrubs like Rhododendrons, Camellias and Azaleas immediately after they have finished flowering with a 'Rhododendron' or 'Evergreen' type fertilizer.

Dead head the developing seed pods from your Rhododendrons and Azaleas to improve next years bloom. Be careful not to damage next years buds which may be hidden just below the pod.

Begin enjoying the harvest of your homegrown fruits, vegetables and herbs!

Fertilize June bearing strawberries after the harvest, and ever-bearing varieties half way through the season.

Plant out successions of salad crops for continued harvesting throughout the summer. Sow seeds for cool-season crops directly into the garden by mid-July.

Continue to protect your fruit from the birds with netting.

Empty areas of the garden, where the crops have finished, should be replanted with either a fall vegetable crop, or a cover crop of clover or vetch to help control weeds. Cover crops can be tilled into the soil later, to add humus and nitrates to the soil.

Contrary to popular belief, a brown lawn isn't necessarily a dead lawn. Grasses go dormant in times of drought, but will quickly return to life with the fall rains. If a lush green lawn is important to you, and you don't mind mowing, water it regularly, and deeply. If a water shortage is expected, or you hate tending to grass, you may choose to just let your lawn go dormant, and water it as seldom as once a month.

Raise the cutting height of the mower. Taller grass cools the roots and helps to keep the moisture in the soil longer.

Avoid using fertilizers in hot, dry weather.

House plants can be moved outside to a shady, protected spot.

Continue to watch for insect or disease damage and take the necessary steps to control the problem.

Warmer and drier weather means it will be necessary to water and mist your house plants more often.

Feed your house plants with 1/2 the recommended strength of a good soluble house plant fertilizer while they are actively growing.

Odds and ends

Be alert to slug and snail damage. These creatures will be hiding during the heat of the day, but will come out of hiding in the cool morning and evening hours or after a rain. Seek and destroy ALL slugs and their eggs!

Keep the weeds pulled, before they have a chance to flower and go to seed again. Otherwise, you will be fighting newly germinated weed seed for the next several years.

Change the water in your bird bath regularly, and keep it filled. Standing water may become a breeding ground for mosquito larvae.

Continue to watch for insect or disease damage throughout the garden, and take the necessary steps to control the problem.

Have a great month!!


michiganmom116
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Gardening in the month of August

July 15, 1999
While the list of gardening tasks for August is shorter than in many months, there are still ongoing tasks to perform in the garden. The hot temperatures of mid summer make it tough to spend much time working in your garden, so take advantage of any cooler days to take care of grooming and weeding. Right now, your primary concern will be assuring an ample supply of water for your plants. Weed control is also very important, because with the warmer weather and increased watering, weed seeds will germinate and grow faster, and mature to the point of producing more seeds. Take advantage of your spare time to keep the weeds cultivated out of all parts of the garden.



Strawberry clover


Here are a few August gardening tasks and projects that you can do to help keep your garden looking it's best for the rest of this season.
Watering the garden
Watering can be the biggest task this month particularity if the weather gets hot. Vegetable gardens, most flowering plants, and the lawn all need about one inch of water every week to keep them green and looking nice.

Be sure to water thoroughly, and deeply each time you water. When possible, do your watering in the morning or early afternoon so the soil has a chance to warm up before the cooler evening hours set in. Deep watering will induce the plant's roots to grow deeper, where they are less likely to dry out, as well as the added benefit of anchoring the plant into the ground better. Light, surface watering actually wastes water, because the water never actually reaches the root zone of the plant, and the moisture rapidly evaporates from the top inch of soil. The best way to tell if your plants are receiving enough water is to take a trowel or shovel and dig down a few inches. The soil should be moist at least 3 or 4 inches deep to insure that the water is reaching the root zone of the plants. Of course, if you planted drought resistant plants in your garden, you won't have to water as often, but the principal of deep watering still applies.

Be sure to check the hanging baskets and container grown plants every day during hot weather and about every second day on moderate summer days. Don't just check the surface... Push your finger an inch or two into the soil to be sure there is adequate moisture below throughout the root area. Water them thoroughly each time you water, but be careful not to overwater them.

Take out a few minutes to pick off the old dead flowers on your annuals, as well as the spent flowers on perennial plants. A little time spent on grooming the plants will make a big difference in the overall appearance of the garden. By removing the spent flowers, the plants will not go into the seed producing stage and should continue to flower longer into the season.

Perennial and biennial plants can be started from seed sown directly into the garden this month or next.

Container grown perennials, shrubs and trees can be planted this month. Always take time to properly prepare the soil by mixing generous quantities of peat moss, compost and processed manure with your existing soil.

Fall blooming Crocus should be planted this month, to give you an extra week or two of flowers after the main garden plants have finished for the year.

Spring flowering perennials can be divided and transplanted this month or next. Be sure to do this during the coolest part of the day and water the plants thoroughly after transplanting.

Prune your hybrid roses in late August to promote the most fall blossoms. Remove about a third of the vigorous growth. Any stems that cross each other should be removed, as well as those that are in the center of the plant. Weak, spindly canes and any damaged by black spot fungus should be removed. Except in colder regions, roses should be fertilized through the end of September. Maintain a spraying schedule to control insects and disease.

Summer blooming shrubs should be pruned for shape after they have finished flowering. Remove any dead or diseased branches.

Now is the time to start your fall and winter vegetables. Plant starters or seeds of green onions, carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and winter cauliflower directly into the garden early this month.

Enjoy the harvest of your homegrown fruits, vegetables and herbs!

Contrary to popular belief, a brown lawn isn't necessarily a dead lawn. Grasses go dormant in times of drought, but will quickly return to life with the fall rains. If a lush green lawn is important to you, and you don't mind mowing, water it regularly, and deeply. If a water shortage is expected, or you hate tending to grass, you may choose to just let your lawn go dormant, and water it as seldom as once a month. Raise the cutting height of the mower. Taller grass cools the roots and helps to keep the moisture in the soil longer.

Late this month Poinsettias and Christmas cactus should be brought back indoors and you should begin preparing them for Christmas flowering.

Poinsettias are short day plants. Although they will eventually bloom, if you want the plants in bloom for the holidays they must be kept at about 65 to 70 degrees, and subjected to at least six weeks of 14 hours of total darkness per day (mid to late September). This may be accomplished by placing the potted plant in a closet or unlighted room, or by covering the plant with black cloth, black plastic over a frame or a cardboard box.The plant must then be returned to the light each day and given a minimum of 4 hours of direct sun, or 10 hours of bright light. The application of a 0-10-10 fertilizer this month and again next should help encourage the development of flower buds, then feed your plant every 2 weeks with a high nitrogen fertilizer once color has begun to show.

Christmas cactus needs the same general care, with the exception that they require cooler temperatures of about 50 to 60 degrees.

Continue to watch for insect or disease damage and take the necessary steps to control the problem. Warmer and drier weather means it will be necessary to water and mist your house plants more often.

Odds and ends

Keep the weeds pulled, before they have a chance to flower and go to seed again. Otherwise, you will be fighting newly germinated weed seed for the next several years. Weeds in the garden are harmful because they rob your plants of water and nutrients, harbor insects and diseases, and, on occasion grow tall enough to shade your flowers and plants. Change the water in your bird bath regularly, and keep it filled. Standing water is less healthy for the birds, and may become a breeding ground for mosquito larvae.

Continue to watch for insect, slug and snail, or disease damage throughout the garden, and take the necessary steps to control the problem.


michiganmom116
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Gardening in the month of September

September 16, 1999
As the summer winds down to fall, it is time to clean up the garden and plan for next spring. Water trees and shrubs less, allowing them to harden off before winter sets in. Remove spent annuals and compost them. Keep after the weeds and the slugs!



Joshua Tree in the Desert
Here are a few gardening tasks and projects that you can do this month to help keep your garden looking it's best for the rest of this season, and prepare for the long cold winter and upcoming spring.

During the fall months of September, October and November, after soil temperature drops below 60°F., the bulbs of spring flowering tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, Siberian squill, dwarf irises, Anemone, and crocus should be planted. Select healthy, disease free bulbs. Add Bone meal or Bulb fertilizer into the planting hole, as you prepare the soil.

Winter pansies, flowering Kale, flowering Cabbage, and fall mums may be planted now, to give a little color to the garden when the summers flowers have faded away.

Scatter the seeds of perennials in a row or in open beds this month so that the young seedlings will be ready to be transplanted into their permanent spot next spring.

As the weather cools, perennials which have overgrown their space or become crowded should be dug and divided, or moved to a new area of the garden. New or replacement perennials can also be planted this month.

Tender bulbs should be dug up and stored in a cool, dark area after first frost.

Fall is a good time to select and plant trees and shrubs. Fall planting encourages good root development, allowing the plants to get established before spring. If weather is dry, provide water up until the ground freezes.

Stop fertilizing your trees and flowering shrubs to allow this years growth to harden off before winter.

Harvesting fruits and vegetables is the best part of growing them. As is often the case, you may have produced much more of certain type than your family can consume. Share the abundance of squash and tomatoes with friends and neighbors, and don't forget about your local food bank or second harvest organization! Although most fruits and vegetables are best when eaten fresh on the day they're picked, you can extend the season by freezing, drying, storing, or canning.

Fruits and vegetables should be checked regularly for ripeness. A little practice and experience will tell you when your produce is at it's peak of flavor, and that is when it should be harvested.

Plum trees should be pruned right after harvest, to insure a bountiful crop next year.

Once the tops of onions have withered, the bulbs should be lifted and dried in a warm, dry, sunny location for about 10 days. Then they should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place.

Some root crops, such as carrots, onions, and parsnips can be left in the ground in cold climates and dug up as needed. Apply enough mulch to keep the ground from freezing, and the crop will be kept fresh until it is needed.

After you have finished harvesting your summer vegetables, plant a cover crop of clovers, cow peas, soybeans, or vetches for the purpose of plowing under next spring. These nitrogen producing plants will provide good organic matter and food for your garden crops next year, as well as helping to control weeds over the winter.

When the fall rains arrive, fertilize your lawn with a slow-release 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer.

September is one of the best months of the entire year for seeding or sodding new lawns.

If the lawn needs thatching, it can be done during the early fall.

Over seed old lawns with fresh seed to help fill in the bare spots and crowd out weeds and mosses.

Pot up some spring flowering bulbs for indoor color during the winter. Store the pots in a cool, dark place, until new growth emerges from the soil, and then move them to a bright window.

Begin conditioning your Poinsettias and Christmas cactus to get them ready for the upcoming holiday season. Both of these plants are short day plants. Although they will eventually bloom, if you want the plants in bloom in time for the holidays they must be kept at about 65 to 70 degrees, and subjected to at least six weeks of 14 hours of total darkness per day (mid to late September). This may be accomplished by placing the potted plant in a closet or unlighted room, or by covering the plant with black cloth, black plastic over a frame or a cardboard box.The plant must then be returned to the light each day and given a minimum of 4 hours of direct sun, or 10 hours of bright light. The application of a 0-10-10 fertilizer this month and again next should help encourage the development of flower buds, then feed your plant every 2 weeks with a high nitrogen fertilizer once color has begun to show.

Christmas cactus needs the same general care, with the exception that they require cooler temperatures of about 50 to 60 degrees. Continue to watch for insect or disease damage and take the necessary steps to control the problem.

Odds and ends

Mark your perennials with permanent tags, or create a map showing their locations so you'll know where and what they are when they die back at the end of the season. This will help you to avoid digging up something you intended to keep when you plant bulbs and plants this fall and next spring.

One last effort at weeding will help to improve the appearance of your garden throughout the winter.

The birds will soon begin their winter migrations. Give them a helping hand by providing them with some food for their long journey. No one likes to travel on an empty stomach, and you may even persuade a few of them to stick around for the winter, if they know they have a reliable food source!

Continue to watch for insect, slug and snail, or disease damage throughout the garden, and take the necessary steps to control the problem.


michiganmom116
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Gardening in the month of October

October 14, 1999


As the leaves change into their brilliant fall colors, and you awaken to a distinct chill in the air, you realize that winter is just around the corner. It's time to put the garden tools away for the year, settle back, relax, and wait for spring to arrive......
WRONG!!!!!
In most areas of the country, you will still have many tasks to accomplish... even after the first frosts.



Vine Maple
Here are a few gardening tasks and projects that you can do this month to help keep your garden looking it's best for the rest of this season, and prepare for the long cold winter and upcoming spring.

Perennials, annuals, and bulbs Right now Spring may seem a long way off, and not really on your mind.

Remember the feeling you got as you went into your garden last Spring,,, and there it was... the first new growth of the new year???
Felt great, didn't it?

With a little planting effort now, you will speed the timing of that first new growth by as much as a month. During the fall months, after soil temperature drops below 60°F., the bulbs of spring flowering tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, Siberian squill, dwarf irises, Anemone, and crocus should be planted. Select healthy, disease free bulbs. Add Bone meal or Bulb fertilizer into the planting hole, as you prepare the soil.

Most spring flowering bulbs should be in the ground by the early part of this month, with the exception of Tulips which may be planted up until early November.

Gladiolas, Dahlias and other tender bulbs should be dug before the ground freezes, and stored in a cool, dark area. Dahlia and Begonia tubers should be stored in a box of slightly moist peat moss. Gladiola corms can be stored in a paper bag without additional packing.

Be sure that new plantings and perennials which were divided and moved last month are kept watered if there has been insufficient rainfall.

There is still time to set out winter pansies, flowering Kale, flowering Cabbage, and fall mums. Keep a little color in the garden for as long as possible.

Watch your thermometer on colder nights. A windless, cold, clear night usually means a killing frost.... You can keep your Chrysanthemums and Asters blooming for quite a while longer if you take the time to provide a little frost protection for them. A small, simple frame covered with cheesecloth or an old bed sheet placed over your plants on frosty nights, can add a month or more of garden blooms. (Don't forget to remove the cover as soon as the danger has passed!)

Geraniums, begonias, fuchsias, and other tender plants should be brought indoors or moved to a coldframe before the first frost.

Mulching fall planted perennials will keep the soil warmer longer, allowing root growth to continue, however, the plants do need time to harden off for winter. Spread a thin layer of mulch after fall planting, and then add a thicker layer once the ground has frozen.

Collect and save seeds of wildflowers to sow next spring.

Shrubs and trees Throughout the fall and winter months you can plant or transplant both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. During these months of dormancy you can do your shrub and tree moving with only minimal shock to the plants.

If your Rhododendrons or other shrubs have root weevils, release parasitic nematodes to soil under the affected plants.

Fruits and veggies Harvesting fruits and vegetables is the best part of growing them. As is often the case, you may have produced much more of certain type than your family can consume. Share the abundance of squash and tomatoes with friends and neighbors, and don't forget about your local food bank or second harvest organization! Although most fruits and vegetables are best when eaten fresh on the day they're picked, you can extend the season by freezing, drying, storing, or canning.

Dig and divide congested clumps of rhubarb.

Cut back raspberry canes that have grown too long, to prevent damage caused by winter winds.

Some root crops, such as carrots, onions, and parsnips can be left in the ground in cold climates and dug up as needed. Apply enough mulch to keep the ground from freezing, and the crop will be kept fresh until it is needed. After you have finished harvesting your summer vegetables, plant a cover crop of clovers, cow peas, soybeans, or vetches for the purpose of plowing under next spring. These nitrogen producing plants will provide good organic matter and food for your garden crops next year, as well as helping to control weeds over the winter. Lawn Keep mowing as long as your grass is growing....

House Plants Both Christmas Cactus and Poinsettias need to be kept indoors in a spot where they get ten hours of bright light and fourteen hours of total darkness, each day. Room temperatures should be around 65 to 70 degrees for the Poinsettias, but cooler (around 55 to 60) for the Christmas cactus.

The longer your house plants were allowed to remain outside in the fall, the more shock they will go through when they are finally moved indoors. If you haven't brought them in yet, do it now!!

Continue to watch for insect or disease damage and take the necessary steps to control the problem.

Odds and ends You are probably sick of hearing it... but get those slugs!!! The fall rains have once again gotten slugs and snails moving through the garden. One last application of slug bait will eliminate a lot of slugs and prevent them from reproducing again this fall. Result: Fewer slugs next spring......

One last effort at weeding will help to improve the appearance of your garden throughout the winter. Any weed which you can eliminate from the garden this fall will possibly prevent thousands of weed seeds from sprouting in the garden next spring!

Keep lawn and garden raked clean of leaves and debris. Fallen leaves, old plant parts and grass clippings should be added to the compost pile.

Clean and oil your garden tools for winter storage. Place some sand and some oil in a large bucket, then slide your garden tools in and out of the sand. This will do an excellent job of cleaning them, as well as applying a light coat of oil to prevent rusting.

Clean your gutters and downspouts to remove fallen leaves and other debris. Plugged gutters can cause serious damage to your home as well as your garden when the winter rain and snow arrives.

Send in your requests for gardening catalogs now, so that you will have something to read and ponder on those looooooong winter nights ahead.

Mark your perennials with permanent tags, or create a map showing their locations so you'll know where and what they are when they die back at the end of the season. This will help you to avoid digging up something you intended to keep when you plant bulbs and plants this fall and next spring.

The birds will soon begin their winter migrations. Give them a helping hand by providing them with some food for their long journey. No one likes to travel on an empty stomach, and you may even persuade a few of them to stick around for the winter, if they know they have a reliable food source!

Continue to watch for insect, or disease damage throughout the garden, and take the necessary steps to control the problem.


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