From Al Krismer Plant Farm
-- November Garden Tips
Dear Gardening Enthusiast,
So dull and dark are the November days.
The lazy mist high up the evening curled,
And now the morn quite hides in smoke and haze;
The place we occupy seems all the world.
- John Clare, November
Many think that in November all is finished in the garden,
but this is not so. Protected annuals and even some roses
have survived the frosts so far and bloom on. Local crops of
lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower are being
harvested and enjoyed by many for Thanksgiving dinner. Take
advantage of all the fresh pumpkins and apples for those
Expect December newsletter to arrive early next month. It
will be chock full of advice for the holidays.
the holiday with these Thanksgiving recipes
Forward these garden tips to a friend
November Garden Tips
- Grow paperwhite narcissus indoors by placing bulbs
about halfway down in moist potting soil or in a shallow
pot filled with pebbles. After leaves begin to grow,
place pots near a sunny window. Water regularly, and
bulbs should begin to flower within 6 weeks. Bulbs won't
rebloom in subsequent years, so throw them away after
the flowers fade
Give your paperwhites a holiday toast and keep them
Click here or details
- Pot up amaryllis bulbs for spectacular holiday
blooms. Pick a pot so there is no more than 2-3 inches
between the bulb and the side of the pot. Amaryllis like
to be pot bound. Plant so that one third of the bulb is
above the soil level. Water well and place in sunny
area. Only water when soil is dry. Overwatering will
cause bulbs to rot.
- If you haven't planted bulbs of daffodils, tulips,
or other spring flowers, there's still time to do it.
Most bulbs need at least a half day of sun, but don't
despair if your yard is shaded by deciduous trees. Bulbs
may be planted into late November as long as the ground
can be worked.
here for bulb planting tips
- As a rule of thumb, plant bulbs about 3 times as
deep as their height (i.e., plant 2" bulb 6 inches deep.
For video on planting bulbs
- If you have a problem with squirrels digging up your
bulbs, try one or more of these strategies: plant bulbs
a couple of inches deeper than the standard
recommendation; spray bulbs with Ropel before planting
them; place a layer of crushed oyster shells a few
inches above the bulbs when planting them; lay chicken
wire or a similar wire barrier over the bulbs on the top
of the soil or pot.
- Wait until spring to cut back ornamental grasses.
The seed heads and grasses will add interest to the
winter landscape. Plus they will attract birds. Cut the
foliage back to about 4-6 inches in the spring before
new growth starts.
For a video on winterizing perennials
- Till your beds in fall to improve soil structure and
to allow crops to be planted earlier in the spring.
Tilling also exposes insect eggs to weather and reduces
insect populations for next year. This is also a good
time to add organic matter to the soil.
- Be sure not to store apples or pears with
vegetables. The fruits give off ethylene gas which
speeds up the breakdown of vegetables and will cause
them to develop off flavors.
- The "cole crops", broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and
Brussels sprouts continue to grow well in cold
weather and can be harvested as long as they are
producing. Leave a portion of the stem in the ground
when harvesting the main "head" of broccoli, cauliflower
and cabbage because smaller ones will form just below
the point where the first ones were cut off.
- Add a 2-3 inch layer of organic matter to the
vegetable garden and till or dig into the soil. Organic
matter will decompose and garden will be ready for
planting in the spring.
- You can dry herbs quickly in the
microwave oven. Place them between two paper
towels and heat for one minute. Remove, let cool, and
then test to see if the leaves are crisp. If not, return
them to the oven for a few more seconds. Store in jars
in a dark place to retain color and flavor.
- After the first killing frost, cut back blackened
leaves and stems of perennials, pull annuals and neaten
the garden for the winter. Rake and discard leaves from
any trees, shrubs or flowers which suffered serious
fungal outbreaks this year (such as black spot, leaf
spot or powdery mildew). Do not put them in the compost
pile. Cleaning up the leaves and getting rid of them
will help prevent outbreaks next year, since spores can
overwinter and reinfect new foliage when it emerges next
spring. Candidates include roses, dogwoods, photon,
phlox, beebalm and peonies.
More tips on
winterizing the garden
- Rake up all leaves and place them on a compost heap.
If left on paths they become a hazard when the colder
- Remove soil from terra cotta containers. These
containers can crack when filled with soil in our cold
winter temperatures. Plastic and wooden containers are
much less likely to crack.
- Don't forget to drain and store hoses. Shut off and
drain outdoor water taps (after giving your garden one
last good soaking before winter
- Wooden handles on tools require special care to keep
them in shape. Sand the handles, if necessary, then
apply a coat of bright-colored, water-resistant paint to
keep the wood from drying out and prevent shrinking or
splitting. Brightly colored handles are easier to see if
tools are accidentally left out in the garden.
- Before you put the mower away for the year, empty
the gas completely and clean the filter,check the oil
and change the spark plug once a year, at least.Before
working under a mower disconnect the spark plug.
Check the following two websites for winterizing tips
your equipment to sleep
Winterizing lawn mowers
- Using a special additive (available at hardware
stores) in the gas tank will help keep moisture out and
the gasoline from breaking down as much over winter. Add
a few drops of oil to the cylinder, and change the oil
- Continue to water trees and shrubs if needed until
the ground freezes. Evergreens will better survive cold
winter temperatures if they have been well watered
- To prevent sunscald (winter sunburn on bark) and
frost cracking on young, thin-barked trees, such as
maples, wrap the trunks with tree wrap or paint the
south- and southwest-facing sides of the trunk with
white, outdoor, latex paint. This will reflect the
warming rays of the sun so the tree bark doesn't heat up
on winter days, only to be suddenly cooled when the sun
sets and the temperature plummets
- Make sure evergreens such as yews and rhododendrons
have a good deep watering before the ground freezes.
They often lose water through leaves in winter,
especially if windy, yet can't take up more because of
frozen ground. Protect young evergreens from wind damage
during winter by wrapping them in burlap. If you use
wooden protectors, it's not too soon to bring them out.
- Once the ground begins to freeze and you have
consistent temperatures in the low 20s (F), it's time to
protect modern hybrid roses from winter's wind and cold.
Protect the graft union on rose bushes by mounding soil
around the plants and adding mulch on top. Wait until
several killing frosts have occurred so plants will be
dormant when covered. Plants covered too early may be
smothered. If you have voles or field mice nearby, you
may want to mulch with compost or soil instead of
tips click here
- Dig the hole now if you plan to have a live
Christmas tree inside during the holidays. Dig a
hole two to three times the width of the root ball. Move
the soil from the hole into the garage so it won't
freeze. Place leaves in the hole to keep the surrounding
- Protect evergreens from harsh winter winds by
building a simple windscreen. Position the posts on the
sides most prone to winds (generally the west and north)
and wrap with burlap. Don't use plastic as this will
heat up, causing the plants to fry on sunny days.
Continue to water evergreens until the ground freezes.
- Commercial tree guards or protective collars made of
18-inch high hardware cloth will prevent trunk injury to
fruit trees from gnawing rabbits and rodents.
here for more info
- Leaves should be raked off lawns or chopped up
finely to fall amid the grass. Leaves left on the grass
block sunlight from the grass. For grass plants that
were growing beneath tree limbs, this is the first crack
at sunlight they've had for a long time. Don't block it.
here for more fall lawn tips
- If your grass has been getting cut at 2 1/2", you
can drop the mower to 2" for the last fall mowings.
Likewise, 3" lawns can go to 2 1/2".
- Lawn cutting is probably over for this year, so
clean the mower thoroughly . Scrape off soil and old
grass. Cover all metal parts with a thin layer of oil or
grease, then store mower in a dry area.
- Another lawn problem that can be very visible early
next spring is vole, or field mouse, damage. These
animals will leave a series of winding trails in the
grass as they burrow under snow cover. Cleaning up
leaves and mowing until the end of the season will help
minimize damage. In addition, remove any excess
vegetative debris near lawn areas, as it could be cover
- Even though the turfgrass foliage stops growing in
late fall, the roots continue to absorb and utilize
nutrients. A late fall fertilization (late October to
early November) helps promote root growth and produces
an early green up next spring. Apply 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Good sources
of nitrogen for late fall fertilization include urea,
sulfur-coated urea, and IBDU
- If you have a deep water garden that will not freeze
solid, hardy water lilies and lotus can be left in the
water, as long as you sink them to deeper water for the
duration of the winter. However, if you have a small or
shallow water garden that freezes solid, they will need
to be brought indoors for dormant storage, much like
non-hardy marginal plants.
here for more tips for fall pond care
- Keep pond free of leaves and other debris by using a
netting or other material. If possible, submersible
pumps should be removed and cleaned of debris and stored
inside. Biofilters, likewise, should be cleaned and
stored away for the winter.
- Back-flush or clean filters as needed to keep
ammonia at a minimum. Test water for ammonia and nitrite
- As the water temperature drops your fish will become
less active. At water temperatures below 50o fish become
almost motionless, hibernating in the deepest and
warmest part of the pond. Fish are the most attractive
at this time of the year because the decrease in the
water temperature intensifies their coloration
- Submersible pumps that are turned off for the winter
should be kept in water. Allowing a pump to dry can
reduce the lifespan of the pump.
- This is a good time to stock up on birdseed for the
winter. Black oil sunflower seed is preferred by most
species although you might want to provide
niger or thistle seed for finches and suet for
woodpeckers and chickadees. Blue jays (and squirrels,
too) like corn--shelled, cracked, or dried on the cob.
Provide a source of water, if possible, preferably a
heated bird bath with covered heating element and an
automatic shut-off valve or heat cycling on-off switch.
The first protects the birds from injury to their feet,
the second will prevent damage to the birdbath if goes
dry. Use a grounded, three pronged outlet to prevent the
possibility of electrocution. Place a flat piece of
shale over the heating element to will provide a warm
rock for birds to perch on to rest or drink.
- Clean your birdfeeders in preparation for the winter
bird feeding season. Wash feeders with hot, soapy water
and soak and rinse with a solution of one part liquid
household bleach in nine parts of warm water. Clean
feeders twice a month during the winter.
- For more tips on fall feeding for birds
- Prevent rabbit and rodent feeding damage by erecting
physical barriers, such as metal mesh (one-quarter-inch)
hardware cloth. Pull mulch a few inches away from the
trunk, as the mulch provides a warm winter home for
rodents. Chemical repellents also are available, but
their effectiveness is temporary and not foolproof.
Tasty Thanksgiving recipes
Monthly Garden Tips are sent out by Al Krismer Plant Farm by
the 15th of each month. Previous garden tips are archived.
Please go to our home page at
www.krismers.com for selection.
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