~ November 12, 2008 ~
Not Good Gardening Weather...
It certainly has been chilly this past week. I am trying to
adjust to the colder temperatures. I am making sure that when
I venture out that I am properly dressed. Sweatshirt, coat,
hat, gloves, you get the picture. I always tend to overdo it.
I am not one to take the chance of being too cold. Haven't these
last few days been miserable? Damp, dark, cold and windy. Three
of those four words have no place in my vocabulary. Seriously, you
know it is bad when you get out of bed in the morning, take a look
outside and, once you have a feel for what it is like, you just go
back to bed. For those of you who know
me or who have been reading the Savvygardener newsletter for sometime
know that this is not my favorite time of the year. Ok, enough
complaining but I must say that I feel better after ranting about the
Did anyone else get startled by the lightning and thunder early Tuesday
morning? I was awakened at around 2:30 AM by a bright flash and a thunderous
roar. I sleepily said to Kevin, "Was that lightning and thunder?" To which he replied,
"What do you think it was?" Always a funny guy. I can always count on
him for a good laugh even in the middle of the night. Not only was there lightning
and thunder but rain and plenty of it. I was pleased to hear the downpour. We
can always stand a good amount of moisture going into winter.
During the winter months, rabbits often gnaw on the bark of
many woody plants. Heavy browsing can result in the complete
girdling of small trees and small branches clipped off at snow
level. Apple, pear, crabapple and serviceberry are frequent
targets of rabbits. Small trees with smooth, thin bark are the
most vulnerable. Other frequently damaged plants include the
winged euonymus or burning bush, Japanese barberry, dogwood,
roses and raspberries.
The best way to prevent rabbit damage to young trees is to place a
cylinder of hardware cloth (1/4 inch mesh wire fencing) around
the tree trunk. The hardware cloth cylinder should stand about 1
to 2 inches from the tree trunk and 20 inches above the ground.
The bottom 2 to 3 inches should be buried beneath the soil. Small
shrubs, roses and raspberries can be protected with chicken wire
Now that we've got a couple of killing frosts under our belts
it's time to do some cutting back of dormant perennials. Cut
them back to about 3 inches above the soil surface. Once the
ground is frozen, they can be mulched to guard against
displacement due to soil heaving. These simple steps will help
ensure a successful show of foliage and color next season.
Well Watered For Winter...
For maximum winter protection, Savvygardeners need to water landscape
evergreens thoroughly once every week or so until the ground freezes.
Evergreens continue to lose moisture from their foliage all winter,
but once the ground is frozen, they'll be unable to take up enough
water to replace it. Sending them into winter well watered reduces the
potential for damaged foliage. There's more... broadleaved and
tender evergreens exposed to drying winds and sun may need to be
shaded on the south and southwest sides to reduce moisture loss
and foliage injury.
Cold Storage At Your Feet...
Need a good place to store root crops? Just look down! Carrots, radishes,
turnips and Jerusalem artichokes store well outdoors in the ground. Just
before the ground freezes, bury them under a deep layer of leaves or straw
to protect the ground from freezing. Simply harvest them as needed during
winter by pulling back this protective mulch and digging them up. Just make
sure you replace the mulch after each visit!
Note: This is not an effective storage method where rodents, rabbits, or
other critters are present and hungry.
When Fruits And Vegetables Don't Get Along...
If you decide to store your vegetables indoors (instead of in the ground like
we mentioned above) make sure you don't place them with any apples or pears.
As they sit these fruits give off ethylene gas which speeds up the breakdown
of vegetables and causes them to develop off-flavors. Yuck!
Preparing for Winter...
Each year we are asked for a reminder of what to do to prepare for winter.
While recent temperatures have been up and down, there is no doubt that permanent
cold weather is around the corner. Take advantage of the current mild weather and
prepare for winter now, while you can still work in relative comfort outdoors!
You'll find a handy checklist in our feature article,
Preparing for Winter in the Garden...
Wild Things In Lawns...
Wild onion and wild garlic are difficult-to-control weeds. These weeds look
very similar to the garden variety onion except the stems of the wild type
are much thinner and do not grow as tall as the garden variety. The most
effective method for controlling onion and garlic is to create a dense
turf through proper fertilization and regular mowing, thereby making these
weeds less noticeable and less problematic.
Wild onion and garlic die back to underground bulbs during early summer, but
bulbs will germinate during the fall and winter. Selective chemical control
is difficult and normally ineffective, so co-existing with these plants is
often the best choice. One method is to apply 2,4-D immediately after mowing
so the herbicide can enter through the cut leaves. This will usually burn back
the leaves but may not kill the underground bulb, thus multiple years of
applications will be needed.
"The snow reminded me of the beauty and mystery of
creation, of the essential joy that is life."
~ from Snow , a novel by Orhan Pamuk