Fall is finally here, bringing pleasant outdoor gardening weather. The first frosts and freezes are not far away. Shorter days and cold fronts confirm the season change. Make sure that you are ready for the first freeze, which is usually around November 15th. I’ve listed a few chores for November below.
- Bring houseplants in for the winter. You should place them in a sunny location, where you can keep up the humidity. Water your plants when soil is slightly dry. Don’t allow water to collect in saucers, or roots could rot.
- Add a little color to your flower beds. Plant pansies, dianthus, snapdragons, alyssum, ornamental kale and cabbage. You can also plant trees, shrubs, rose bushes and perennials. Planting now will ensure better sur- vival next spring/summer.
- Plant herbs and winter vegetables like cilantro, parsley, dill, mint, lavender and rosemary. Start onion sets, leeks and garlic now for a spring harvest.
- Protect your plants by watering them well before it freezes. This will help insulate them. Have sheets and blankets, and prepare any necessary structures ahead of time. Secure covers at ground level to keep the heat inside. An inexpensive way to protect smaller plants is to use a milk jug or a large coke bottle. Simply cut the bottom, and push into the ground. Make sure that it will not blow away, and remove the top for air circulation. Remove any covers used as soon as the weather warms, so your plants do not cook.
- Get that mulch down before the weather gets too cold. This will protect roots and maintain moisture while keeping weeds to a minimum. Put down a 3” think layer of mulch—pine straw, bark mulch, compost, leaves.
- Prepare your lawn for winter. Over seed your lawn with perennial rye grass. It is winter rye that will have your lawn looking like a golf course. It’s time to winterize your lawn. Use a broadcast spreader to fertilize your lawn with a slow release 15-5-10 fertilizer.
- Do not let wet leaves collect on your lawn. They will block beneficial sunlight, keeping grass wet and in- creasing the chances of disease. Mow regularly to shred leaves or rake them. Leaves and grass clippings are the best ingredients for your compost pile.