Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November (early November) Garden Talks

Hello again,

Think No-vember is a month for No-Gardening? Well No-Way to that! Here are some gardening tips for this time of year:

*Cleanup is so important. Stay vigilant with your leaves. I grind quite a few of them with my lawn mower. I feed my lawn organically so I have a nice live soil that embraces the chopped up leaves and breaks them down nicely in short order to help make an even better soil for my lawn!

As the leaves really start to tumble I do bag quite a few of the leaves. Most towns will haul away those leaves and turn them into a nice compost that makes it back to many garden centers as compost for us to  buy. Just another way of keeping it local!

*"November is a good time to remove spent canes from raspberries. Use sharp pruning shears to remove this year's fruiting canes, which will have done their job and will not live any longer. Cut them off all the way down to ground level. Removing these canes will help prevent diseases such as cane blight or spur blight from overwintering in the plants. Remove weak or broken canes, and thin remaining canes to about five or six per row foot. (Always leave the strongest ones even if the numbers per row foot aren't perfect.) Thinning reduces competition and results in larger berries next year. Click HERE to read a complete post on Pruning Raspberries.

*Great gardener Margaret of A Way to Garden has some terrific November gardening tips. Check out her web site for her whole list and so many more gardening articles. Here are some very timely tips that stood out to me:

**Clear turf or weeds from the area right around the trunks of fruit trees and ornamentals to reduce winter damage by rodents. Hardware cloth collars should be in place year-round as well.

**Be extra vigilant cleaning up under fruit trees, as fallen fruit and foliage allowed to overwinter invites added troubles next season. Technically mummies (fruit still hanging) should be removed, too, but I like to leave it for the birds.

**Start a pot of paperwhites in potting soil or pebbles and water, and stagger forcing of another batch every couple of weeks for a winterlong display.

**Continue resting AMARYLLIS BULBS in a dry, dark place where they will have no water at all for a couple of months total. I put mine in a little-used closet, and they will come out late this month, since they went in around mid- to late September. Pot up new ones now.

Thanks Margaret! And again I urge you to regularly follow her website, A Way to Garden!

*More on amaryllis: As a rule, amaryllis plants are in bloom by Christmas (or at least heavy bud) if the're potted up in November. Begin with a pot that is about 2" larger in diameter than the bulb itself which allows for a 1" margin all around between the bulb and the pot. The planted bulb should be about 2/3 of the way out of soil, so hold the bulb suspended over the pot, letting the roots hang down and fill in around the bulb with a good quality potting soil (I suggest Coast of Maine's Bar Harbor blend--sold right here at Skillin's!). Water the planted bulb thoroughly and let the excess water drain.

Amaryllis perform at their best with at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day until they flower. They also like warm temps--60 degrees at night and in the 70s during the day. (Who doesn't like that?). Once they flower, move your amaryllis out of the direct sunlight to better preserve the bloom--blooms should last for about 3 weeks!

*Have you been good and active in your garden and done a good job cleaning out those vegetable plants and cut back your worn perennials? Well great job! But if the urge comes to you don't hesitate to spread some compost over these wide open spaces you have created! This is a great step to take now as this compost will break down and benefit your soil. And you SAVE so much time in the Spring by crossing off "Improve Soil in my Garden".

*Raking time is upon us! Now is the time to clean out the leaves from around your perennials and shrubs. Also it is a great time to do any weeding--the more weeds are pulled now the less weeding in the Spring. Later this month when your perennial beds are clean is an ideal time to mulch around the base of your perennials. The goal is to keep the ground frozen and to prevent too much freezing and thawing around roots of your plants. Read HERE for more timely tips about mulching around your perennials.

*We do recommend all natural Wilt Pruf as a spray for broad leafed evergreens such as rhododendrons and azaleas to help prevent leaf wilting and curling in the winter and early Spring. Wilt Pruf is best applied in November on a nice warm day. Wilt Pruf essentially clogs the open pores of a plant's leaves and this reduces transpiration or moisture loss through the plant's leaves. This coating also helps protect the cells of the leaf against burning wind (much like lip balm protects us). If we get a particularly warm day or two in late February or early March it may be smart to reapply Wilt Pruf then. It also often helps to wrap your tender plants such as hollies, roses as well as evergreens in high wind locations. We burlap for wrapping and also some easy to use Shrub Covers.

*Yes our fall bulbs are indeed on sale at 20% off. Too much snow at the end of October has left us with too many bulbs! One bulb I would definitely recommend you plant is the Snowdrops. (Galanthus). Plant them in a sunny spot and they will reward you with a surprise of nice white and green color when you want that color most--late March or early April. Our friends the Snowdrops are among the first bulbs to flower in the Spring.

*It is time to restock your feeders as our feathered friends will be looking for winter meals. Use good quality food that has mostly sunflower. If you can hang some suet--the extra fat and protein helps to keep our bird friends warm.

*Also consider using a bird bath de icer in a bird bath to keep water going all winter long for your friends. When the water is frozen everywhere birds can labor from being too thirsty. So help them out--we can show you how!

More November Gardening Tips to follow soon!

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
November 8, 2011

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