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More on That garden calendar



  November is the perfect gardening month.  With a little frequent rain we will be able to cultivate vegetable gardens, manage our lawns, create flower beds, establish shrub borders and plant trees of every size. 

     For those of you who have come south from other areas of the country, get ready to garden - this is not like the north - we have no rest time from our garden and landscape.

     If you have procrastinated and not planted your winter rye or fescue lawn, now is the time to cut your existing lawn grass short, aerate  the soil (after some rain), apply seed and fertilizer and keep it moist until the grass emerges.  If you have a good stand of fescue already, then aerate it and fertilize now.

     Digging up those summer vegetable plants?  Now is the time to establish your vegetable beds for next summer by removing all dead vegetation, roto-tilling the soil, adding amendments (best is home compost) and either covering the area with black plastic to solarize the soil or planting a cover crop.  I love greens, so I plant some of my area with turnip greens, spinach, kale, rape, collards or a mixture of greens.  Mine are about 3 inches tall now.  They need thinning so the greens will get large.  I will remove some of the tiny plants and put them in my next vegetable soup.  Yum!  It is also a great time for planting cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower plants.  Try some radish and carrots also.  Mix the two together, spread them thin and the radish seed will germinate fast, breaking the ground for the carrot seed which have a hard time doing so.

     Don’t burn those leaves.  Start a compost pile.  Nature is providing you with a wonderful soil amendment that is free to all.  The local state cooperative extension office will be glad to give you tips on starting a compost pile to recycle nature’s bounty.

    About pruning: let those pruners rest except to just relieve your plants of some straggly limbs.  Heavy pruning should wait until late February so you will not be looking at stubs all winter.  If you prune some plants now, you will encourage new growth which can be killed by a winter freeze, thus making the plant weak and susceptible to problems.  Some plants like nandina, gardenia, hollies, and needle-leafed evergreens are good to prune for Christmas arrangements.  I like to use these foliages throughout the winter months to bring cheer indoors and give my plants a light pruning.  

Fragrant Edgeworthia in Kathy’s Garden in January.                                        Special photo

     Some shrubs to enjoy in your garden that will be blooming in winter are Camellia japonica (Camellia sasanqua is blooming now), Edgeworthia, Daphne odora,  Witchhazel, Wintersweet, Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima), Forsythia, and Quince.

     Hope you have planted your violas, pansies, and snapdragons for winter color.  If not, do so soon - the garden centers are full of ideas for adding winter color to your garden.



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