Saturday, October 01, 2011

MONTH BY MONTH IN THE GARDEN

JANUARY

Start looking for those wonderful gardening catalogues!

Start a gardening journal. You can use a notebook, a calendar or even a real gardening journal you buy at the book store!

This is a good time to check old seeds for viability. While you're there, paste a label on the envelope indicating when they should be planted, and whether they need soaking first. Then sort them according to that timetable!

Your indoor plants get pretty dry at this time of year. Try misting them. (Don't mist African Violets, however!) All plants should be watered sparingly during the winter. Standing them in a tray of wet gravel is a wonderful treat for any indoor plants in the winter.
Turn indoor plants every week or so in order to keep their growth even.

Check those indoor plants for insects and give them a soapy bath if you find any!

Remove any heavy snow from evergreens. Be careful! If it is icy, wait until it melts.

Try stamping a circle around the trunks of fruit trees that might be vulnerable to rodent damage.

Put your Christmas tree outside to provide shelter for the birds.
You can also smear the branches with peanut butter mixed with corn meal.
The birds will love it!

Another use for that tree would be to cut some boughs off and lay them on top of your flower beds to add extra protection.

Keep those bird feeders full.

Any questions about January?





FEBRUARY

Bring home some wonderful blooming flowers to enjoy around the house!

Look around the garden (if it isn't covered by snow) and be sure none of your perennials have been heaved out of the ground by frost. If they have, press them back down.

Remove any heavy snow from the evergreens.

This is the time to get out and take a good look at your trees to see if they could stand some pruning. It is easy to see whether there are broken or diseased branches now that there are no leaves.

Are you ordering from those catalogs? This is the time to plan on making your dreams come true! At least in the garden.

As you look around the neighborhood, make note of plants that have "winter interest". Find out what they are and plan to add them to your garden when the weather is better!

Trees are easy to identify in the winter because all the leaves are gone. However, you have no leaves to use to help you either...so go to the book store and buy a Winter Tree Identification Guide. It's kind of fun identifying trees by their shapes, and the kids love doing it as well.

If you haven't done it already, sharpen those tools-and while you're at it, organize them as well.

Before you know it, it will be time to roll out the lawn mower. Has it been serviced? Get it to the shop before everyone else beats you to it.

If you have grapes, prune the vines now. If you wait until it begins to warm up, they will "bleed".


If you start vegetable seeds this month or next, try using clear topped take-home trays that you get leftovers in, from restaurants. They work really well!

Force some of your spring blooming twigs for indoor color. Try fruit trees, forsythia, dogwood, pussy willow and quince. Just bring them inside and allow them to sit in a large vase with water.


Keep those bird feeders full.

Be sure to keep the leaves of indoor plants "dusted". It helps to wipe them with a damp cloth to keep the pores open.

Any questions about February?






MARCH

Be sure to fertilize that poinsettia.

Check your stored bulbs to be sure they're not being eaten by
mice.

Also, remove forced bulbs from cold storage. Put them in a cool place until they begin to sprout, then bring them into the place you want to have them bloom.

This is a good time to buy summer blooming bulbs.

Start seeds inside.

Begonias can be started in peat moss.

If you haven't done so yet, start planning a new garden!

This is a good time to send in a soil sample for testing...if you can get to it!

If you have a lawn, this is a good time to send the mower in for
a tune-up.

Fruit trees should be pruned of dead and diseased branches. Check
a reference book and give them a general pruning as well.

It is time for Dormant Pruning. This is the process whereby you prune the trees while they are in a dormant (non-growing) state.

Keep your pruning shears away from spring blooming trees and shrubs, except to
snip a few for inside forcing!
(Although you should certainly remove dead and diseased branches.) Some good forcing candidates are: cherry, apple, dogwood and forsythia. Just remember that whatever you cut off now will not be blooming in a few months!

Cut back woody perennials like artemesia, lavender and russian sage to about 6 inches from the ground.

Talk about pruning shears...sharpen them before using.

If any of your plants are frost-heaved, gently push them back into the ground.

Any questions about March?






APRIL

This is a good time to get that soil tested. Then there will be time to amend it before the season gets into full swing!

Edge your flower beds to rid yourself of invading lawn rhizomes. Toss the edgings from this into the compost.

Rebar, the steel bars used to reinforce concrete and masonry, make great garden stakes. They're inexpensive, strong and durable and they come in a variety of sizes. You can find them in any building supply store.

Start up your lawn mower so you know it doesn't need a trip to the repair shop before grass cutting time. Also be sure the blades are SHARP.

Sharpen your other tools while you are at it!

The lawn would appreciate a good fertilizing at this time.

Avoid working in the garden unless the soil breaks up in your
hand if you squeeze a lump of it.

Instead, turn your compost (assuming it is no longer frozen!)

Hummingbirds begin to appear this month in some places. Clean
the feeders and hang them for the "early birds"

Sow peas in the ground as soon as the frost is gone

Continue with the tree pruning. Get rid of dead and diseased limbs

As soon as your shrubs are done blooming, prune them as well.

You can prune your berry bushes-check a reference or
ask me

This is a good time to pull out weed trees and old bramble branches. They tend to yank out easily because the soil is still soft and moist.

Remove mulch from strawberries

Put your trellis systems and peony supports into place.

Pansies and other cold weather annuals can now be planted outside

It is the time to divide and plant perennials as well as cutting any of last years remaining growth away. It's known as good housekeeping in the garden!

If you have any bare root plants going into the garden, soak them overnight before planting. Also be sure to trim off any super long or broken roots.

If you winter mulch your garden beds, begin to remove mulch when forsythia and daffodils bloom.

Try planting scented flowers near walks!

It's probably a good time to remove bird-feeders to discourage those bears!

Any questions about April?






MAY

Tulips should be dead-headed(remove spent flower)

The grass can be mowed when it reaches 3-4 inches (sorry, but
it IS that time again!) When you do cut it, set the mower to 2 1/2 to 3 inches.

Hold off mulching until the soil is warm, or you'll just keep
the cold in!

You can now plant lettuce, beans, corn and carrots right in the
soil.

Tomatoes can be planted when the lilacs bloom. You might sprinkle
a teaspoon of Epsom salts into the hole where they go to provide magnesium.

Marigolds, zinnias and even nasturtiums are good to plant in and around
your vegetables as well as the flower beds. They repel insects!

You can begin to plant gladiolas at 2 week intervals.

This is a good time to weed dandelions, before they flower and set seed!

You can fertilize any bulbs that are up.

Stake your peonies before they get too big. This applies to other tall growing plants. Get the stakes in the ground before they get too tall. (Remember to try rebar.)

Cut back your tall perennials like bee balm and phlox to control their height.

Harvest rhubarb by grabbing it at the base of the stalk and pulling firmly away from the crown, twisting just a bit. Be sure to throw the leaves into the compost as they are poisonous!

You can prune your spring blooming shrubs just as soon as the flowers have faded.

Dead head your lilacs.

Check your lilies for red lily leaf beetles. CRUSH them!

Don't forget to dead head your bulbs as well. Leave the foliage, but take out the spent flower heads.

Have you got Hosta's? Are there slugs chewing them? Try this solution, if you haven't already.
Combine 9 parts water to common household ammonia and spray it on the hosta just before dark. When the slugs hit this, they will dissolve!

Check the apple, cherry, and other fruit trees for nests of tent caterpillars. As soon as the tender, new leaves emerge, so will the caterpillars. Their destruction is just awful! Bt will work if you can get it up there. I also understand that the Praying Mantis is a big time enemy of tent caterpillars. Perhaps you should order some of those! They should be released into the affected tree at the same time the caterpillars emerge. If you place them before their dinner appears, they will find another yard to in which to chow down.

If you have to spray insecticide, do it AFTER bloom is finished to protect the bees!

Plant Annuals no sooner than May 30th!

Any questions about May?



JUNE

Plant your window boxes

Prune spring flowering shrubs when they have finished blooming

Thin seedlings

Use balanced, organic fertilizers around flowers

Be sure to fertilize your annuals with liquid fertilizer. They'll thank you for it by blooming continuously!

Stake tall perennials and tomatoes

Use a pine needle mulch for blueberries

Be sure your lawn mower is set to cut the grass HIGH

After the iris are done blooming they can be divided

Gladiolus corms can be planted

Dead-head (prune off) spent flowers from plants and shrubs

Remove rhubarb seed stalks as they form.

Cutting back perennials such as dianthus, veronica and other similar shrubby varieties, will possibly produce a second blooming. How great would that be? They'll also look better!

You can make softwood cuttings of shrubs this month through July.

You may still plant container grown shrubs

Plant broccoli seed for fall harvest.

If you have a water garden, there's still time to plant water
lilies.

House plants can soon be moved outside to a shady, protected spot.

These same houseplants can be lightly fed with half strength
fertilizer.

Mulch perennials and roses to keep down weeds and conserve moisture.

Look for Jap. beetles either early or late in the day and shake them into a bucket of soapy water. The reason you don't do it mid-day is because they'll out run you!

Any annuals can be safely set out now.

If you have an amaryllis, now would be the time to move it outside.

Pinch the leading stems of your chrysanthemum's to encourage them to
be bushier and have more blossoms. Continue doing this every 6 inches
or so, as they grow.

If you have apple trees, hang red sticky-ball traps to control apple maggot flies. Small trees can get by with 2 balls. Larger trees should probably have 4-6 balls.

Stop cutting asparagus when the new spears get pinkie-finger thin. Let them grow into ferns instead. It will feed the roots.

Side-Dress Veggies to give them a little boost

Have you got Hosta's? Are there slugs chewing them? Try this solution, if you haven't already.
Combine 9 parts water to 1 part common household ammonia and spray it on the hosta just before dark. When the slugs hit this, they will dissolve!

Are you remembering to turn the compost every once in a while? You should also wet it down if the hose is close by. Doing this will help it decompose quicker although it will eventually happen anyway!

Mow down any daffodil drifts as they die down.

Order your bulbs so they arrive in time to plant in the autumn.

Any questions about June?




JULY

Order spring bulbs now for the best selection

Fertilize plants growing in containers

Direct seed kale seed for fall harvest

Sow a fall crop of peas

Pinch basil plants to promote bushiness

Side dress vegetables with nitrogen

If your vegetables are not yielding as much as you'd like, plant some high nectar flowers in the vegetable garden to attract more bees and other pollinators.

Pict the zucchini while it's young and tender.

Put nets over blueberries to protect them from birds. While you're there, give them a little fertilizer as well.

Remove fruiting raspberry canes after you've harvested the berries.

Control the growth of strawberry runners. If you don't trim them back to where you want them, they will be all leaves and no berries!

Dead-head (prune off) all your spent blossoms

It's a good time to sow seed of biennials and perennials

Cut back delphiniums when they are finished flowering. A complete
fertilizer at this time may encourage a second blooming.

Chrysanthemums will give a better fall display if fertilized a
bit now. You can continue pinching them back until mid-July for more blooms.

Try planting a clump of moisture loving Japanese iris where it can catch the water dripping from your air conditioner!

Madonna lilies should be divided as soon as the flowering period
is over.

Oriental poppies may be moved. Summer is the only time of the
year they can be divided successfully. Dig up the roots and cut them into 2 inch pieces and replant them in their new location.

Dahlias require little artificial watering in a normal season,
but should be soaked once a week during drought

Water your roses at least once a week

Floribunda roses will flower all summer if the old flower clusters
are snipped off regularly

This is the time for transplanting iris. Trim back foliage and only replant healthy, firm rhizomes. Set them quite close to the surface!

In fact, this is the best time to divide spring blooming perennials.

Start cuttings of coleus, geraniums, begonias and other plants
you want inside
for the winter.

The snow-in-summer should be pruned hard as it makes such rapid
growth at this time

When you trim deciduous hedges(ie,privot)be sure the sides slope out toward the bottom to be sure that sunlight reaches the base of the plants.

Wisteria's may be pruned now

Be sure that you dead-head all your daylilies. They will attempt do make seeds if you don't do this. You want them to build stronger roots. Daylilies will bloom more profusely next time if you remove spent blooms. Dead heading will also give you the possibility of a "re-bloom"!

This is a good time to attack Poison Ivy! Using discardable plastic gloves, cut the stems and paint the open wound with an herbicide on a HOT, SUNNY day!

Have you got Hosta's? Are there slugs chewing them? Try this solution, if you haven't already.
Combine 9 parts water to 1 part common household ammonia and spray it on the hosta just before dark. When the slugs hit this, they will dissolve!

When you weed, grab the flowering ones first so they don't go to seed and spread! Then go after the tallest ones that are just taking over your other plants. Pick on the little guys last.

Watch for tomato hornworm and hand pick them.



Any questions about July?




AUGUST

Make some notes on what you need to add to next years garden while
you can see what's blooming!

Dig potatoes after the tops have died down.

Prune off those strawberry runners to keep your strawberry bed orderly.

Buy fall mums.

Water any newly planted shrubs and trees.

Stop pruning shrubs.

Don't fertilize anymore until the leaves begin to change color. If you fertilize late in the summer, it causes a flush of growth which will probably be "nipped" by frost. So, hold off a bit.

Water evergreens thoroughly during dry weather.

Sow forget-me-not seed. The make an attractive carpet planting
for tulip beds

This is also a good time to sow poppy seeds! August sown seed gives richer-colored flowers, so give that a try.

Cut off foliage of bleeding heart, which has probably become unsightly.

Apply fertilizer around peonies and scratch it into the soil. If you want to transplant or divide them, this would be the time.

Treat for Powdery Mildew. Try this recipe: 1 1/2 tablespoon baking soda, 1 gallon of water and 2-3 tablespoons of horticultural oil. Spray it on all the susceptible plants every other week or so.

Plant colchicum's and fall crocuses.

Order your bulbs if you haven't already!

Cuttings from English Ivy now will produce good house plants for
winter.

Are you remembering the lawn mower should be set at 2 1/2 to 3 inches to help the grass stay hydrated? Cutting the grass lower will be very stressful!

Reseed any bare spots in the lawn with some mixed grass seed varieties. Be sure to pick a mixture that is best for your conditions.

If you have an amaryllis outside, now would be the time to think about
bringing it inside.

Still time to sow lettuces and greens, carrots, beets and turnips (don't worry about how big they get...they ALL taste wonderful while still immature!) Then of course, there are radishes. Be sure to keep all of these well watered, also, a bit of mulch will keep the tender roots cool. As far as avoiding early frosts, a row cover will help there!

Get some netting over the blueberries! Remember the birds and small animals are great at crawling UNDER and THROUGH the netting. Try staking it so they can't reach the berries from the outside. If they get in, you'll live to regret it. Talk about a mess!!!

Have you got Hosta's? Are there slugs chewing them? Try this solution, if you haven't already.
Combine 9 parts water to 1 part common household ammonia and spray it on the hosta just before dark. When the slugs hit this, they will dissolve!

Your plants in hanging baskets and containers have been roaring through the nutrients in their soil. It's time to give them a trim and a good feeding to help them continue to flourish.

It's a good time to plant perennials, shrubs and trees. This will allow them to establish some good roots before the ground freezes.

Any questions about August?







SEPTEMBER

Seed or over seed new lawns before the leaves begin to fall.

Fertilize your perennials and shrubs... it will help them make
it through the winter.

To keep your bulbs in top-notch condition while giving you lots of flowers, scatter a 5-10-20 fertilizer on top of the ground above them.

Japanese Beetles lay eggs at about this time, so treat your lawn with beneficial nematodes that will control the grubs.

Stop pruning shrubs. This will encourage new growth, which should be avoided. Any new stuff will be nipped by frost which is NOT good for the plant!

If you haven't divided your herbaceous perennials, such as daylilies, irises, hostas and peonies, get it done soon. Remember the soil is still nice and warm even if the temperature drops at night. It allows the roots time to settle in and establish themselves before winter sets in! This is what makes fall such a good time to plant!

Plant some fall mums!

Allowing hips to form on your roses tells the plant to harden off for winter. So, you should probably stop picking the blooms for the table!

Water your peonies and shrubs very heavily. It will have to last
until spring.

This is the time to divide peonies.

Put all your non-diseased plant debris in the compost bin,
adding a bit of soil as well, to help get the chemistry moving!

If you haven't done a soil test... now is the time. Call your
local Extension Office for information.

Dig up your gladiola, dahlia and tuberous begonia corms.

Lily bulbs become dormant this time of year, so it's time to move or divide them right now. The bulbs are "fleshy" so treat them gently. Replant them at the same depth as they were before and remember they like well drained, soft soil. If there are little bulbs present, separate them and plant them at about 3 times their height.

Poinesttias should now be put in their dark corner for at least 16 hours each day in order to set up their bracts to be colorful by Christmas time.

I would suggest that you begin removing blossoms from your tomato plants. This will tell the plant it's time to ripen up the tomatoes left on the vine, and stop putting out more. (Unless you want green tomatoes, that is!)

Watch for migrating Monarch Butterflies that are beginning to head south to spend the winter in Mexico.

Also, look for Broad-Winged Hawks that are migrating about now.

Start preparing your indoor plants to come back inside, being sure they are in before frost. You need to be sure they don't have insects hiding anywhere. You also want to clean off the pots, especially if they were sunken into the soil for their summer sojourn!

Your amaryllis can come inside and go into a dark, cool corner.

Take down your Hummingbird feeders at the end of the month, if you haven't already.

BULBS! PLANT THEM! And by the way, try this website for ALL kinds of information about what, when, and HOW to plant the bulbs in your area!

Any questions about September?




OCTOBER

You can still plant spring bulbs.

Scatter a slow-release fertilizer (formulated especially for bulbs) on top of the soil after planting the bulbs. Remember to scatter this fertilizer over other beds of bulbs as well.

If you have gladiolus, this is the time to dig the corms up.

This is a wonderful time to fertilize both lawn and garden

Plant cool and warm-season lawns

Move worm bins to basement or garage to maintain at least 40* through the winter months

Divide a clump of chives and bring indoors

If you haven't lifted your dahlias yet, this would be the time!

Bring any plants that are growing in containers inside for the
winter. If they are hardy enough to remain outside all winter, tip the pots on their sides so any accumulated water will drain out. Although they should be able to stand the temperatures, ice can definitely be a problem!

Be sure to bring clay pots inside so they don't freeze causing cracking.

Reduce feeding houseplants(do not feed dormant houseplants)

Start a dish of paperwhites, and if you want a winterlong indoor display, plant a few more every other week.

Give your compost pile a final turning.

Try to keep the fallen leaves raked off the lawn. Put them in
the compost, shredding them first if possible, or mix them really well as they tend to compact.

Be sure that you have removed any foliage from your Iris plants. This foliage, if not discarded, can harbor Iris Borers over the winter. You surely don't want to see them in the spring!

You can plant garlic now for next years harvest. It's the perfect time to order and plant them so they have time to begin growing roots before winter sets in.

Mark any perennials you want to separate so you can find them
next spring.

Clean and oil your tools so they won't rust over the winter.

Plant container and balled-and-burlapped trees, fruit trees, shrubs and vines.

Put some rodent protection around the trunks of new trees. This can be in the form of hardware cloth or other substances you can get in the garden center or hardware store. This will protect the trunks from damage over the winter from hungry little critters.

Other trees can also be planted now.

Keep watering the shrubs and evergreens.

Plant container roses and prune your hybrid tea roses. Start preparing your roses for winter. They should be mulched when the ground begins to freeze.

If your roses had signs of black spot or other foliage diseases you should remove the the leaves so it doesn't recur again next year. Once a hard freeze has beaten down your garden, remove the leaves from the affected roses, as well as any mulch that might have remnants of those infected leaves, and throw it into the garbage (NOT the compost-you do not want to spread it throughout the garden next year). Bite the bullet and add new winter mulch.

Cut back your perennials and put the foliage in the compost as long is it's not diseased. If there is green at the base, leave about 4-5 inches of leaves.

Try to leave about 4 inches of stem on the lilies you cut back. In the spring, they appear rather late. By leaving some of the stem, you'll know where they are hiding in the garden!

Leave the ornamental grasses. They look quite attractive in the winter garden.

Sow seeds for frost-tolerant perennials

Try using evergreen boughs over your shrubs to provide winter
protection. They can be forced into the ground before the ground freezes, draping their branches over the shrubs.

You can of course, also protect evergreens with burlap barriers. Do NOT use plastic!

Pull out your annuals and put them in the compost

It's time to store your hoses inside. Remember to drain them first
so they don't freeze and split!

Bring in any annual geraniums! Potted, in a sunny spot they will bloom all winter. Or hang them upside down (with the dirt removed) in a cool spot like the garage, or basement.

Get those bird feeders up! Be sure you have cleaned them first!

Any questions about October?






NOVEMBER

Now's the time to plant paperweight narcissus, hyacinths and amaryllis (indoors) for beautiful color and aroma on New Year's Day!

If you've had enough freezing days to render the ground hard,
begin to mulch roses and other shrubs, etc.

Putting wire guards on the bases of tree trunks will prevent mouse
damage.

Wrap plants in burlap for winter protection. Do NOT use plastic!
They can't breathe any better inside plastic than you can.

If you haven't fertilized your lawn or garden yet, now's the time!

Use anti-desiccant to prevent loss of water during the long winter if you haven't already.

It's a good idea to be sure your power equipment works properly. Now is the best time to take them to the shop for repairs and upkeep.

Wrap the trunks of smaller trees with plastic wrap, or wire mesh to protect them from rodents.

Add leaves and the last bits of cut grass to the compost.

Cover your compost heap or bin with plastic to keep the nutrients from being leached out from winter rain and snow.

Water your trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.

As you do that, check them for diseased foliage and remove it. Remember anything diseased should go into the garbage, NOT the compost.

If you have any left over bulbs, for goodness sake PLANT THEM NOW!!! (Assuming you live where the ground is still soft enough to plant!)

Are you going to have a live Christmas Tree? Dig the hole now, then cover the hole and the dirt you removed, so you can easily plant it when the time comes.

Any questions about November?






DECEMBER

If you can, dig a hole to put your live holiday tree in. Store the soil you dig out in the garage, or other non-frozen place so you can just dump it into the hole after the tree is planted!

Have you made "tee-pee's" to cover your smaller shrubs, protecting them from snow loads? Be sure they are out in the garden, doing their job! You can also wrap the plants, or shrubs in burlap.

Plant your pre-cooled bulbs in pots for some wonderful indoor color. Put them first in a cool and dark spot to begin growing roots. Water them, so they don't dry out.

Remove decorative foil from gift plants. Set the plants into waterproof containers, after placing a layer of gravel in the bottom (of the outside pot) so the plant doesn't sit in water. Plants are far more harmed by too MUCH water, than too little!

Poinsettias should be in moist, NOT wet soil.

Fertilize houseplants.

If you haven't done it yet, put stakes around your gardens bordering driveways and roads where plowed snow might harm them. The stakes will guide the plow elsewhere!

Save hardwood ashes to amend the soil in the spring. If your compost pile is not covered, the ashes can go right in there.

Think about gardening tools, equipment and books as Christmas gifts.

Go to a gardening seminar.

Take a gardening break!

Any questions about December?



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