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GARDENER’S CHECKLIST: Week of November 10, 2022

Already looking ahead to spring? Ron's guide to bulb-planting, garden prep and other horticultural strategies will have you on the right garden path.

* Spend a little time this winter planning a native wildflower garden. They are relatively low-maintenance, and most importantly attract pollinators such as bees or hummingbirds. To prepare the site for such a garden, cover an area of lawn through winter with a tarp, or with newspaper or cardboard topped with a layer of wood chips or shredded leaves. This will kill the grass and ease soil preparation prior to seeding or planting wildflowers. Instead of buying wildflower seed mixes, decide what native plants you’d like and buy packets of individual species or seedlings for spring planting.

* Look for late season bargains on spring flowering bulbs.  As long as the ground isn’t frozen, bulbs can still be planted.   Include some minor bulbs such as snow crocus, Serbian squill, glory of the snow, snowdrops, and Puschkinia for early bloom.

Look for some late season bargains now on bulbs for early spring flowers such as these snowdrops.

* Don’t be in a rush to pull up broccoli or mustard plants that have bolted, that is to say, produced flowers. The pollen and nectar in these flowers are a food source for bees and other pollinators now preparing for winter hibernation. There’s not much else in bloom at this time of year.

* “Don’t cut down the shoots of perennials with seed heads.”  This checklist item is in quotations because I have to credit my wife with that edict….uh, ‘suggestion’.  It came after she observed chickadees, goldfinches, and juncos feeding on seeds of aster, coneflower, coreopsis, rudbeckia, and yarrow in our garden.  I shall obey her, except for plants which had problems with pests and diseases this year.

* Break apart mounds that were created by ants.  Mound-building ants have been quite common in recent years, at least in our gardens.  The ants, most likely Allegheny mound ants or black field ants, are beneficial; they prey on some pest insects.  However, their mound-building activity is damaging to plant roots.  An application of a bait-formulated ant insecticide can be effective in reducing their numbers, but Ohio State University entomologists suggest that repeated disruption of the mounds will persuade the ants to seek refuge somewhere else.   

A blend of shredded leaves, grass clippings, and manure tossed into a trash can will decompose through the winter and provide compost for spring planting activities.

* Mow over tree leaves remaining on lawns. Attach a grass catcher to your mower to collect the shredded leaves and grass clippings, or simply rake them up. Place the mix of leaves and clippings in a trash can. If you can get your hands on some manure, add a small amount to the mix. Next, moisten the mix but do not saturate it. Store the can in a garage or basement for the winter. Periodically, use a garden fork to stir the leaves in the garbage can. This allows for some airflow and speeds up the composting process. By next spring, this effort now should provide a good amount of compost to use as a potting mix or seed-starting mix.

* Never shower alone. Bring a houseplant into the shower with you.  Regular showers or sponge bath will remove dust from the plant leaves and keep leaf pores clear.

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THE LAZY BERKSHIRE GARDENER: Week of June 20, 2024

It seems this week has all the important gardening tasks scheduled for early morning.

THE SELF-TAUGHT GARDENER: Editing the view

A good editor knows what to excise, and what to enhance. With that in mind, I grabbed my chainsaw, and removed a magnolia.

THE LAZY BERKSHIRE GARDENER: Week of June 13, 2024

Be lazy and take time to enjoy the flowers and the wildlife they support.

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.