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GARDENER’S CHECKLIST: Week of November 3, 2022

If it's brown, cut it down. This and many more pithy and practical observations from Ron Kujawski, who reminds us that a pest's work is never done, that Calendula seeds can still self-sow if you let them, and how becoming a garden cartographer can save you time and aggravation next spring.

* Make a sketch of the past season’s vegetable garden. It doesn’t have to be a Rembrandt, just a rough map indicating where each crop was planted. Use this sketch next spring to plan rotation of crops within the garden. Crop rotation is an important step in reducing pest and disease problems. I’ll bet Rembrandt didn’t know that or he would have drawn more gardens.

* The fern-like leaves of asparagus are turning brown, so cut them down. This is especially important if the plants have been hosts to asparagus beetles. If the beetles did infest the plants, discard the ferns by burying them, putting them in the trash can, or tossing them onto the burn pile.

* Don’t wait! Sow winter rye as a cover crop in the vegetable garden. The unseasonably warm weather of late should allow for some growth before winter. In any case, they’ll survive the winter and put on some growth before being tilled-under next spring, two weeks before planting any crops.

The seeds on this Calendula will drop to the ground and self-sow for next year’s plants.

* Don’t dig up and discard all of the annuals in flower beds just yet. Allow some of your favorites to self-sow. That is, let a few flowers develop their seeds. These will drop to the ground and produce new plants next year. This works well in beds dedicated to annual flowers. Among my favorites for self-sowing are Calendula, Coreopsis, Cosmos, and Nigella.

* Leave the leaves beneath trees and shrubs in the landscape unless they are smothering grass or herbaceous perennial plants. The leaves provide natural mulch. Couch potatoes will love that tip.

* Remove the sod from new vegetable garden areas and incorporate organic matter and limestone (if soil pH is less than 6.5) into the soil.  By removing sod as opposed to tilling it into the soil, many future weed problems can be eliminated. 

* Pay attention to the weather and to soil moisture until the ground freezes. Though soil moisture levels are good right now, it only takes a few dry and windy days to change that. Shallow-rooted shrubs such as azaleas and rhododendrons, as well as newly planted trees and shrubs, are most vulnerable to winter damage if they have not received sufficient moisture before the ground freezes. So water, and water deeply, if needed.

This yellow sticky card is an effective trap for capturing houseplant pests.

* Closely examine potted plants which were outdoors this summer and have been brought back indoors. Such plants are often inhabited by aphids and other pests. Isolate these plants and spray them with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Keep the plants isolated until the pest problem has been resolved.  A precautionary note: do not expose potted plants treated with soap to direct sunlight for a few days; however, they may be kept under fluorescent lights. An alternative approach is to set up yellow sticky cards in the pots. Sticky cards can be purchased at garden centers or you can make your own by coating yellow index cards with Vaseline or Tanglefoot.


The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.

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


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


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

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.