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GARDENER’S CHECKLIST: Week of October 27, 2022

This week, Ron Kujawski rolls up his sleeves to take on the critters, advises how best to salvage and protect spring flowering bulbs, gets proactive with outdoor mulching and straw-covering, and generally sorts you out just in time for the first hard freeze.

* Cut down some of the tall ornamental grasses and use them as winter mulch in perennial borders. These grasses are coarse and won’t pack down the way maple leaves would. 

* Button up, Buttercup! That is, button up your house—many insects, including Asian lady beetles, box elder bugs, western conifer seed bugs and stink bugs are anxious to share your warm living space this winter. Can’t button up?  Then suck ‘em up with the vacuum and discard the contents.

Try your best to seal up openings through which insects such as this Asian lady beetle and western conifer seed bug can enter your domain.

* Store spring flowering bulbs in a cool corner of the garage or in the refrigerator if unable to plant them now. Planting can be done any time before the ground freezes.

* Dig up gladiolus plants, i.e. leaves and the bulb-like structures called corms. Place these in a warm, dry place to cure for a few weeks. In two weeks I’ll update the next steps prior to storing the corms for winter.

* When planning to create or expand an existing flower and/or shrub border, use spray paint to mark out an area of lawn where sod will be removed. Removal is a little easier now since the weather is cool and the soil is moist.

Spray paint is helpful in marking out areas of the lawn to be de-sodded when preparing a new plant bed.

* Once they are naked, carefully examine deciduous trees and look for dead wood, crisscrossing limbs, broken branches, and other maladies. Remove the branches that can be reached from the ground and make note of those beyond reach. Hire a certified arborist to remove those damaged branches high into the tree.

* Store your harvest but do not store fruits and vegetables together. Fruit absorb odors from potatoes and certain other vegetables. On the other hand, you may like onion-flavored apples. 

* Don’t toss stored onions that have started to sprout. Instead, select a few to pot up and continue growing. The shoots can then be cut and used in any recipe calling for green onions or scallions.

Pot up sprouting onions and grow on for snips of green onion to use in recipes.

* Separate the cloves of garlic bulbs just before planting. Plant each clove 3 inches deep and 6 inches apart, in rows that are 18-24 inches apart. After planting, cover the garlic with about a 6 inch deep layer of straw.

* Place a deep layer of straw over root crops before the ground freezes. With the protection of mulch, these crops can be harvested well into winter.

* Pay attention to poorly growing house plants. Those looking sickly are probably pot-bound. Remove the plants from their pots and, if the roots appear as an entangled mesh all around the soil ball, gently tease them apart and replant in pots at least two inches larger in top diameter.

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But Not To Produce.

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The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.