Monday, October 27, 2008

Late-fall garden tasks

From the Home Depot Garden Club:

Late-fall is a busy time in the garden. Northern gardeners are working to put their gardens to bed for the winter, while green thumbs in the South are cultivating cool-season gardens. Here's a to-do list to help keep your outdoor space looking great through autumn and winter — and to get a head start on spring.

In Northern climates (roughly to zone 6), now's the time to prepare your garden for its dormancy, and to protect your outdoor furniture from the elements. Divide the tasks over a few evenings and weekends so the work is less daunting. Use our handy checklist to keep you on track as you wind things down outside.

· Test garden soil pH and nutrient levels, using a do-it-yourself kit — and amend soil as required. · If you haven't already done so, spread mulch around trees, shrubs and perennials to insulate them through cold weather.
· Wrap tender trees and shrubs in burlap.
· Clean and oil gardening tools.
· Hose off and scrub pots with hot, soapy water and a bristled brush. Let them air-dry, then store in your garden or shed to prevent them from freezing and shattering in the cold.
· Bury potted trees and shrubs to insulate roots. Dig a deep hole or trench in a protected area and set the pot in. Top with soil and a layer of dry leaves.
· Lift and store dahlias, tuberous begonia, caladium, gladioli, etc.
· Disconnect and store seasonal water features. For year-round fishponds, you should have already stopped feeding your fish in early fall, or as soon as the temperature drops below 43°F. Now is also the time to remove any dead plant debris, install a bubbler for oxygen intake, and move delicate fish like butterfly koi and lionhead goldfish indoors. Cover your pond with a mesh screen to keep leaves and debris out.

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