Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


In the garden. Nov. Mulch trees; try an indoor garden The Monitor's monthly garden calendar is based on length of growing seasons.

October 29, 1985



Geraniums Home gardeners who dug spuds in wet weather should check tubers now for any rot. One bad one can ruin entire crop in storage. November has some bright sunny days when temperature can soar to the 60s. Keep your dry beans in glass jugs after heating in oven at 125 to 130 degrees F. for 1/2 hour. This destroys any weevil larvae and assures dryness. Dry beans won't freeze so you can store in unheated room. How's your pot of parsley doing? Yellow leaves? Start a new one from see ds. Be patient, they germinate slowly. Keep moist and at 65 to 68 degrees F., with opaque cover over seed box. After transplanting, grow in bright window. If you set out evergreens in a windy spot, use a burlap screen to help them through the winter. Don't wrap too tightly or mildew can form on needles and cause shedding. Looking for a good Christmas gift for someone who's fond of nuts? Give a year's subscription to The Nut Kernel, official publication of Pennsylvania Nut Growers A ssociation ($5 per year). Write to W. George Land III, Editor, Herndon, Pa. 17830. Great bargain for anyone living in zones A, B, C, and D. Sort out some clay pots and mix up another batch of potting soil for winter use. Also, get a bag of soilless mix from the garden store so when your green thumbs get itchy you can start some cuttings or seeds. Squirt a little water on those geraniums you brought indoors. They'll keep well in tubs of peat moss in a basement window or in a cool ro om (about 50 degreees F.). Some water every couple of weeks will help them keep going until February when they should be cut back. You can take a few 3-inch cuttings now, strip off all leaves but top ones, and root in peat moss or perlite. Rooting cuttings

Skip to next paragraph

Fruit and nut trees can get a coating of white latex house paint, starting at the ground to 5 feet up the trunk. This prevents winter sunscald as it reflects the sun's rays. Is your garden hose drained for winter? A little water left inside can freeze and rupture the sides. Be sure to dig dahlia tubers before ground freezes, but after frost has blackened the tops. Turn bottom side up for few days after cutting off tops, then store in peat moss or wrapped in papers, at a tem perature of 50 degrees F. if possible. When the ground has frozen it's a good time to add some mulch to trees and shrubs. Mulch prevents heaving and thawing of soil, the No. 1 cause of winter killing. Still time to put styrofoam cones over roses for winter. Be sure to put tiny airholes in tops for air drainage. Fall freezes are good to harden rose canes, but if below 10 degrees F., you can get winter injury. Mound earth over base of roses to height of 10 inches if you don't use ros e cones. Climbers that whip in wind can be laid flat on ground and covered with soil to prevent winter burn. Before you put the lawn mower away, make one more cut. Tall grass can mat down in soggy masses, killing grass roots and leaving openings for crab grass and other weeds. Letting tall grass overwinter makes extra work in spring. It's tough to cut, looks brown, and delays greening up. Many shrubs can be started by ``hardwood cuttings'' taken now. These include weigela, currant,

barberry, forsythia, euonymus, and many others. Pack in large milk cartons of moist peat moss or sawdust for 2 or 3 weeks to form a callous, then insert in a cold frame with a sandpeat mixture. Hosta

Why not give some thought to planting a couple of Persian walnut trees (also called English, Carpathian, and French)? They make fine landscape trees, bear fairly early (5th or 6th year) and will take temperatures as low as 25 degrees F. Pep up your compost pile with a few bushels of well rotted manure, plus a sprinkling of wood ashes. Don't add wood ashes annually to your garden as they may make the soil too alkaline. Buy yourself a simple pH (acidity) tester for Christmas.

Learn to use it for testing soil. It's very simple. White patches of cotton on African violets mean woolly aphids or mealy bugs, close cousins and both sapsuckers. Put piece of cotton ball on end of toothpick, dip in alcohol, and swab each cottony mass. Still time to plant fall-flowering Saffron crocus (Crocus sativus). Although there is a white-flowered one, the lilac-flowered are more common. They have blood-red, scented stigmas (female floral part), which are the source of the saffron, used as an herb and for coloring sauces, cakes, butter, etc. Although supply is limited, you can find these natives of Asia Minor in most mail-order bulb catalogs. If you grow figs in a tub, move them into the garage for the winter. Non-tubbed figs can be buried in a trench and covered with cornstalks (and tarp if it gets unseasonably cold). Just dig soil away from roots on one side so it can be bent over into the trench on the opposite side. After mid-month plant sweet peas, calendula, swe et alyssum, cosmos, and snapdragon in flower beds, which you have worked up earlier in the month. Snip off dead chrysanthemum foliage after blooming. Also cut back leaves of hostas, iris, day lilies, peonies, delphiniums, and other perennials after they brown and die down.