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
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.
In case your winter is severe, wrap climbing roses in straw or burlap or remove from trellis and place on ground and cover with straw. Warm weather in fall prevents wood from hardening off, making it vulnerable to unseasonal cold snaps. November is a fine time to work up ornamental beds for another show in '86. Scatter on bone meal or wood ashes and space or till under. Both contain potash, a material that helps annuals and perennials form stiff stems and firm blooms. Mulch
blueberries with pine needles, peat moss, or shredded bark as these materials are somewhat acid and they also keep soil moist, important requirements for blueberry culture. When picking pumpkins and winter squash, cook and freeze any with cuts and bruises to keep from spoiling in storage. Give fruits, bushes, and shrubs a final soaking before winter sets in. Add mulch around base of trees, but keep at least 6 inches from trunk so mice and voles won't eat bark. Hardware cloth, heavy aluminum fo il, or one of the patented tree guards should be put around young trees to protect from rodent damage. Leggy houseplants can be nipped back now to induce bushiness. Try growing a coffee tree from seed. Coffae arabica makes an excellent houseplant, with waxy green leaves, fragrant star-shaped flowers, and bright red berries. Buy unroasted seeds from an organic food supply store.
Check garden stores for potted camellias if you don't already have one or more. One in bloom can be a breathtaking sight. Tubbed camellias can be moved indoors when frost threatens. They like a moist, acid soil, rich in organic matter. Along with cole crops and other hard vegetables, try some short day-length onions such as Granex, especially bred to form bulbs during short days of fall and early winter. There's still time to plant garlic and shallots. If regular garlic is too strong, try Elephant garlic . Establish a planting of top onions, also called Walking or Egyptian onions. Spinach is a vegetable that takes mildly frosty weather, and one variety that does fine in Region E is Dixie Market. Chinese cabbage can be mighty tasty in holiday salads (it's good cooked, as well). Ornamental cabbage and kale (also called flowering cabbage and kale because of showy pink or white leaves) will give you beauty all winter and spring. Start pots of parsley, basil, and sweet marjoram, which can easily be moved inside when frost threatens. Pot some outdoor geranium plants and cut back the tops to 4 inches above the pot. Make 3-inch cuttings from these stems and root some for yourself and fr iends by sticking them in moist perlite or vermiculite. Parent plants will throw out new growth for late winter and spring bloom. Add some Dutch iris bulbs to your flower beds for early spring bouquets and sow some seeds of Shirley poppies for later bloom. Fall-sown sweet peas will reward you with earlier fragrant blooms that will last longer during the cool weather of early spring. Dig shallow trenches and cover the seeds with 11/2 inches of loose soil. Spicy Globe basil
In frost-susceptible areas of region F, glads are likely being dug for storage. If they produced foliage and blooms that shriveled and turned brown, give corms a special storage treatment. Make sure stems are cut off close to the necks. Dust the corms with Sevin and store in a cool, dry place in paper bags or wooden trays. Leave skins on. In frost-free areas, glad bulbs can be planted now. To be sure bulbs are free from thrips, soak in a disinfectant solution (11/4 tablespoons per gallon of water) f or 3 hours and plant while still wet. Check seed catalogs for a new basil called Spicy Globe. It makes compact mounds 10 inches tall, without pinching. It's more flavorful and fragrant than other basils. Grow in pots on windowsills or use for ornamental edging for borders and beds. Garden stores in frost-free areas are full of annual flower and vegetable plants. When planting, be sure to water well and add a mulch to bring them through dry weather. Try starting cactus and succulents ind oors. These durable and popular plants are easily started from seeds. Start with a seed mix of the fast-growing types to ``get the feel.'' Use equal parts sand, sphagnum peat, and perlite for starting mix. Keep moist (by subirrigation) and well lighted. The best starting temperature is about 72 degrees F. Include Living Stones (Lithops). These stemless African plants with ``windows'' admit light to plant interior, resemble stones, and are good ``conversation pieces.'' Polka Dot plants (Hy poestes) make excellent pot plants or outdoor edging plants.