Gardening season ending, time for clean-up
by Ronella Stagner, Gardening Columnist
Sep 23, 2009 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Your flower garden should be given a final clean-up for the season. Can you believe it’s over? The walks should be properly edged along with all the beds. All weeds, stalks, and leaves should be raked up and removed, not only to present a pleasing front but for sanitation. There’s a lot of disease germs and pests, to say nothing of little critters, that lurk in the cluttered beds. Rake and burn all the debris.

Do not prune your spring flowering shrubs at this time or you won’t have any blooms next year. You can only prune off the tips that hold the old blooms.

Do not fertilize trees or shrubs at this time. Wait until a hard freeze before fertilizing trees.

This is really the season when evergreens are the nearest dormant. Transplant now for best results. Pick off all bag worms and determine to spray at the proper time next year.

Shape up trees and shrubs now while the foliage is on them and you can see what they will look like.

As soon as the foliage turns on deciduous plants, it is safe to transplant; the earlier the better so the roots will have a chance to take hold before cold weather. This turning of the leaves indicates that the sap has receded and the top growth is entering a dormant state. Any newly planted stock, especially if it’s exposed to much wind, should be staked for at least a year to hold it upright.

Magnolias, Dogwood and Birches and some others do better if spring planted.

It’s not the best idea totransplant trees or shrubs from the woods. However, if you must, the chances of success are best now when growth is over for the season. Be sure you can provide the right growing conditions before you take up any plants. You should be able to approximate the exposure, soil and drainage as it was in the woods.

Needless to say, you will need to see that any transplanted stock is well watered before winter.

A good way to stimulate growth in trees next year is to cultivate beneath their branches now. This is specially true of orchards. My Pa always disked around each tree in his orchard and kept it mowed as close as possible partly to give us a good chance to see any copperheads or rattlers. I wonder now how he had such a prolific orchard without benefit of today’s insecticides. The trees were old but each year, he had them pruned by a professional so the two of them must have known what they were doing because he had great crops.

If you are considering enlarging a flower bed or making a new one or just getting grass from around trees so you can mulch, I have a suggestion for you. This is a lazy gardener’s way. I learned this method many years ago and have been continuing ever since. Lay out the size you want the finished bed by spraying the edge with spray paint. Then lay several, eight or more, of newspapers down over the areas. First, mow the grass pretty close. Now wet the newspapers thoroughly and lay bricks or rocks to hold the papers down. When spring comes, the grass and weeds will be dead and gone and the soil will be very soft and easily dug. Then there are two choices. First, you can plant a perennial by digging a hole in the almost rotted papers and plant by only adding some compost. Then, when you have planted all you want, mulch over the old papers. Done! Or you can remove all the papers and dig up the area before planting and then mulch. I, being the lazy gardener, prefer the first method. And it works!

A very good suggestion that has worked for me for a long time is to fill an old bucket with sand and add some used motor oil, a few cans, and mix thoroughly. Then you can store hoes, shovels, metal rakes and any other tools for the winter. Of course, clean off all the dirt first.

Another good idea is to start storing banana peels in your freezer for next year. Or you can also put in any bananas too ripe to use. Put them in a large bag and add as you use bananas all winter.

They are wonderful to add to your flower beds, especially the perennials. I lay them around each plant, two or three, and slightly dig them into the soil. And, this is great too, add one or two to a hole when planting roses. This adds potassium.

My grandmother, who hated winter with a passion, would always quote “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” Ma’s farm work was so hard in winter so it’s understandable that she hated winter but I don’t have cows to milk or chickens to feed and have always hated winter.

(You can reach me at 270-522-3632 or write Ronella Stagner, 137 Main St., Cadiz, KY 42211.)
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