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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of Nov. 4


Use this warm fall weather to clean up your garden. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Time for clean-up; help your garden make that seasonal transition



Does your garden look like fall -- or is it still hanging onto summer?

Warm weather keeps that summer feeling hanging on, along with some tomato vines and squash. But those old vines can become hiding places for a wide assortment of insects, looking for somewhere to overwinter.

If you haven't already, it's time to clean up those summer remainders. Pull faded annuals and vegetables. Prune dead or broken branches from trees.

Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

Other tasks to tackle in early November:
* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.
* For larger blooms, pinch off some camellia buds.
* After they bloom, chrysanthemums should be trimmed to 6 to 8 inches above the ground. If in pots, keep the mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.
* Keep planting bulbs to spread out your spring bloom. Some possible suggestions: Daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.
* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.
* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.
* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now. Plant garlic and onions.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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