October-November 2014 Tips

Stinkbugs have already been making their way into your homes. If you vacuum them up please remember to burn the bag when you are finished. There are also traps available to control their population. I simply use a Kleenex or paper towel to smash them and then I flush them down the toilet. Please make sure, in any case, that they are dead before disposing of them. Do not just toss them outside. You will create problems for yourself or your neighbors for the coming spring and summer.

If you have a fall-winter garden your Swiss chard, kale, collards, carrots, cabbage, beets, arugula and radicchio should all be planted and in the process of harvesting now. This is also the time to plant blackberry, strawberry and raspberry plants. Garlic bulbs may also go into the ground now. If you are unable to find a source it is easy to go to the grocery store and purchase organic garlic. You may keep your basic herbs, such as lemon verbena, rosemary, thyme, parsley and tarragon, growing throughout the winter in a sunny spot in your home.

It is time to put the majority of your garden to bed though you may have brassicas still producing. Plants that are not killed by frost are preparing to become dormant. Annual plants, both flower and vegetable, need to be cut back to prevent insect eggs and pathogens from wintering over. Cut back your perennials after a hard frost to make your gardens more attractive throughout the fall and winter months. Spread a 5″ to 6″ layer of mulch to protect dormant plants. Leaves are excellent for this and compost, too. Gather up your garden debris and place it in your compost. Be sure to turn the pile often to keep it hot. This kills the weed seeds and insect eggs.

Some bulbs you may want to consider planting now are hyacinths, tulips and Narcissus. Some lovely hyacinths to consider are Blue Jacket, and Carnegie. Miss Saigon is also quite beautiful. A fantastic double tulip by the name of Lilac Perfection closely resembles a peony. Finola and Verona are also quite striking! Finally, two Narcissus I recommend are Apricot Whirl which features a split corona, and Rip Van Winkle. Lift your bulbs which need to be separated if you have not done so already. Remember some bulbs should not be left in the ground because they will not over-winter.