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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of October 21, 2019
  • Consider ‘Abundance’, ‘General Sikorski’, ‘Polish Spirit’ or ‘Viola’ as a beautiful clematis to combine with a rose in the garden for a lovely display of color.
  • Remove tomato support stakes and cages from the vegetable garden.  Clean and store for use next year.
  • Don’t leave any remnants of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in the garden.  By doing so, it will deter cabbage worms in next year’s crop.
  • Gently rub your thumb and forefinger on the foliage of mint to release the fragrance of spearmint or peppermint.  If peppermint is a favorite, consider adding peppermint geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum) to the garden.  Its large, furry leaves make it almost impossible to resist.
  • Begin removing fallen leaves and garden debris that could harbor disease or insect pests.
  • If there are small trees or shrubs that will need transplanting in the spring next year, sever half the roots in a circle 2’ from the truck in preparation of early spring transplanting.
  • Collect seeds from annuals and perennials that you wish to grow next year.
  • When working in the gardens this fall, use hoes and rakes that have long handles to avoid bending or stopping.
  • While preparing your gardens for winter this year, focus on removing diseased or damaged vegetation but leave foliage on tender plants to provide protection against freezing temperatures.  Butterflies and other insects spend their winters in plant stalks so leave some standing to protect next year’s beneficial insects.
  • Inspect, clean and make repairs as needed to cold frames and hoop structures preparing them for use next season.
  • Clean up all dropped fruit from fruit trees as well as fallen leaves.
  • When considering a spot to plant bulbs in the garden, ensure that it is well drained with pH of 6 – 6.8.   Spring flowering bulbs thrive in full sun, however, light shade will be fine.  When planting, add a bulb booster to improve the longevity of the bulbs and fertilizer, something specifically prepared for bulbs or an all-purpose 10-10-10 is important.
  • An important spring food source for bees, pussy willows offer the first pollen available in many areas. Pussy willows have separate male and female plants so plant males because they are the only ones that produce pollen if providing food for bees is the main goal.  Thriving in full sun to part shade, wet to average soil and blooming in early spring, pussy willows are hardy in zones 4-9.

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