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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of October 28, 2019
  • For great flavor, add tarragon to long-cooking soups and stews during the last 15 minutes.  Delicious!
  • To aid against cabbageworms next season, put floating row covers in place over transplants immediately after planting.  Use a fabric that is both ultra-lightweight as well as sun and water permeable.  Keep in place until harvest.
  • Basil (Ocimum spp.) will attract bees but only if allowed to bloom.  Basil is, however, an excellent choice for planting in-between other food crops to attract beneficial insects for both pollination and pest control.  If attracting bees is a priority, plant basil in masses.
  • Bulbs look best when planted in large clusters.  Keep smaller bulbs separated by 2”-3” and larger bulbs separated by 4” – 6”.
  • Replace winter trees guards for sun protection on young fruit trees.
  • Create a compost pile using both “green” ingredients such as spent foliage of pumpkins, squash, beans and carrots, which are nitrogen-rich, and “brown” ingredients like straw and leaves.  Use 2-3 times as many “brown” ingredients as green to help it to heat up quickly and become a finished compost by spring.
  • If you must cut back your perennials for the winter, it has been suggested that the cuttings be used as mulch on garden beds so that the insects and other wildlife can complete their life cycle and emerge safely in the spring.
  • Plan on planting garlic before mid-November.  Separate the large, healthy cloves from a garlic bulb and plant them with the pointed end up approximately 2” deep and 5” apart.
  • Lift tender bulbs such as gladiola, dahlia and canna with a garden fork after they’ve been blackened by frost.  Cut off the tops, label them and let them dry in the sun.  Don’t shake off all of the soil.  After they’ve dried, store gladioli in open trays and store dahlias in a box of very slightly damp peat moss.
  • Unhook and drain garden hoses completely.  Roll them up and store them off the ground for the winter.
  • Don’t cut down hydrangeas with colored flowers or they won’t bloom in the spring.  You can cut off the flower heads for neatness.

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