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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of October 7, 2019
  • Cut leaves from culinary herbs and put them in the freezer for winter use.
  • Now is a great time to lift and divide crowded clumps of spring and summer-blooming perennials.  Transplant them into open areas of the gardens.
  • Empty window boxes into the compost pile.  Freshen up the look of them by adding in a beautiful fall display of mums, ornamental kale and cabbages.
  • Create a garden space where children love to touch the plants.  Consider wooly-leaved lamb’s ears (stachys byzzantina) for its irresistible, soft foliage with a silvery or grayish cast or choose ‘Big Ears’ whose foliage is larger allowing more to touch!
  • Start a compost pile, if you don’t already have one, this fall.  Simply pile up leaves and organic debris in an out-of-the-way space in the yard.  Plan on turning the pile once a month to speed up composting.
  • Do not remove the outer skins on onion, shallots and garlic when storing them for the winter.  These papery skins protect the bulbs from dehydration.
  • Harvest pumpkins when the rind is hard and the color is a uniformly, deep orange.  If a longer storage life if preferred, leave 2” of stems attached to the fruit when harvesting.
  • Clematis in beautiful shades of yellow include ‘Aureolin’, ‘rehderiana’, ‘tangutica’, and ‘Bill MacKenzie’.
  • For a delicious, mixed herb rice add 2 teaspoons each of thyme, basil and rosemary and 2 tablespoons of parsley.  Enjoy!
  • To hull the seeds of sunflowers, place a half cup full of seeds in a plastic bag and roll over them several times with a rolling pin.  Empty the bag into a bowl of water and remove the shells that float to the top.  (The hulls contain chemicals that may affect the growth of other plants, so don’t add them to the compost pile.)  Drain the kernels in a colander, air dry completely, and store in an airtight container.
  • Apply a thick mulch to newly planted blueberries, ideally pine needles (for acidity).  Always weed by hand at the base of the plants to avoid disturbing shallow roots.
  • Consider cutting hydrangeas that have dried and bringing them into the house.

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