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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of September 24, 2018
  • Sort through bulbs of garlic and choose the best bulbs as stock for replanting next month.  When making the selections, look for bulbs that have a good shape with no distortions or abnormalities and are clean and free of disease.
  • Sow seeds of winter rye in vacant spaces of the vegetable garden.  Seed at a rate of two to three pounds per 1,000 square feet.  After scattering the seed over the soil, gently rake the areas to establish good soil to seed contact.  The winter rye will survive the northern winters and will continue to grow in the spring.  It must, however, be turned over approximately 10 days prior to planting of crops.
  • Strawberry plants will appreciate going into their winter dormancy well hydrated.  Water the plants well if the soil gets dry at any time during the next four weeks.
  • Keep the vegetable garden clean of leaves and stems as you prepare it for winter.  Disease and insect infestations will reoccur if cleaning is not completed.  Bury all diseased plants in a remote corner away from the garden.  The rest of the debris may be tossed into the compost pile.
  • There is a new compact variety of physocarpus opulifolius (Ninebark) named ‘Little Joker’.  Blooming from spring into early summer, pale pink button shaped flowers appear on burgundy foliage.  The combination is striking!  Growing only 4’ tall and wide, it is perfect for small spaces.  Thriving in part shade to full sun, ‘Little Joker’ is hardy in zones 3-7.
  • A climbing rose, introduced in 1966, is often forgotten but should not be overlooked.  Rosa ‘Altissimo’ climbing rose produces large, 5” across, single, red blooms.  With consistent deadheading, it will rebloom.  It is disease resistant as well.  Thriving in full sun, ‘Altissimo’ is hardy in zones 5-9.
  • Take cuttings from coleus, annual geraniums and begonias to propagate favorite varieties.  Young plants do much better indoors over the winter than mature ones.
  • Autumn is a wonderful time for lawn maintenance.  Applications of fertilizer between now and November will help build roots for winter survival and green up the lawns sooner in the spring.

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