From the Desk of Ed Hume: November Garden Projects
Planting spring flowering bulbs, feeding the lawn, and fall garden clean-up head the list of things to do in the garden this month. What you can accomplish now should help to improve the appearance of the lawn and garden and hopefully cut down on garden maintenance next spring.
Remember, if you want to enjoy the beauty of the spring flowering tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, and other spring bulbs they need to be planted this fall. Actually they should have been planted in September or October, but there’s still time to get them into the ground this month too! Prepare the planting soil by mixing bulb fertilizer and compost or some other form of organic humus with your existing soil. Plant the bulbs at a depth of three times the width of the bulb. For example, a tulip bulb that is 2 inches wide should be planted 6 inches deep. Crocus bulbs that are seldom an inch across can be planted at 2 to 3 inches deep.
When I plant bulbs I simply dig a hole about 12 to 15 inches wide, then place 10 to 15 bulbs into the planting hole. Be certain to space the bulbs so they do not touch each other. Then in spring when the bulbs come into bloom, I have this beautiful cluster of bulb flowers. And if my wife wants to pick a few for an arrangement, it’s OK because it doesn’t ruin the display in the garden.
If you haven’t fertilized the lawn with a fall or winter type of lawn fertilizer this is a good time to do it! Fall feeding encourages good root growth and of course the better root system your turf has, the easier it should be to keep it looking nice. Of course, read and follow application directions as outlined on the fertilizer bag.
Right now is also a good time to begin cleaning up the garden to get it ready for the colder winter weather ahead. As you do this be on the look out for slugs. This is the time of year when they are looking for their winter resting place. The more you can eliminate the less slugs you’ll have to contend with next year.
Leaves that have fallen to the ground can be added to the compost pile or used to mulch tender plants. If you have a vegetable garden, you can spade or till them into the soil for added organic humus.
If needed, later this month the stone fruits like peaches, apricots, and plums can be pruned. Wait until January or February to prune your apples and pears.
The dead and dying stalks of perennials can be cut back now. Likewise, you can cut back the stalks of dahlias and glads. You should dig and winterize (bring into a cool storage area) your dahlias and any other tender bulbs or plants.
Finally, take time to eliminate the weeds in all parts of the garden. I’ve noticed that many are still flowering and going to seed. If you don’t eliminate them now you will be fighting the germination of those weed seeds for years to come.