Wrap it up, folks: A few season-ending chores remain

With November on today’s calendar, this is the last chance to wrap up some of those tasks that have been niggling at us.

Any perennials you have been planning to cut back should be done now. They are much easier to chop down while they are still green, rather than waiting until they are brown and slimy. I know some people prefer to leave them through the winter as wildlife shelter, but I am always aware of the smaller wildlife such as slugs, earwigs and the like that settle in for the winter, as well.

There is still time to plant daffodils, and you may pick up some bargains as vendors need to make space for their Christmas specials.

Check on climbing plants and be sure they are securely attached to their support before those icy winds arrive. I will have an easier job this year because Tom and I have “pruned” back the New Dawn rose that almost covered the front of the house. It had become a bird sanctuary, preventing me from sitting on the porch, and making things unpleasant for the mailman.

The daily need to wash down the cement was burdensome; I either had to start selling the large amount of guano I scraped up every morning or do away with the perches. It looks very bare, but I am sure buds will still appear in the spring.

Check evergreens for bagworms. They look like pinecones from a distance and can easily be overlooked.

All the digging that can be managed in the vegetable beds will make things that much easier in the spring. I had most of mine finished, or so I thought, and then this beautiful fall weather encouraged another crop of weeds to pop up.

But who’s complaining? The recent frosts are taking care of them.

I am waiting for the ornamental cherry tree in the front of the house to drop its leaves and form a natural mulch there in the shade garden. There’s no sense in raking up the leaves, putting them in a compost pile and then taking the result out next year and spreading it. Mother Nature will do the job just as well while they rest on the ground.

Caladiums need to be dug out, cleaned off and kept in dry storage until spring. Mine were beautiful this summer, and I want to be sure they survive for another year. Wrap them in brown paper or hang in a potato/onion bag in a dry place.

Keep an eye on house plants for whitefly, aphids, scale or mites. Indoor conditions with dry air, warm conditions and hot and cold blasts from open doors all encourage insect invasions as eggs that were brought inside may hatch. Provide as much light as possible, adequate humidity from a spray bottle where necessary and a rinse in the shower or under the tap in the sink once in a while.

And above all, look out of the window and make notes about improvements you plan to make next year.

Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program.

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