Prepare your garden now for the winter chill

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A gardening newsletter featuring Ask & Share and our friends at HGTV Gardens

  • October Ask & Share Highlights
  • Getting Bulbs Ready for Winter
  • Cleaning and Storing Garden Tools
  • Putting the Flower Garden to Bed
  • Tips & Tricks

  • Leaves are changing color, days are getting shorter, and there’s a chill in the air — all signs to gardeners that it’s time to start preparing for the cold winter months ahead. Whether you’re planting bulbs, raking leaves, tidying up the flower garden or cleaning and sharpening tools, there’s still a lot to keep a gardener busy as the growing season winds down in most parts of the country. Check out our suggestions for easy ways to put your garden to bed this fall in preparation for a dazzling show next spring and summer.

    Ask & Share Community Highlights

    Sue asked:
    I have a mandevilla and want to overwinter it indoors. My basement is a constant 62 degrees. Can I put it there and water it occasionally or should it be kept upstairs?

    NGA answered:
    If you don’t have a sunny window in which to grow your mandevilla over the winter, you can let it go dormant so it won’t need light and then store in in your cool basement. MORE

    Bren asked:
    Let’s share gardening myths. What are some of the zaniest tips on gardening you have ever heard?

    Bill answered:
    Bury a rusty nail under your hydrangeas and they will change color. Drop chewing gum in vole holes to kill them. Thunder in February, frost in April! MORE

    Getting Bulbs Ready for Winter
    Now is the time to get spring flowering bulbs in the ground. It’s also time to dig up and store tender summer-flowering bulbs if your climate is too cold for these bulbs to overwinter in the ground. Your efforts this fall will help you experience a special show of color next growing season.

    Read the full article>>>

    From our friends at HGTV Gardens
    Cleaning and Storing Garden Tools

    Sharp blades ensure cleaner cuts when pruning and trimming. Pruners need frequent sharpening, as pruning soon blunts the blade. Good-quality models are easy to take apart, which makes cleaning and sharpening easier, and allows a damaged blade to be replaced. Knives are often better than pruners for delicate jobs, and should be cleaned, oiled, and sharpened in the same way.

    Read the full article from HGTV Gardens>>>

    Putting the Flower Garden to Bed

    It’s official — fall has arrived! There’s a wonderful, cool edge to the air these days that tells me it’s time to prepare the garden (and myself) for a rest. My friend Cayce lives in San Jose, California, land of eternal gardening. It’s a beautiful place, but I don’t envy her. In my cold winter climate, I look forward to the respite that comes with the change of seasons, and I’m excited at the prospect of getting ready for it. Call me crazy, but I like having a concrete goal to reach for.

    Read the full article>>>

     NGA’s Tips & Tricks

    Remove and Destroy Bearded Iris Foliage

    Iris borers, probably the most destructive pest of this flower, survive the winter as eggs in old iris foliage and plant debris at the base of the stalks. To reduce problems next spring, cut down and destroy all old leaves, stems, and any nearby plant debris after the first hard frost, when the female moths have stopped laying eggs. Put material in the trash or bury or burn it; don’t add it to your compost pile.

    Mow, Don’t Rake Leaves

    Want to make your life easier and help your soil at the same time? If there is just a thin layer of leaves on the lawn, chop them in place with your mower rather than raking them up. The small pieces of leaves will sift down between the blades of grass, releasing nutrients and improving the soil as they decompose. A mulching mower works best, but any rotary mower with a sharp blade will get the job done. If you have too deep a layer of leaves for this technique, collect the chopped leaves in the mower’s collection bag. Use the resulting mixture of leaves and grass clippings to make some great compost.

    Keep Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs Watered

    Unless Mother Nature obliges with a soaking rain, keep watering any trees, shrubs and perennials that were newly planted this growing season until the ground freezes. This is especially important for newly planted evergreen trees and shrubs. In fact, it’s a good idea to give your established evergreens a good soaking in late fall as well. Going into winter with a well-hydrated root system will help them come through the winter in the best shape.

    Join Ask & Share for more great information from the experts at NGA, our friends at HGTV Gardens, and real gardeners just like you!

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