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There’s still work to be done GARDEN TIPS

Published: Thu, November 30, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m.


OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer


Temperatures are dipping, and leaves are still falling, so there’s still work to be done in the garden.

It’s been a tough, wet fall for many of us to get the last-minute chores done. I think many of us will have Christmas lights up before we’re done in the garden. That’s especially true if you have oak trees. They are beautiful all year, but those trees are some of the last to drop leaves.

Be sure to take advantage of each nice day. There is still time to tackle last-minute garden cleanup in preparation for the deep freeze.

Making a last pass at the lawn and leaves provides valuable material for the compost pile and it reduces the potential for snow mold.

The shorter the grass is – 2 to 3 inches – when it stops growing, the less likely it is to mat down which encourages snow-mold development.

Shipping pallets are a great way of setting up bays in which to place the mulched leaves and grass to begin the decomposition process.

Flying HIGH Urban Farm, a local community garden located on the grounds of the old Cafaro Hospital near Youngstown’s Wick Park on the North Side, uses a nine-bay compost system.

Using pallets to create three-sided walls and corrugated cardboard to cover the piles to keep the decomposition process “hot,” are the beginnings of great compost take place.

If you don’t have that much space, the Mahoning County Green Team provides low-cost single units through their composting programs.

Another resourceful use of leaves is achieved by packing leaves around perennials/hydrangeas and covering with a bucket or container with a brick on top.

Creating holiday containers is a great way to use some natural decorations to spruce up your empty flower boxes.

Evergreen cuttings, pinecones, and cattail heads serve as decorative insulators on the tops of containers with bulbs planted in them. Embellish these with festive holiday decor, including painted, dried hydrangea blooms, painted white sticks and even lights.

Harvest herbs that survived the early freeze for future use by storing in tied bundles upside down in a dry, cool place.

If you have saved any squash from the freezes, the University of Wisconsin Extension has a wonderful storage chart for wintering vegetables.

Cleaning pots and gardening tools with a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach to 1-gallon water ensures that disease will not spread to new plants/bulbs in spring. Use dish-cleaning brushes or old toothbrushes and a baking soda paste to help. Clean your bird feeders and birdbaths. Follow up with a solution of vinegar and water. Store pots and birdbaths in a safe, dry place to prevent cracking.

Check out http://web.extension.Illinois.edu/fmpt/hort for the 2017 Garden Calendar on November/December cleanup. Another great online resource is http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/articles/cleaning.html.

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