Seasonal Tips for Gardening Zones October-November 2002

Carol Mack shares important seasonal tips for gardening zones in New England/Maritime Canada, Mid-Atlantic, Southern Interior, the Gulf Coast, Central/Midwest, North Central and Rockies, Pacific Northwest and the Southwest.


| October/November 2002



Timely gardening tips for where you live.

Timely gardening tips for where you live.


ILLUSTRATION: DIANE A. RADER

Learn about current October and November seasonal tips for gardening zones in the U.S.

New England/Maritime Canada Gardening

The leaves are falling and its a great time to build compost piles. Pull mulch and grass away from fruit-tree trunks and install mouse barriers made of 2- to 3-foot-high hardware cloth or screen, or use plastic tree guards. Extend the hardy greens season as much as four weeks by placing a stone mulch around individual plants or along plant rows. The stones warm slowly throughout the day, then radiate absorbed heat at night. Combine them with a cold frame or polyethylene tunnel for maximum effect. To overwinter kale, cover with a double layer of plastic. Pull back the plastic (and snow) in March and harvest tender leafy shoots and flower heads into June. 'Russian White' kale produces more leaves while "Russian Red" gives beautiful purple-stemmed shoots.

Mid-Atlantic Gardening

Prepare for the first frost-often about mid-October. Move small lettuces, celery and greens to cold frames for winter harvesting. Pull beets, and protect carrots and bigger plants with row cover-your carrots will be the sweetest you've ever tasted around Christmas. Start lettuce, arugula and Chinese greens (including tatsoi and mizuna) by mid-October in cold frames (for late winter harvest) and in the ground (for early spring harvest). "Winter Density" and "Speckled" are excellent lettuces to plant now. Kale, mustard and turnips can be sown as edible winter cover crops that also can feed chickens or grazing animals in late winter. Plant garlic and multiplier onions a few weeks after the first frost. Thin strawberries and establish a new bed. Now is a great time to start asparagus and artichokes from seed in a cold frame.

Southern Interior Gardening

Recall what you liked from the past season and start planning next year's garden. Sow hardy greens for winter eating and cover warm season crops when frost threatens. Dig tender flower bulbs and store them for next season. Plant tulips and other spring-blooming bulbs and dream of the warm spring sun. Many of the flowers you have grown over the summer will provide dried seeds for tasty winter treats for birds — feathered friends especially love coneflowers left to dry on the plant. Plant cover crops and renew mulches. Take time for some indoor gardening activities with your children, such as preparing your favorite amaryllis bulbs — kids will marvel at how quickly the plants develop.

Gulf Coast Gardening

Early in this season heat stress is a factor that causes stunting or poor germination. Try lightweight row covers to protect sensitive plants like broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce. Also use covers over seeded crops like carrots and onions to ensure constant moisture until seeds germinate. Be sure to remove the covers or suspend them, Quonset-style, after the seedlings emerge. Set out transplants of celery, cabbage (and relatives like broccoli and cauliflower), lettuce and Chinese cabbage. Sow beets, carrots, mustards, turnips, radishes, short-day onions (like "1015" and "Grano"), garlic, bunching onions and spinach. Cool-season herbs including dill, fennel, parsley, cilantro, oregano, arugula, thyme and savory also can be planted. Fall is strawberry planting time in this region. Set out new fruit trees as soon as they are available. Pansies, sweet peas, snapdragons, dianthus and columbines love Gulf Coast winters!

Central/Midwest Gardening

Lettuce, greens and cabbage often can be harvested until the snow arrives. Carrots become their sweetest with the cool temperatures. To extend their harvest through the winter, cover the rows with mulch. Take advantage of beautiful autumn weather to clean your garden. Turn under decomposing plants that are not disease-ridden and plant cover crops. Leave some seed heads, like those found on sunflowers or ornamental grasses, for animals to eat during winter. Tall plants or garden structures left in place can create an interesting scene when covered by snow. Before winter arrives, be sure that greenhouses, cold frames and any other outdoor structures are secure enough to survive wind and blowing snow.





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