Timely Gardening Tips for Where You Live

Timely gardening tips, regional and seasonal, for where you live.

| October/November 2004

Canada Maritimes/New England

After frosts arrive, enjoy the cool weather as you complete the fall tasks — planting garlic and bulbs, cleaning up the garden and building the compost pile. This time of year, fruit trees need protection from mice and voles; wrap their trunks with hardware cloth, metal screening or plastic tree guards. As outdoor activities slow, turn your attention to cleaning seed crops, and shelling peas, soybeans and dry beans. In late fall, spread manure except in the area reserved for next year’s carrots, which don’t need all that nitrogen. Colder days are good for clearing ski trails or winterizing the chicken coop. Make your own kim chi and sauerkraut, or fruit butters and jams. Make the butters and jams from berries frozen in bulk in July and August, when time was at a premium. The long baking time for fruit butter warms the house nicely, and the delicious butters are a favorite holiday gift. Mid-November brings the Leonid meteor showers, and longer nights to enjoy them. — Roberta Bailey, FEDCO Seeds, Waterville, Maine.


Our first frost is usually mid-October, so gather tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans, squash and okra before it hits. Sow cover crops of kale, mustards and turnips in areas that have just been cleared; your chickens will enjoy these greens in late winter. If the frost catches you with sweet potatoes unharvested, cut all of the vines back to the ground immediately to keep the crop from going bitter. Use fabric row covers to protect greens right before frost, and carrots and beets before the temperature dips to 24 degrees. After the frost, thin strawberries and start a new bed with the thinnings. Compost and weed asparagus, raspberries, grapes, strawberries and blueberries, but hold your best compost back for spring seedlings. Pull up and drain hoses and irrigation supplies, inventory seeds, and start taking stock of successes and shortfalls so next year can be your best ever.

— Cricket Rakita, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Mineral, Va.

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