• Check stored bulbs for drying, sprouting or rot. • Browse through seed and plant catalogs. • Pick up a new gardening book and plan your vegetable garden or flower garden. • Check windows and house plants for fungus gnats. • Give all houseplants a shower. • Consider potting bulbs, such as daffodils and narcissus, tulips, crocus, hyacinth, grape hyacinth and iris for forced blooming. • Begin keeping a garden journal, evaluate last summer's successes and failures. • Clean, sharpen, repair and oil garden tools.
WATER TIPS Water trees and shrubs if there is no snow cover and daytime temperatures are above freezing. Adjust houseplant watering to winter heat and humidity.
• Spray fruit and deciduous trees and shrubs with horticultural oil sprays. • Gather branches of quince, forsythis and flowering cherries and bring inside to force blooms. • Bring forcing bulbs inside for indoor color. • Service garden machinery. • Check for fungus gnats around windows and soil of potted plants. • Begin planning or reevaluating your existing perennial beds for various colors, textures and forms. • Make sure Spruce trees are adequately watered. Three or more dry winters can take their toll.
WATER TIPS Water roses if winter snow was minimal.
• Plant seed flats with tomato, pepper and cole crops (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts). • Apply horticultural oil sprays to fruit and deciduous trees and shrubs before bud break. • Check mulch around bulbs, roses and new transplants. Refresh if necessary. • Loosen the top 12" of your soil; add 2-3" of compost to clay or sandy soils, till 12 inches deep.
WATER TIPS Plant drought tolerant annuals and perennials (gray-leaved), and spring bulbs. Plan your vegetable garden in blocks not rows, to increase moisture retention and pollination.
• Mown lawn 3 inches in height; never remove more than a 1/3 of the grass plant. • Fertilize your lawn. • Remove garden debris, straw or grass clippings as potential hiding places for slugs; apply iron phosphate as a safe slug bait. • Prune, shape and thin spring-blooming shrubs after blossoms fade. • Use floating row covers over cole crops at planting time to pretect from insects. • Remove tree wrap.
WATER TIPS If you water with a hose, use a valve or kitchen timer as a reminder to change the water. Aerate lawns for more effective water and fertilizer usage.
• Plant dahlias and cannas after last frost. • Plant chrysanthemums for fall color. • Fertilize roses; watch for powdery mildew and black spot. • Avoid using "weed and feed" materials on the lawn; spot spray for weeds instead. • Continue to plant fall root or leaf crops every two weeks for a continuous harvest.
WATER TIPS Apply 1-2 inches of organic mulch between flowers to retain moisture and control weeds; add organic matter. If you do not have an automatic sprinkler system, water your trees with a bubbler at the end of a hose at a low rate, at several locations beyond the drip line. Delay pruning at lest two weeks before the last spring frost.
• Pinch back fall-blooming perennials until the 4th of July. • First blossoms on squash, pumpkin and cucumbers will drop without setting fruit; nothing to worry about. • Prune flowering shrubs after blooming. • Continue adding to and turning compost.
WATER TIPS When possible, apply water below the foliage of the plant using trickle or drip irrigation. Irrigate the lawn deeply and as infrequently as possible; this increases the lawn's drought resistance.
Irrigate the lawn only when needed; that is, when footprints or mower tracks become easily visible and do not "spring back" within 30 minutes.
• Pinch vine ends on indeterminate or heirloom tomatoes; not bush tomatoes. • Mound soil around base of potatoes. • Watch for spider mites on ornamental evergreens such as spruce and arborvitae. • Weed and fertilize rhubarb and asparagus beds, and water deeply to develop roots for next year's crop. • Look for signs of Tomato Hornworms, control with Bacillus thuringiensis.
WATER TIPS Continue to apply mulch on flower and vegetable gardens to keep cool and retain moisture.
• Turn compost and keep moist. Do not use grass clippings if lawn was treated with herbicide. • Prune away excess vegetation and flowers on frost tolerant vegetable crops to channel energy into maturing remaining fruit. • Harvest potatoes, onions and garlic as the tops die down; hang garlic and onion in a dry place. • Do a final pruning of suckers at the base of trees. • Purchase fall bulbs.
WATER TIPS Continue watering trees and shrubs as needed.
• Harvest winter squash when the ground spot changes from a white to a cream or gold color. • Ripen green tomatoes indoors as frost threatens; check often and discard rotting fruit. • In the fall, mound soil from another part of the garden around the base of the rose for additional protection from the cold. • Plant limited area cool season lawns of blends of bluegrass by seeding and sodding.
WATER TIPS Areate lawns for more effective water and fertilizer usage.
• Incorporate organic matter into the vegetable garden soil after the season is over. • Prune all fall bearing canes, mulch with clean, weed-free straw or chipped wood mulch. • Plant daffodils, tulips or crocus for spring bloom. • Dig, clean and store tuberous begonias, cannas, dahlias and gladiolas before frost. • Recycle materials from garden clean up; do not compost diseased or insect infested materials. • Cover asparagus and rhubarb beds with manure or compost. • Plant garlic for next summer's harvest.
WATER TIPS Blow our your sprinkler system.
• Rake, remove and destroy diseased leaves. • Store garden supplies and fertilizers in a safe, dry place. • Clean up annual flower beds; renew mulch around perennials. • Place mulch around roses, berries and other tender plants. • Wrap the trunks of young, thin-barked trees with paper tree wrap to prevent sun scald. • Place coated fencing material loosely around tree trunks to prevent deer and elk rubbing.
WATER TIPS Water trees and shrubs before winter sets in.
• Take a soil sample and send it into a lab for evaluation. • Make sure that trees and shrubs are well-watered going into the winter. • Move house plants away from cold windows. • Start planning for next season by making a list of what plants worked and what plants didn't. • Winter is a good time to line up an arborist for the spring pruning of your trees.
WATER TIPS Check for winter watering. Water when there is no snow cover for 2 weeks and when daytime temperatures are above freezing (once a month maximum)