Clean-Up Chores, Compost Treasures

Garden clean-up is the big chore for now. All vegetation killed by frost should be cut away from the plant as soon as possible. Toxic materials are often formed in cell sap as the plant is in the process of moving stored food to the roots, some of the toxic matter may also reach the roots. 

In many plants, this causes decay or stunting of growth the next year. Clean cuts with a sharp knife are recommended. The debris should be removed from the garden. 

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Forms of Diseases

Many forms of disease and many insects (as adults, pupas, larvae, or eggs) can spend the winter in the protection provided by such debris and infest your garden again in the spring. The plant tops may be used on the compost pile.

Compost File for Successful Gardening

Every successful gardener keeps a compost pile constantly in operation. It is wise to plan your compost schedule to have some ready for use at all times. Tree leaves should be raked and added to the compost. 

There are satisfactory leaf mills available that sweep the leaves, grind them, and return them to the soil as fine mulch. However it is done, the leaves should be removed from the lawn.

They tend to pack and smother the grass. Many articles are available on composting and every gardener who does not now compost garden refuse should begin.

Composting: Source of Organic Matter

Composting is fast becoming the only source of organic matter for adding necessary humus to our soils.

Clumps of late flowering chrysanthemums can be covered with canvas at night to protect them from frost.

Others may be potted and brought into the house for continued bloom.

Foliage Color for Trees and Shrubs

If your garden does not have Muninn color observe the colors in nature or those present in other parks. 

Make notes on the trees and shrubs having foliage color and plan to plant some next planting season. 

For a real treat, plan a trip through the countryside on a foliage tour. Our Ozark region provides one of the most spectacular of all fall foliage displays.

Moving Indoors

Now is the time to bring in all tubbed or container plants that need winter protection. Many will need repotting or giving supplemental feedings. This should be done before they are settled for the winter. 

These indoor plants need to be checked frequently for scale, spider mites, or other insects.

Household Dust: Harmful for Indoor Plants

Accumulation of household dust is often harmful to indoor plants, therefore they should be sprayed frequently with water. 

Watering the plants is also important. Indoor plants can be killed as easily by overwatering as from having too little water.

Planting of Spring Flowering Bulbs

On warm days continue to divide, transplant, and reestablish ground cover plants, being careful that they are well set and thoroughly watered. Continue planting all kinds of spring flowering bulbs. 

A small amount of sand under each bulb will ensure proper drainage and good growth. All bulbs for forcing in pots should be potted before the end of November for best results. 

Later than this, the novelty of forcing bulbs will be lost, as that outside are usually in bloom by the time that these would be.

Storing Tubers

Cannas, caladiums, tuberoses, dahlias, etc., should be lifted for storage. If soil is allowed to cling to them and the clumps are gradually dried out, the bulbs are usually of better quality. 

After drying in this way, the bulbs should be removed and stored in trays of dry sand, vermiculite, peat, or similar material. There should be free circulation of air to prevent molding.

Pansy Plants

Pansy plants should be set out now for late winter and early spring bloom. Set them securely and mulch with the ground or screened cow manure. 

The foliage may freeze, but the plants will grow again if they have the protection of the manure mulch.

Freezing: Danger of Damage for Garden Pools

In this section, most garden pools are left filled as the danger of damage from freezing is negligible. The water-lilies have already put out their cluster of underwater leaves on top of the tubers as protection.

Suburban gardens are subject to visits by field mice and rabbits in search of food. Young plants should be protected with wire mesh around the base of the plants.

Destruction of Snow 

When snow is on the ground, they are incredibly destructive in its search for food. I have seen holly and pyracantha completely ruined by rabbits eating the bark when snow is on the ground.

Store garden furniture and tools for the season. Repaint, oil, or grease as needed on tools before storage. Wash out and dry spraying equipment before storing it as corrosion can ruin this equipment easily.

44659 by Robert H. Rucker