A Wonderful Compost Month For the Gardener

As you put the fallen tree leaves on the compost pile be sure they are thoroughly watered down. 

Otherwise, you will find dry undecomposed areas next fall when you start to use them. Let the sprinkler run 15 to 30 minutes on them after each day’s addition to the pile.

compost month for gardenerPin

Destroying Earthworms

To keep out the earthworms that destroy so much valuable organic matter, scatter 50% chlordane on the ground before you put any leaves on the pile. Or drench the soil with chlordane emulsion. Its effect will last a number of years.

Seeds of both annual flowers that normally self-sow, and all hardy flowers, but especially those known for poor germination, can be sown in pots, flats, or directly in the cold frame any time this month.

Sowing of Annual Flowers

Sow in an inch layer of equal parts sand and peat. Sift soil beneath as well as the seed layer through a ¼” sieve to get rid of lumps. Write on painted wood labels with India ink. Use at least a 6” label. Shorter ones heave out.

Make a last effort to get rid of slugs by scattering one of the prepared slug baits. It only takes a little in each pot. If sowbugs have been a problem dust or spray with chlordane.

New Hardy Flowers

Any new hardy flowers that you get now are better potted up and the roots plunged in sand or peat in a cold frame for the winter. 

If a sash is put over them they will get rooted before freezing weather. Use a soil mixture that contains plenty of peat and sand to make it well drained and easy for roots to penetrate.

Gardening With Bricks

Have you your share of the slum clearance or freeway clearance bricks from the town dump? 

Winter Killing

There is still time to build brick walks or patios before winter. To avoid what I call “winter killing” of bricks, leave the soft, burned ones in the dump. Set bricks on an inch of sand or sifted cinders. 

After they are all laid, scatter sand over the top and sweep it into the cracks. Then sow seeds that you have in surplus into the cracks. 

This past summer I gave away around 1,000 seedlings of cardinal flowers (lobelia) that came up on my walks. I collected over 100 seedlings of Japanese primrose from another section.

Mist Propagation

If you are trying mist propagation and cannot find a satisfactory nozzle try one from a Windex or moth spray bottle. 

If it does not clog from sediment in the pipes it does a wonderful job. Or get ⅛” plastic tubing and with a very fine needle prick a hole in it every three or four inches. It’s tricky, so get more tubing than you think you need.

Planting in a Cold Frames

Cuttings that I rooted this summer and early fall are all planted in almost pure peat in cold frames. There is just enough sand and soil mixed in to give it a better feel. They were watered with a liquid fertilizer sold for African violets. 

The sash on the frame will keep them growing quite late. As freezing weather begins sash will be covered with ¼” fiberglass batting. It lets light through but reduces freezing and thawing.

Inside the Cold Frames

Since I was trying to see just what I could root the frames have a little bit of everything in them: 

  • Yews, 
  • English ivy, 
  • Firethorn, 
  • Ilex Hetzi, 
  • Pieris, 
  • Hardy fuchsia, 
  • Viburnum Chenaulti and Burkwoodi, 
  • Berberis eandidula, 
  • Dwarf roses,
  • Azaleas, 
  • Cherry laurel, 
  • Clematis, 

… and so on. 

I hope to have several nice box hedges from the assorted kinds I rooted.

44659 by Na