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November Zone-By-Zone Garden Checklist

November 9th, 2014

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Is it just us, or is November one of the most beautiful times to be out in the garden? The sizzling summer heat has left, and gardening chores seem less daunting with the prospect of breaking with a sweet treat leftover from Halloween. In most zones, November is an important time to prep your garden for winter, protect tender plants from frost, and start a compost pile. There are additional tasks that coincide with each zone. Find your zone and use the checklist to ensure the winter months are as peaceful as possible. Zone 1 *If you’re still growing, apply mulch to the garden before the ground freezes. *If you’re not growing any cool-weather crops, remove all plant material and dispose it in your compost bin. Remove any lingering debris to ensure disease and pests don’t survive in the winter. Zone 2 *Feed indoor herb gardens sparingly, herbs are sensitive to overfeeding during the winter months. Zone 3 *Frequently check onions, garlic, ginger, and other bulbs for signs of spoiling or softness. *When outdoor power tools sit around all winter, the oil gets sludgy, fuel degrades, and rust builds. Take the time to winterize your outdoor power tools before storing them, and they’ll roar back to life come Spring. *Take special care of your gardening tools before storing them. Clean, sharpen, and repair if needed. Store in a dry location. Zone 4 *If you’re not growing any cool-weather crops, remove all plant material and dispose it in your compost bin. Remove any lingering debris to ensure disease and pests don’t survive in the winter. *If you’re still growing, protect your plants from frost. The best method is to move plants in containers or pots inside before the first frost. However, if plants are rooted in the ground, use row covers, old blankets, sheets and burlap sacks and lightly drape them over your plants in the evening.  Make sure to remove the covers in the morning so that each plant receives plenty of necessary sunlight. *Feed indoor herb gardens sparingly, houseplants are sensitive to overfeeding during the winter months. *Continue your watch on the compost pile, turn and add water at this time. Zone 5 *Harvest remaining yams, carrots, turnips, and beets. *Plant garlic and shallots, make sure to mulch well to protect against frost. *Move herbs indoors and set them at a bright window. Zone 6 *If you’re not growing any cool-weather crops, remove all plant material and dispose it in your compost bin. Remove any lingering debris to ensure disease and pests don’t survive in the winter. *If you haven’t started a compost pile, now is a good time to start one. *Continue thinning your mustard greens, lettuce, cabbage, and spinach. *Rake up fallen leaves and use them along with straw as mulch to protect against frost. *After a frost or two, harvest your kale, mustards, carrots, turnips, and Brussels sprouts to ensure a flavorful taste. Zone 7 *If you’re still growing, protect your plants from frost. The best method is to move plants in containers or pots inside before the first frost. However, if plants are rooted in the ground, use row covers, old blankets, sheets and burlap sacks and lightly drape them over your plants in the evening.  Make sure to remove the covers in the morning so that each plant receives plenty of necessary sunlight. *If you’re not growing any cool-weather crops, remove all plant material and dispose it in your compost bin. Remove any lingering debris to ensure disease and pests don’t survive in the winter. *Rake up fallen leaves and use them along with straw as mulch to protect against frost. *Move herbs indoors and set them at a bright window. Zone 8 *Harvest all of your cold-sensitive vegetables, especially pumpkin, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and winter squash. *If you missed out on a fruit tree last year, now is a good time to plant one. *If you’re still growing, protect your plants from frost. Lightly cover beds, use row covers, old blankets, sheets and burlap sacks and drape them over your plants in the evening.  Make sure to remove the covers in the morning so that each plant receives plenty of necessary sunlight. *Under row covers, plant vegetables that love cool weather (think Brussels sprouts, radishes, mustard greens, broccoli, cilantro, and parsley). *If you want sweet strawberries by spring, start planting now. Zone 9 *Harvest all of your cold-sensitive vegetables, especially pumpkin, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and winter squash. *Plant garlic, shallots, leeks, and fava beans. *If you missed out on a citrus tree last year, now is a good time to plant one. *If you’re still growing, protect your plants from frost. Lightly cover beds, use row covers, old blankets, sheets and burlap sacks and drape them over your plants in the evening.  Make sure to remove the covers in the morning so that each plant receives plenty of necessary sunlight. *Under row covers, plant vegetables that love cool weather (think Brussels sprouts, radishes, mustard greens, broccoli, cilantro, and parsley). *Spread rich compost in garden bed and around citrus trees. Zone 10 *Water is more important factor for you than other zones. Ensure your plants receive at least an inch of water a week either from rainfall or irrigation. *If you’re still growing, protect your plants from frost. Lightly cover beds, use row covers, old blankets, sheets and burlap sacks and drape them over your plants in the evening.  Make sure to remove the covers in the morning so that each plant receives plenty of necessary sunlight. *If a frost is anticipated, soak the ground (not the plants) before covering. *Under row covers, plant vegetables that love cool weather (think Brussels sprouts, radishes, mustard greens, broccoli, cilantro, and parsley). *Harvest all of your cold-sensitive vegetables, especially pumpkin, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and winter squash. Zone 11 *When outdoor power tools sit around all winter, the oil gets sludgy, fuel degrades, and rust builds. Take the time to winterize your outdoor power tools before storing them, and they’ll roar back to life come Spring. *Take special care of your gardening tools before storing them. Clean, sharpen, and repair if needed. Store in a dry location. Friends, which gardening tasks do you have planned this November?  Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed. We’re also proud to say we have taken the Safe Seed Pledge.

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Ways to Weather the Winter: Outdoor Edition

January 5th, 2014

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No matter where you are in the country, the chances are pretty good that you have experienced at least one cold day so far this winter. Even if your days have been relatively warm, it’s a different story as soon as the sun goes down.

It’s easy for us humans when the chilly night air creeps in because we simply retire to the warmth and shelter of our homes. But what about the lives that remain outside in the backyard – what options do our plants, trees and flowers have in terms of weathering the winter weather?

Fortunately, their source of survival is you! By addressing their most basic needs, you can ensure a safer winter for all of your green backyard residents. So here are a few tips to help you take stock of what you need to accomplish for the good of your backyard growth.

Mulch Ado about Nothing

Mulch is the mighty warrior of winter when it comes to keeping your plants and trees nice and toasty. Begin your winter work by removing all of the old mulch from around your trees and plants to remove insect eggs or disease spores which may have accumulated after the dead leaves fell off the trees.

After the first frost, apply a generous layer of new mulch around all of your trees and plants to help your greenery maintain a consistent under-the-surface temperature throughout the harsh winter season.

Flowery Advice

For the flowers and plants that are settling in for a long winter’s nap, simply snip away the dead leaves and diseased stems as soon as they become dormant. Avoid doing this before they drift off, otherwise you risk stimulating them into new growth.

From here, you’re free to select your next order of flower seeds and plan what you’re going to plant when the ground thaws!

Bushy Burlap and Tree Toppers

When you have invested time and money (not to mention the emotional energy you’ve expended in rooting on those little roots to establish themselves) in planting and growing tree roses and evergreen bushes, for example, the last thing you want to do is abandon them when they need you the most.

To protect your beauties, build a burlap snow fence and wind guard by driving four wooden stakes (the same height as the bush or tree) around the bushes and trees just outside the perimeter of mulch. Wrap burlap around the stakes to encircle the tree or bush and pull it taut. Secure it with string to keep the snow and wind out while letting the sunshine in for evergreens. For roses also fill in the enclosed area with mulch.

Leaf Patrol

Although you have put away your lawnmower, don’t stow your rake in the garage or garden shed just yet. Wait until you have complete yard coverage or until the trees have given all they have to give and then rake up the leaves rather than leaving them where they are until the spring.

When leaves are left on the ground, the sun has no way to penetrate through to the grass underneath. Plus, if you wait until the spring thaw, all of those leaves become a wet mess and are much harder to remove than if you get them while they are dry.

Other Backyard Winter Basics

In general, don’t forget about these items during the colder winter months.

  • Protect the ‘Over’ – Regularly replenish bird feeders so that they stay stocked and keep the birds from having to root around in your yard for leftover grass seed that may still be present.
  • Protect the ‘Under’ – To prevent rodents from digging up your garden and nesting in the soil, wait until the ground freezes and add a 6-inch layer of organic material to serve as your winter mulch around the base of your trees and plant beds.
  • Protect the ‘Around’ – Wrap strips of burlap diagonally around the base of young tree trunks (securing with twine) and encircle them with wire or a tree-guard product to protect their tender bark from cracking in the cold and from the teeth of critters looking to gnaw on something!

What are some of the ways you have cold-proofed your backyard to help your greens weather the winter months?

 

About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great content was created by Chris Long. Chris has been working as an associate in various departments at The Home Depot for over 10 years. He is a regular contributor to the company blogs and likes to give advice on a plethora of topics ranging from lawn care to Holiday decor.

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