The people's voice of reason

November Potpourri

Fall, with its cool dryer weather, is the ideal month to begin planting shrubs and trees. These newly planted plants can get established quicker because of the lack of stress. Stress comes in the forms of insects, mildew, fungus, plus add heat and not enough water if there is no sprinkler system. Any fertilizers applied will not last as long as when applied in the fall. And if a commercial grade fertilizer is not watered in properly, the roots can be burned.

Let's articulate some good plants that are easy to obtain and not only bloom, but provide us and the fauna with food. Fruit trees, such as pears, peaches, apples, blueberries persimmons, plums, and figs come to mind. If you a yard or garden has a high alkaline content, then apples and peaches would require serious soil amendments. Remember the pH of alkaline soils are above 6 and acid soils are below 6. What is termed acid neutral is 5 on the scale. I have a farm with soil that is totally alkaline, grows grass like a pro, but not blueberries,apples or peaches. So I took railroad ties, fashioned a rectangular shaped bed. After killing all grass and weeds, I laid down a 1" layer of sand, then filled it with good garden soil and humus. After 7 years, the apples trees are still producing, and the peaches are too. I have Keefer pears, Bartlett pears, Pineapple pears, and old fashioned Sand pear. The Keefer and Sand pears are known as cooking pears, and make the best chutney and pear cobblers.

Anyway, in addition to the fruit trees, I have added blackberries, which are as large as figs, and raspberries, which are both red and yellow. The best varieties for all fruit trees and others are from Petals from the Past in Jemison, Alabama. They are the experts in planting methods, the best varieties for your soil type and the biggest selections. Petals from the Past also have wonderful "how to" seminars, and when the blueberries, blackberries and other fruit ripen, you can pick your own for a slight charge. There gift shop abounds with great books and other garden supplies.

In doing research on unusual fruit, I found a bush that grows in zone 8 (our zone), with a fruit that I had heard of, but never had the pleasure of meeting or eating. Jujube(Ziziphus jujube) grows in zones 6-10, has no known diseases or pests, late ripening, and has sweet plum shaped fruit resembling a fig in texture. I can not wait to purchase a couple of these. I will inquire at Petals from the Past about whether self fertilizing and where to obtain.

November garden tasks are as follows:

1. Cut back spent perennials within 1 inch of the ground.

2. Weed garden area and perhaps apply round-up if weeds too extensive. Be careful to not get the chemical on your skin.

3. Put pen to paper and make a plan for where your garden flowers are to be planted or sown now or in the future.

4. Gather any seed pods from flowers such as zinnias, cleome, and cosmos. Store in dry containers.

5. Dispose of any dead plant material away from the garden area as may harbor eggs of insects or mold mildew or fungus.

6. Try to use dianthus and dusty miller for your winter annuals as these will choke out weeds and live through hard freezes.

7. Now is the time to plant Asian lilies bulbs, and sow the old fashioned poppies. Make these areas on your plan for 2017-2018.



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