Pacific Northwest

November, 2004
Regional Report

Sow Cover Crops

Sow green manure cover crops, such as perennial rye, hairy vetch or crimson clover, in empty beds that won't be needed for earliest spring plantings. Green manure cover crops crowd out weeds, prevent erosion and help improve soil fertility when they're turned under in the spring.

Don't Be Alarmed About Cedar Leaf Drop

Don't worry if cedar trees are showing patches of dead, reddish brown foliage; it's probably the natural shedding of older leaves. This annual occurrence, called flagging, is more noticeable when trees are stressed for moisture. In years without drought stress, the dying of older leaves is more gradual and attracts less attention.

Watch For Holiday Cactus Buds

The earlier flowering varieties of holiday cactus may be starting to form flower buds now. Check the ends of the leaves for new buds, and when they appear move the cactus from its cool location to a warm room. Place near a window where they it will receive bright light, keep the soil moist and the humidity high, and it should bloom in a few short weeks.

Caring for Chrysanthemums

Cut stems back to ground level after your chrysanthemums have stopped blooming. Dispose of stems and leaves by tossing them into the compost pile. In cold areas you might even protect the plants with a layer of straw mulch. When new shoots appear in the spring, dig the root mass and divide the plant, taking some roots with each new shoot.

Protect Garden Ornaments

Stone and clay fountains, garden ornaments and statuary may crack if left outdoors in freezing weather. To be on the safe side, drain water, clean them well and move them into an unheated garage or shed for winter storage.

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