Mid-Atlantic

October, 2009
Regional Report

Build a Cold Frame

A cold frame extends the gardening season now... and again in the spring. Building a cold frame can be simple or complicated, depending on the design. Or you can purchase pre-made versions.

Dispose of Used Flame Weeder Canisters Properly

Using the flame weeder has one downside -- empty 1lb propane canisters. Where to dispose of them properly? The canisters can be considered Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). County recycling programs for some materials are winding down for the year. October may be your last opportunity to dispose of HHW till spring.

Don't Fret As Conifers Shed

Conifers are starting to shed their interior leaves, aka needles. Dropping needles is an annual (and ongoing) process for conifers and is no cause for alarm. They're also growing new needles. Chamaecyparis, pines, and arborvitae have the most noticeable needle drop in late autumn.

Notice and Record WOW Color and Plant Combos

As bright-flowering annuals fade, autumn berries, flowers, and foliage combinations pop out. For example, wavy, silver-cream plumes of flame grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Purpurascens') mingling with arching yellow sprays of 'Fireworks' solidago caught my eye in a breeze. Purple-fruited beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.) with blue smooth aster (Aster laevis 'Bluebird') and 'Coppertina' physocarpus was another show-stopper. What's catching your eye and would enhance your garden palette?

Leave Root Veggies Underground

Carrots, parsnips, beets, and leeks taste better after a couple of hard frosts. Leave these plants in the ground as long as possible. Those left after Thanksgiving can be winter-harvested with this technique: Cover plants with a 6- to 8-inch layer of shredded leaves. Mark rows so you can find them after a snowfall. Soil won't freeze under the deep mulch. You'll be able to dig them up throughout the winter.

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