Appreciate Your Garden Highlights
As the summer/autumn gardening season comes to a close, take a few minutes to appreciate your garden's Wow! spots. Do you want more of the same or similar plant combinations in 2011? Where might you add them? Perhaps that would involve extending a garden bed or adding a new bed. Seems like a great time to start imagining new projects to take shape during winter's chill.
Remove What's Not
Is there a perennial or shrub you've been complaining about all season? A spindly rose or spiky salvia that doesn't fit your garden scheme, is the wrong color or shape? Or a plant that's susceptible to insects and diseases or just doesn't thrive. Now while it's in view, remove it. If it's in good shape but just not for you, perhaps give it away to a welcoming friend, gardener, or neighborhood park. If it's infested with pests or disease, that's NOT a good gift or compost pile option. Dispose of that where it won't cause damage or spread infestation.
Apply Protective Row Covers
Extend your vegetable gardening season with protective row covers. Row covers, floating row covers and garden tunnels are made of a woven material such as spun polyester or spunbonded polypropylene. Protective fabric draped over plants or placed over hoops above rows of plants traps heat and delays frost damage. Herbs and cool weather crops, such as lettuce, spring mix, spinach, Pak Choi, Asian greens, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, Chinese cabbage, beets and parsnips, will grow into late fall with benefit from protective row covers.
Save Favorite Seeds
Though I'll get new vegetable and annual flower seeds next spring, I'm saving some from plants that make collecting easy now. For example, zinnias, Mexican sunflower (Tithonia), yellow climbing beans, yellow and green and purple bush beans, and 'Black Krim' tomatoes. Leave seed pods on the plants to ripen. Collect plump seeds, dry thoroughly, then store in dry conditions. Tomato seeds require a brief fermentation process before drying. See the web for those details.
Divide and Transplant Lilyturf
Lilyturf, aka border grass or monkey grass, (Liriope muscari, Liriope spicata) is a plant that, once you have it, you never have to buy it again. A member of the Lily family, it spreads quickly and is easily divided and transplanted every two or three years. Once established in fertile soil, lilyturf grows well in sun or shade, average moisture, in USDA zones 5 through 11. Divide clumps into small or large sizes, from a few leaves to chunks. Dig holes 16 to 18 inches apart. Plant, then water well so soil settles around the roots.