Enjoy Bok Choy
A variation on the cabbage theme, bok choy is an Asian green with a mild, sweet flavor in its crisp stems and tender leaves. Thriving in cool temperatures, it is widely available at farmer's markets now. Next spring and fall, grow your own, as it is both easy and grows quickly. Bok choy is loaded with vitamins A and C, plus it's high in potassium, calcium, and iron and low in calories. To prepare, simply steam the sliced stems and leaves or stir-fry with minced garlic and grated fresh ginger. Serve with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.
Transplant Trees and Shrubs
There's a window of opportunity of several weeks between when leaves start falling on trees and shrubs and the ground freezes when these can be transplanted from one place to another in the garden. The timing can be a bit tricky, as you don't want to dig the plants too early, but you want to give the roots plenty of time to grow before the ground freezes. Still, it's worth the effort as spring is always such a busy time.
Plant Garlic and Shallots
Garlic and shallots are best planted four to six weeks before the ground freezes. In our region, that's usually near the end of November. Just before planting, separate the garlic bulbs into cloves and the clusters of shallots into individual sets. Plant individual cloves or sets 3 to 5 inches deep, 6 to 8 inches apart in rows 8 to 10 inches apart. Be sure that the cloves or sets are planted with the root end down and the growing tip facing up. Cover with at least several inches of straw or hay mulch.
Weed, Trim, and Clean
Autumn is not a relaxing time in the garden. Besides planting spring-flowering bulbs, it's also a great time to work on projects, such as getting a new bed or border prepared for planting next spring or adding a fence, wall, gazebo, or other garden feature. Most of all, it's the time to get a head start on spring garden chores, including weeding, trimming and pruning, putting away pots and garden furniture, and, finally, cleaning tools before they're put away for the last time.
Get Amaryllis Ready
The large, trumpet-shaped flowers of amaryllis are one of winter's indoor gardening delights. With newly purchased bulbs, plant in a pot with a drainage hole and that has a diameter one inch larger than that of the bulb, and use a high-quality potting soil. Position the bulb so that one-third to one-half is above the soil surface. For planted bulbs you've kept growing from previous years, you can allow them to continue growing and, hopefully, blooming, or allow them a rest period in a cool, dark place for 8 to 12 weeks. Then, bring them into bright light and keep watered.