End of the Growing Year

The growing season is nearing its end for most of us. As your plants prepare for winter so should you. Although this time of year brings many holiday distractions, do your best to carve out a little time for the garden. Here’s a checklist of basic tasks:

  • First, know your local “first frost date.” Visit Daves Garden for a helpful look-up app.
  • Trim down tender foliage that will die when frost hits. In my area cannas become a gooey mess at the first sign of freezing.
  • Ditto on harvesting tender herbs such as basil, cilantro, and scented geraniums.
  • Bring tender plants into a sheltered, cool place with light. Your garage is not a good idea unless you plan to provide artificial light.
  • Stop fertilizing. You don’t want to produce new, vulnerable growth just before winter hits.
  • Drain water from water features and wipe them down with vinegar to discourage algae and fungus.
  • Add mulch to any outdoor tender perennials. My scented geraniums and pineapple sage benefit from this treatment. It helps the roots to survive and flourish another year.
  • Check for spots outside around the foundation or eaves where animals or insects may get in and ride out the winter.
  • In cold areas, drain hoses and bring them inside.
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