Saturday, October 19, 2019

What Do We Do Now?

During my gardening lifetime I have probably filled to overflowing at least 4 file folders of what I label "Bits & Pieces".  The bits and pieces are collections of gardening tips written on scraps of paper, pages torn from magazines and newspaper articles sent by friends and relatives.

I wish I could say I am smart enough to be the originator of these ideas, but alas, I can only admit to collecting and sharing.  Call them a hodge-podge or a potpourri, use what is helpful to you, and share with friends.share with friends.

This is such a transitional time of year--too late to do "this" and too early to do "that".

Many times I have found in freezing my garden produce I haven't been able to remove the excess water.  After steam blanching and then cooling in ice water, place the vegetables in a salad spinner.  It does an excellent job of removing the water from the vegetables.  This method is more efficient than the  kitchen strainer.  Label and pop in the freezer.

I have a tendency to fill the wheelbarrow to overflowing with the fall cleanup debris headed either to the compost pile or the yard debris container.  I was only too happy to put this tip into practice.  To keep the debris from bouncing out as I wheel them to their destination, I hook a bungee cord under one lip of the wheelbarrow, stretch it across the load and hook the other end under the opposite lip.  I usually use two cords.

Chrysanthemums can be a little tricky to overwinter in central Oregon. I adapted this tested method from Iowa State University at least five years ago.  They tested 19 varieties of mums and noted that plants left unpruned will survive the winter better than those that are cut back in October or November.  Stems that are left standing hold fallen leaves and snow, which insulate plants' roots from the cold. Of course, it doesn't hurt to add a toasty blanket of loose mulch once the ground has frozen.

Fortunately I haven't had any cutworm problems these past few years but I will keep this tip in the file just in case.  Maybe it is my good luck charm.  We have all probably saved and cut out the bottoms of tuna cans or cut cardboard strips to make cutworm collars.  This tip is especially good at this time of year when someone in the house might be looking for a project.  It could be a great Christmas gift for a gardener.

Use a thinwall PVC drainage pipe, about the same diameter as a tuna can.  With any type of saw cut  into 3" to 4" lengths.  The best part is when the season is over the collars can be washed and stored until next year.

Share your favorite fall tip!  I need to add to my file--I discarded three of them recently.

Don't forget to check out the Gardening: Get Good At It "Next Spring's Soil" segment Tues Oct. 22 on KPOV 88.9FM "The Point" between 9-9:30am.

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