I’m Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. All good things must come to an end so it is with the garden and the Vermont Garden Journal for this season. For this last Vermont Garden Journal for 2011, let’s talk garden clean up. It’s important to cut back perennial flowers and pull out vegetables and annual flowers. If the foliage hasn’t been heavily infected with diseases or insects or the disease is one that’s with us every year, such as powdery mildew, go ahead and compost these plants. Otherwise, send the heavily infected plants off to the landfill.
Do a good weeding of your gardens right now. Many perennial weeds will get so established in fall they will be growing faster than your flowers come spring. Add a layer of compost on perennial garden beds and add manure, leaves, and grass clippings to annual vegetable and flower beds. Use the lasagna gardening method to expand your flower and vegetable gardens. Create layers of black and white newspaper, hay or straw, and compost on the new site. Next spring you can plant right through the layers without having to turn the bed over.
Erect wooden teepees over shrubs near the drip line of your house to prevent snow from falling on them and breaking branches. Wrap young tree trunks with trunk protectors so mice and voles don’t girdle the bark in winter. Add a layer of bark mulch around newly planted trees to keep the soil warm and roots growing as long as possible into fall. Apply a 1-foot deep mound of bark mulch over hybrid roses around Thanksgiving to protect the rose crowns.
Dig and store tender bulbs such as dahlias, gladiolus and tuberous begonias. And keep late crops of greens growing in cold frames. They often will overwinter and be your first crop of fresh vegetables in spring.
And finally take time to evaluate what worked and didn’t work this year. It will help you decide what to grow and change for next year’s garden. And soon I’ll be back to help too, with next year’s Vermont Garden Journal, but for now, I’ll be seeing you in the garden!